*I received a copy of The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro from Netgalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.*
There's too much going on in this novel to provide a thorough description within the confines of this book review, so enjoy this teeny tiny snippet: A gypsy moth infestation is raining down on Avalon Island, but the bugs are the least of the islander's worries. Fierro flutters between several different perspectives, managing to weave together stories of young love, an evil corporation, gangs of outsiders, familial abuse, and an aging matriarch eager to cling to her lifestyle while her husband succumbs to delusions.
We'll start with the good. And, to be clear, there was a lot of good. Fierro created strong characters that I wanted to spend time with. In a lot of books with alternating perspectives, I find myself bored with certain characters. However, that was not the case with The Gypsy Moth Summer. I enjoyed every single character's unique voice and viewpoint and I hung on every word. Also, the setting of Avalon island felt vivid and real. Fierro's descriptions of the gypsy moth infestation had me grossed out yet riveted, and the tension between different social classes and races was gripping and terrifying at times. Basically, Fierro is a great writer.
Now, for the not as good. I won't say 'bad,' because I honestly don't believe there was anything bad about this book. There were simply things that weren't as good, in my opinion. First, going back to my opener, there was too much going on in this novel. For a large part of the book I didn't mind, but the many different story threads grew a little tangled by the end. After 400 pages, you expect there to be a rather satisfying conclusion; however, I didn't get that. I was left wanting, for sure, and not necessarily in a good way. If I had to diagnose the problem, I'd say this book had a VERY large middle and a teeny tiny ending. More time could have been spent tying up loose ends. Even still, I think Fierro provided enough information to offer a satisfactory ending, if only just barely. Second, (and this could simply be me being a prude, so feel free to ignore this) there were portions of the book that got a little too graphic for my taste. More than once I felt like I'd accidentally stumbled into an erotic novel. Now, I'm fine with a tasteful sex scene or two, but I don't want to have to close my book because I'm afraid the woman next to me in the doctor's office waiting room will catch a glimpse of the page and think I'm a pervert (yes, this actually happened).
Overall, I think The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro is well worth a read and perfect for your summer TBR. However, be prepared to finish the book with a few burning questions about the ending.
The Gypsy Moth Summer by Julia Fierro is out now.