The Narrow

Viking. Aug. 2023. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593405147.
Gr 7 Up–Eden is thrilled to be back with her friends at their boarding school, Atwood, even though it means going back to lying to her friends about her abusive brother. Her parents are so focused on Luke, in fact, that they forget to pay her tuition, landing her a strange job as paid companion to the ethereal and very ill Delphine, who can never leave Abigail House. Delphine’s illness began after a botched attempt to jump across the Narrow, a dangerous Atwood tradition with a haunting history, but Eden finds her magnetic and beautiful. The closer they get, the more haunted they become, and it seems the ghosts will not rest until they discover the true history of the Narrow. Marshall succeeds in exposing how the gaps between love and obsession or even possession can slowly become blurred, and Eden’s gut-deep fear of not being believed about her assault is as real as her fear of not being believed about the ghosts haunting her. A broad but well-defined and supportive friend group shows lots of examples of healthy relationships, bringing Eden’s unhealthy situations into sharp contrast. Dangerous ghost visitations; a cornucopia of secrets, lies, and misunderstandings; and a compelling cast make for a story with questions that echo long after the last page.
VERDICT An excellent sapphic dark academia with gothic vibes and plenty of suffocatingly suspenseful moments.

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