Second Look: Amy Lukavics’s THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS

As you may remember, I had mixed feelings about Amy Lukavic’s debut novel, DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS.  That, of course, didn’t stop me from wanting to read her second YA horror, THE WOMEN IN THE WALLS.




Release Date: September 27, 2016

Harlequin Teen, 2016

What It’s About:

Think of Margaret and Lucy as a very secluded version of Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen.  Then, you’ll get their personalities and the weird dynamic of their friendship.

Now, moving on…

Lucy (our protagonist) lives in a huge estate (unnamed) with her father, Felix, aunt Penelope, and cousin Margaret.  And their cook.  (But, the novel starts off with Lucy finding the cook, Walter, dead by suicide.)

When Penelope walks into the woods surrounding the estate one afternoon and doesn’t return, Lucy fears the worst.  And as the search team stops looking for her, she becomes angry.  Her father refuses to bring in the authorities (i.e. police), but won’t tell Lucy why.  She’s left trying to figure out things on her own.

Then, Margaret, whom she was once very close to, starts hearing her mother’s (Penelope’s) voice in the walls, talking to her.  Margaret has always been jealous of Lucy’s relationship with Penelope, so she clings to this newfound closeness.  When she tries to tell Lucy, though, Lucy thinks she’s going crazy (and rightly so!)

The basic plot is this (with no spoilers!): Lucy is trying to figure out what happened to Margaret that made her go crazy; at the same time, she doesn’t understand why her father is so obsessed with The Club and he continues to let the Club rule his life, instead of paying attention to his own daughter.  Then, when Lucy finds out that her aunt may have been a witch, she’s more confused then ever.

And all she wants to do is escape…

What I Thought:

Once again, this had a lot of potential.  And I’m not even knocking it!  I loved Lucy as a character.  She was relatable (in a way), but the novel itself seemed to be an allegory for loss, mental illness, and family dysfunction.  I mean, it doesn’t get much more layered than that, right?

However, once again the ending lost me.  I was really disappointed by it.  While, as a reader and a writer, I do understand what Lukavics was doing with the slightly open ending, I still didn’t like it.  Let’s just say…there’s really no happily ever after for Lucy.

What I did love, however, was how absolutely horrifying Lukavics can make the reader feel.  (Is that right syntax?)  Her use of language is really great.  She’s vivid and graphic and there were definitely times I cringed.  (Like, when she describes how Margaret fell…)

This was basically me half the book:


So, that was awesome.  And in that way, Lukavics definitely is reminiscent of Stephen King (as blurbed in Daughters Unto Devils).

All in all, if you don’t mind a sort of crappy cop-out ending, then definitely read this book.

The moral is: I’ll keep an eye out for Amy Lukavics’s books and read them, even if I don’t like the way she ends any of her books. :)


7/10 Stars

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