The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow is an enjoyable YA collaborative mystery book that focuses on two students at a prestigious British boarding school going through the chaos the discovery of a body by the beach has provoked. Although drama falls heavily on the school and both Audrey, the American girl who ran from her past in hopes of not having to put up with what she had to deal with back home, and Ivy, the mysterious but brilliant head student of Illumen Hall and Audrey’s roommate, swear they will not get involved in the investigations they end up searching for answers and getting in trouble.
The book switches between the two perspectives which, to a certain degree, made me feel that the story was unfolding at the perfect (but strange) pace and the reader had an insight both into Ivy’s and Audrey’s thoughts. Although the authors seemingly tailored the book to a younger audience, I couldn’t not notice and appreciate how they chose to address heavier topics such as bullying and class issues, specifically when it comes to the privileges young, wealthy and white teenage boys had in the boarding school’s past.
What I particularly enjoyed was the writing style, which at times comes off as simplistic, but certain phrases have emotional implications and reflect either strongly negative or strongly positive reactions. However, as you’ve probably noticed, I didn’t rate it with five stars, and that for multiple reasons. One of them is that, while the general plot of the novel was quite tempting and it definitely grabbed me, it didn’t grab me as much and as fast as I hoped it would. If analysed profoundly, one might notice that the pace of the novel is a bit weird, meaning that it starts off slowly and it builds up until a point where everything feels flat, but few pages later picks up and it becomes even faster than it was before, which leads me to the ending. I must confess I felt anger building up inside as I turned the pages, but the good kind of anger you feel when a book ends just in the middle of nowhere, with nothing clear and no idea about who the villain(s) might be. Hence, the ending felt rushed, but the authors certainly used the plot device to persuade the public into reading the sequel (which comes out this autumn).
I have to admit I didn’t buy the book only for its synopsis, but because I’ve been watching Zoe’s vlogs and I’ve been reading her blog for about 7 years now. Although I haven’t ready any of Amy McCulloch’s novels, I’ve heard quite a few positive things of her writing, so I thought I’d give The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow a chance – and it didn’t disappoint. I would recommend it to those who enjoy a page turner, but I feel younger generations would love it and enjoy it more than other for its unpretentious writing and ease of reading.
Title: The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow
Author: Zoe Sugg, Amy McCulloch
Publication Date: 2020