Author: Cat Clarke
RATING: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
Disclaimer: I received a copy free from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Harper can’t escape the guilt she carries over her twin sister’s Jenna death. She has even tried to run away to and expensive boarding school, Duncraggan Academy, to try and forget her past. She hasn’t yet met anyone who understands what she’s going through. That is, until Kirsty arrives. Kirsty understands exactly what she’s going through because she lost a sister too. The two become close, but Kirsty erratic and manipulative behaviour puts Harpers current friendships at risk.
I really enjoyed Girlhood. It was a dark and atmospheric read, but it also had a happier feel to it at times. I loved the setting, it was in a secluded Scottish boarding school by the sea which added to the eerie atmosphere of the novel. One of my favourite things about this novel was the friendships – which were complicated, to say the least.
Girlhood featured a bisexual main character, which was stated on the page. I appreciated Harper as the protagonist. She had some good elements, she was funny and witty at times, and caring and kind. However, she did make some… questionable choices at times. BUT, she can’t be fully blamed as her and Kirsty’s relationship was really toxic and Kirsty was a pro at manipulating.
One of my favourite characters was Rowan. Rowan was Harper’s best friend. She and Harper went through a lot of conflict throughout the novel, but their relationship was a pleasure to read. Above everything, they were supportive and caring towards each other and their friendship was very important to the both of them. Rowan was a joy to read because she was funny, smart, and charismatic – a wonderful character. Bonus points – she was also a lesbian and a woman of colour (It was stated she was east-Asian and she attended boarding school while her parents moved to South Korean, so I’m assuming she’s Korean but I don’t know for sure). They were other friendships present, and I loved their group dynamics.
I loved the twin relationship in this (even though Jenna was dead at the beginning of the book, she died from anorexia.) Harper struggled to cope with the guilt she felt over her sister’s death as she felt partly responsible because she was the one who suggested the diet. But I felt like Cat Clarke understood that relationship between twins, and I really appreciated that. I’d have just loved to have seen more of the Harper and Jenna’s relationship.
“You can’t separate the belongings of twins – it’s just not possible. Things that started out as mine became hers, and vice versa. We were always very good at sharing; it’s probably the number one life skill you learn from being a twin.”
Overall, Girlhood was an atmospheric, female & friendship-driven read that was compelling and thrilling. I’d highly recommend.
Megan (pronounced MEE-GAN bc her Irish grandfather refused to use the English pronunciation) is a 21 year old british blogger, history graduate, lover of books and expert procrastinator. She is anxious and introverted and is currently attempting adulthood. She loves potatoes which is often blamed on her irish heritage and can often eat her weight in food. She predominantly reads and reviews YA which includes historical fiction, science fiction, contemporary, and f/f romance. She loves reading about unlikeable female characters, positive female friendships & relationships, and is a sucker for a pretty cover.