Content warnings for: Abusive parents, alcoholism, bullying, anxiety, underage drinking, allusions to rape, graphic descriptions of unconsensual sexual acts, talk of suicide
You Must Not Miss is a wonderful piece of fantasy horror that proves the YA genre isn’t without its gems. Magpie’s life has completely fallen apart. Her father was caught cheating, her mother has turned to alcohol, her sister has left, and all of Magpie’s friends have left her following a situation at a party six months previously.
Magpie has learnt to find comfort in her yellow notebook, writing her dreams for an alternative world, one in which she hasn’t been left to fend for herself. Magpie pours herself into her notepad while remaining wholly checked out of her real life. She’s failing school, casually drinking, and generally reverting into her imaginary world she names Near.
Near is the perfect place, and Magpie puts her all into Near. She imagines it so thoroughly that it imagines itself into existence. Right in Magpie’s garden! Magpie realises she can enter Near and live the perfect life she needs, or better yet, she could use the creatures she imagines for revenge…
Katrina Leno writes such a wonderfully complex character with Magpie, and you find yourself utterly involved with her decisions. However, You Must Not Miss is a weird book, one of those that will not appeal to everyone. It can feel plotless or even unresolved for some, which you should know going in. If you are a big fan of books such a Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (one of my all-time favourites), then pick this up right now!
A little lighter on the horror than I liked, You Must Not Miss definitely hit the mark for me!
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