Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.Isn’t it? The photographer is a young Polish artist named Marcin Nabgraba, and his work is so striking. It’s an image in a series that he has worked on for years and he only takes one picture in the series a year, and they are all equally beautiful. It’s a funny story how it became the cover. I initially stumbled across the image and put it on a private inspiration board because it was haunting and the water looked cold and the woods eerie. Shortly after my book was acquired, my editor and I got to talking about how I’m an artist and a very visual person, so it made sense for her to look at images I’d collected as she edited. Somehow this picture wound
Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.
The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude is a Southern Gothic tale that delivers both a spooky and thrilling storyline. While there is plenty of gore to be creepy, there is just enough love to make it a romance. That said, the romantic story arcs make this an excellent diverse YA book, as Jude isn't afraid to explore same-sex relationships.
The atmosphere and world-building is spot on and makes the perfect backdrop for such a dark, twisted tale. Jude's descriptions are vivid and imaginative and her writing is nearly flawless. The characters are well-constructed, and while not always likeable, they are real and relatable.
Another thing I really was charmed by was how besides being dark and thrilling, this was also a book about "firsts". Main character, Ivy, is suddenly thrown into a first love and mystery and is ultimately forced into finding herself along the way.
Finally, the ending is creepy and surprising and will throw you completely off because you won't see it coming. Sarah Jude has written a phenomenal book that spans many genres and has something for pretty much everyone!!
Exclusive Content: (Yay!)
The cover for May Queen Murders is gorgeous. Can you talk about its composition, and how it pertains to your story? Are there any secrets hidden in the illustration that hint at more you only know having written the story that inspired it?
up in the hands of the art department and while there were other (all incredibly gorgeous) cover comps created, this one was the unanimous YES from my agent, my editor, the whole team, and myself.
I admit I was unsure about the pink, slashed font for the title because I just have an aversion to pink (I’m a purple gal). And yet the more I looked at it, the more it stood out.
As far as any secrets in the photograph . . . well, I can tell you it’s not directly supposed to Ivy or Heather but something older than either of the cousins.
About the Book:
Pages: Hardcover, 304 pages
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers