Title: Moth Girls
Author: Anne Cassidy
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: ebook from NetGalley
Set five years after two girls go missing, Moth Girls follows the third girl, Mandy as she tries to discover what happened to them. This book was not what I was expecting. When I read the description, I thought it would be Mandy trying to uncover repressed memories of the night her friends go missing through flashback and discussions. What I got, however, was something a lot more complex and thrilling.
Written in multiple perspectives and multiple timelines, Moth Girls is a gripping mystery novel driven, not by the over-arching mystery, but by the characters it involves. The whole story revolves around the disappearance of two girls after they are last seen entering a house uninvited. To add an extra layer, their disappearance occurs on the same night that a murder is committed, in that very same house. The reader follows Mandy as she tries to find out what happened to her friends, as well as Petra, one of the disappearing girls, in the lead up to the disappearance.
I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed the characters in this book. Neither Mandy nor Petra are particularly likable when you first encounter them, but Cassidy does a fantastic job of developing their personalities so you start to see them as real people who you can relate to and, more disturbingly, potentially know. They moved the story forwards incredibly well and almost as soon as I had decided that one was my favourite, the POV changed and the other came to claim that title until the POV changed again.
As a novel set in the present day, in this world, it had a distinct contemporary feel to it. The setting is your typical town with a school and homes. What really captured the attention was the house where the girls went missing. Cassidy writes this house so well it almost seems like a character on its own – eerie, mysterious and a point of obsession for the characters involved. It is the reason the book is called Moth Girls – the missing girls were drawn to it like moths to a light, and it certainly contributes to the overall tone to the book.
All in all, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. I read it in every spare moment I could and, while parts of the solution were predictable, I really enjoyed the twists which came out of nowhere. The only real gripe I would have with Moth Girls is that it is so different to what I was expecting – rather than being a dark thriller, it did have more of a contemporary novel atmosphere. Despite that, I would really recommend this novel to anyone who likes a good character-driven mystery.