The story opens with a drunk diving incident in which Ivy’s soon-to-be-ex boyfriend crashes the car into woods. A mysterious woman is standing in the middle of the road, naked. Ivy chases after her and gives the girl her flannel shirt but strangely the girl appears to know Ivy’s name. From then on, the story becomes darker and twistier and creepier by the minute.
Told from the alternating perspectives of Ivy in the present day and her mother Dana as a teenager in the 90s this is a richly layered and compelling read.
Ivy’s mother appears distant, moody and unavailable to her daughter but as their stories unfold and gradually converge, we realise they both have secrets to hide. Why is her mother behaving so weirdly in the garden and who is leaving dead rabbits in their driveway. And why can’t Ivy remember anything about her neighbour Billy yet is convinced she knows him somehow and that their kiss is not the first time it has happened.
It turns out Ivy displayed powerful magical talents from an early age but in bid to protect her young daughter her mother had placed her memories in a forgetting box. Dana herself was heavily involved with the occult as a teenager with her friend Fee and another girl Marion but they found themselves too dangerously involved and made some bad choices. This has haunted Dana ever since and she does not want her daughter to make similar mistakes. As Ivy begins to unravel the mystery surrounding her mother and the danger they are in, she realises she has powers of her own and her own choices to make.
This is an atmospheric, sophisticated and genuinely creepy story. It is well-crafted and beautifully written although occasionally there are a touch too many witchy details. Both mother and daughter as teenagers are realistically portrayed with a visceral and headstrong nature that is terrifying yet endearing. The novel says a lot about mother/daughter relationships and how the decisions we make impact our lives and can have consequences that carry on down through families. Young adults will adore it.