THE FLOWER GIRLS - ****
THE FLOWER GIRLS ALICE CLARK-PLATTS
Laurel and Rosie, two young sisters who tortured and killed 2 year old Kirstie Swann have become infamous as The Flower Girls. One was sentenced to prison, one was deemed too young and given a new life, now Laurel is up for parole but has she really changed?
I was really looking forward to reading The Flower Girls, it’s gotten some really good reviews and it is very much focused on a topic that interests me – true crime. It pulls parallels from the real life Jamie Bulger case, where 10 year olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson killed 2 year old Jamie in 1993. The Flower Girls is a brilliant and I really enjoyed how it flipped perspective between Rosie - who was too young to be sentenced and now trying to live a new identity, Joanna - the aunt of the deceased girl and Max - a writer who discovers Rosie’s true identity. The story really narrows in on themes of grief, recidivism and forgiveness in a very real way.
I did find that I struggled to truly get into the book for a while, it’s an odd writing style, very chopped sentences and felt a bit repetitive at times. I’m not sure if the fact I was reading the ARC didn’t help in that it was quite a badly formatted copy of the book. Usually you expect to get odd paragraph breaks and unlabelled chapters as the book is quickly converted to a Kindle format, however this had odd capitalisation, sometimes missing altogether and full stops peppered around in very odd places. As the writer writes in short, chopped sentences a lot it made it concept quite hard to fully get into the story straight away but I’m sure this will be ironed out in the final copy.
I would have liked to have gotten more into the mindset of the girls and truly find out what happened and what caused them to act as they did. I feel like the options presented where either that they watched violent movies or played videogames or they were straight evil with no in-the-middle. As an avid player of videogames (and never having murdered anyone!) this opinion always really annoys me but I guess it is true to public opinion and the press. There were a few twists and shocks towards the end that I actually found very unrealistic, just written for shock value which I didn’t enjoy as well (no spoilers).
Overall The Flower Girls is a fantastic premise although I was slightly less enamoured by the writing style and shock twists towards the end. Thank you to NetGalley, Bloomsbury Publishing and Raven for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.