All the Crooked Saints
Scholastic (US: 28th August 2018; UK: 3rd May 2018)
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It would’ve been so easy to quit this, which considered after three chapters. But because it’s not much over 300 pages, I persisted – and actually got a lot out of it.
But reading All the Crooked Saints requires patience and endurance. The writing style may be “poetic” or “lyrical”, but it’s off-putting. And it’s more story TELLING than showing, so the introductions of each character are all info-dump and more than a little absurd.
Why is it set in 1962? Because pirate radio isn’t a thing now? Why is it marketed to teens, when it suits an older audience better? Is it because Scholastic doesn’t publish adult fiction?
Even the author struggled to understand her manuscript while writing and revising it: http://maggiestiefvater.com/the-years-without-words/ She was later diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease), so she had a good reason.
A third of the way in, the story becomes much easier to read. The characters steal a gamecock!
The theme becomes clear: We can’t just leave people to solve their darkness alone. And we need help solving our own darkness. Once that’s established, life becomes easier. It’s a tearful read, but I may have been in a depressive episode at the time.