Thank you to Viking Books/Penguin Books for Young Readers for a copy of The Narrow in exchange for an honest review. 

Summary

Everyone has heard the story of the Narrow. The river that runs behind the Atwood School is only a few feet across and seemingly placid, but beneath the surface, the waters are deep and vicious. It’s said that no one who has fallen in has ever survived. Eden White knows that isn’t true. Six years ago, she saw Delphine Fournier fall into the Narrow — and live.

Delphine now lives in careful isolation, sealed off from the world. Even a single drop of unpurified water could be deadly to her, and no one but Eden has any idea why. Eden has never told anyone what she saw or spoken to Delphine since, but now, unable to cover her tuition, she has to make a deal: Her expenses will be paid in return for serving as a live-in companion to Delphine.

Eden finds herself drawn to the strange and mysterious girl, and the two of them begin to unravel each other’s secrets. Then Eden discovers what happened to the last girl who lived with Delphine: She was found half-drowned on dry land.

Suddenly Eden is waking up to wet footprints tracking to the end of her bed, the sound of rain on the windows when the skies are clear, and a ghostly silhouette in her doorway. Something is haunting Delphine — and now it’s coming for Eden, too.

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Shock and Awe

The Narrow made me gasp. And it’s not often a book surprises me. (#SorryNotSorry but I’m one of the many who can guess the next sentence of a movie, ya know?) I don’t say this to pat my own back or toot my own horn. Just that I love when art pulls the rug out from under me. I cannot tell you how Kate Alice Marshall’The Narrow does this without giving the twist away, and this is not a book to be spoiled. 

Suffice it to say; I was blown out of the water (terrible pun intended). The best part is the twist makes complete sense in retrospect. It’s not an “Ah-ha! Gotcha!” Marshall weaves a story that needs to be told, not one to pull one over on her audience. 

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A Sensory Experience

As with her last book, These Fleeting Shadows, Marshall shows extreme command over spooky and visual writing in The Narrow. It’s so visual it’s visceral. But beyond that, the sense of touch, of feeling, is prevalent here. While not all five senses are equally at play, the book is a feast for the senses.

I remember I’d wanted to watch These Fleeting Shadows as a movie, but I don’t think I’d like to see The Narrow. This novel may be too disturbing on screen: That or the disturbing nature wouldn’t translate. Either way, the written word is the perfect medium for it. 

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Should You Read It?

Absolutely. While this is another “read-the-content-warnings-first” recommendation, it’s a whole-hearted, 1,000 percent recommendation. If you like a good romance, or if you like a good ghost story, The Narrow is for you. After tapping the final page, I still wanted more. It’s not that The Narrow doesn’t satisfy; it’s that it is that good. 

The Narrow is out on August 1, 2023. Pick up a copy at your local indie bookstore or library. 📚👻🚰

Content warnings

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