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Nightingale

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“Takes a slice of mid-twentieth-century Americana and exposes it as an utter and ongoing gender inequality nightmare. Electric, tense, horrifying, and a righteously angry yowl.” —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. J “Takes a slice of mid-twentieth-century Americana and exposes it as an utter and ongoing gender inequality nightmare. Electric, tense, horrifying, and a righteously angry yowl.” —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women… June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all. “Nightingale is a beautifully constructed novel featuring out-of-this-world suspense, a classic Stephen King vibe and an edge all its own. If that wasn't enough, its powerful portrayal of gender roles and feminism makes it all too timely and important.” —Courtney Summers, author of Sadie and This Is Not a Test


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“Takes a slice of mid-twentieth-century Americana and exposes it as an utter and ongoing gender inequality nightmare. Electric, tense, horrifying, and a righteously angry yowl.” —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. J “Takes a slice of mid-twentieth-century Americana and exposes it as an utter and ongoing gender inequality nightmare. Electric, tense, horrifying, and a righteously angry yowl.” —Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women… June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all. “Nightingale is a beautifully constructed novel featuring out-of-this-world suspense, a classic Stephen King vibe and an edge all its own. If that wasn't enough, its powerful portrayal of gender roles and feminism makes it all too timely and important.” —Courtney Summers, author of Sadie and This Is Not a Test

30 review for Nightingale

  1. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♎ [howling libraries]

    I am a tremendous fan of historical horror, and more specifically, historical horror set in asylums, so as soon as I read the synopsis of this one, I was intrigued. I really had no idea what to expect, but I appreciate that Lukavics has a twisted imagination and tends to go to much darker places than most YA horror authors are willing to explore, so my hopes were very high for Nightingale. What if this entire nightmare has been a horror show of your own making? What if none of it is real and y I am a tremendous fan of historical horror, and more specifically, historical horror set in asylums, so as soon as I read the synopsis of this one, I was intrigued. I really had no idea what to expect, but I appreciate that Lukavics has a twisted imagination and tends to go to much darker places than most YA horror authors are willing to explore, so my hopes were very high for Nightingale. What if this entire nightmare has been a horror show of your own making? What if none of it is real and you’re too far gone to ever be saved? Thankfully, I was not let down at all by this creepy little read! First, let me say that, if you are a fan of American Horror Story’s Asylum season (season 2), I think this will absolutely be right up your alley. That happens to be my favorite AHS season, and this gave me such similar vibes without ever feeling like it was ripping off the show in any way. What starts off as a horror story in an asylum in the 50s quickly gains a sci-fi element that’s positively bizarre, in the best way. There was a dead girl in the bed next to June’s. There isn’t a ton I can tell you about what happens in the book without spoiling things, so I’ll just say that I genuinely enjoyed the progression of events, loved the twist at the end, and found June to be an absolutely fantastic narrator. I loved seeing the world through her perspective, where she’s so unreliable that you can rarely tell what is actually happening and what she’s misinterpreting or possibly making up altogether. There’s a lot of speculative fiction feels to the storytelling here, which I love (but I know spec-fic isn’t for everyone, so if you’re not a huge fan, maybe go into the book preparing yourself). To have the confidence of such a pathetic type of man! There’s also a lot of solid social commentary in here. The way the patients at the asylum are treated is terrifying, especially because so much of it is obviously inspired by real events. There’s also a load of sexism present: June is placed into the asylum for being too “unusual”, because rather than cooking, cleaning, and having a family, she wants to live on her own, travel the world, and write terrifying science fiction novels. She’s confused and frustrated by the gender roles placed upon her, and things aren’t made any easier for her by the fact that she’s queer (bi/pan)—and we actually get to see her form sexual and romantic relationships with a man and a woman, the latter of which I found to be so sweet and precious that I couldn’t help but root for them. At least here, I won’t have to continue living how I was. I won’t have to break myself into pieces just to show them that I can. I thought Nightingale was a tremendously fun read, and I flew through it in no time at all. I loved the creepy elements, the slow dread brought on by June’s confusion and lack of control, and the surprisingly gore-filled scenes near the end. Like I said, I love how far Amy Lukavics is willing to go, and Nightingale made me want to immediately pick up the older releases of hers that I haven’t gotten to yet. I strongly recommend adding this one to your TBR if you’re a fan of horror with some sci-fi elements thrown in, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! Content warnings for parental abuse/neglect, domestic violence, ableism, mistreatment of mental health patients (lobotomies, shock therapy, etc.), gore, body horror, violence, sexism, suicidal ideation. All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Harlequin Teen for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kendall

    So.. I had to sit over this book for a day... because I was THAT confused. I'm not exactly sure what I just read? I've heard fantastic things about Amy Lukavics and her horror novels. BUT, wow... this was NOT horror at all. I don't even know what I would categorize this as?..... Sci-fi ish/Science fictionish? This book had SUCH potential to be an epic read... but damn was I completely lost on all accounts. June Hardie is struggling to make something of herself in a typical suburban town. Yikes.. So.. I had to sit over this book for a day... because I was THAT confused. I'm not exactly sure what I just read? I've heard fantastic things about Amy Lukavics and her horror novels. BUT, wow... this was NOT horror at all. I don't even know what I would categorize this as?..... Sci-fi ish/Science fictionish? This book had SUCH potential to be an epic read... but damn was I completely lost on all accounts. June Hardie is struggling to make something of herself in a typical suburban town. Yikes.. typical gender roles/norms here... with women cooking/cleaning and men being the primary breadwinners. However, June has found her love of writing and becomes obsessed with her story. Her family of course doesn't support her writing and thinks she's ridiculous. A mysterious event happens and June lands herself in an asylum. June beings to realize that there is something very creepy going on in the asylum. Girls start disappearing and June has her work cut out to figure out what the hell is going on. The story alternates between June being in the asylum and the event leading up to the asylum with her family and how awful she is treated by them. I don't even know where the author was trying to go with this one. I was completely lost at the end of this one and was thinking wtf? The only thing that I really liked about this book was the cover. Ugh.. major disappointment. I don't think I will be trying another book by this author. 2 stars for this one. Thank you so much to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest thoughts. Expected publication date: 10/1/18 Published to GR: 7/22/18.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Read to to the 1/2 way point and then skimmed the rest. It is safe to say that I was the wrong audience for this book. I really enjoyed the authors previous book Daughters Unto Devils so I didn't even hesitate to request a copy of this book. In my defense the blurb is really misleading. Horror this is not. Science Fiction, perhaps more likely, but even at that I don't think it's done particularly well here because it's just so confusing. I am not an avid reader of Science Fiction though so what Read to to the 1/2 way point and then skimmed the rest. It is safe to say that I was the wrong audience for this book. I really enjoyed the authors previous book Daughters Unto Devils so I didn't even hesitate to request a copy of this book. In my defense the blurb is really misleading. Horror this is not. Science Fiction, perhaps more likely, but even at that I don't think it's done particularly well here because it's just so confusing. I am not an avid reader of Science Fiction though so what the hell do I know! For those that are fans of Young Adult / Science Fiction / Asylums - this may be right up your alley! I would like to thank Laura @ HarperCollins for being kind enough to send me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    I have a huge love for Lukavics and think her horror books, while YA, have a very mature and adult like read to them that keep me coming back and devouring all of her books. Anything dealing with asylums and I'm SOLD. GIMME! We are set in 1951, the "Past Days", where June is about to graduate from high school and her parents have a very distinctive role for her to play and she just needs to be "better". Sigh. The author does a great job in giving us that trapped feeling where we feel the necessit I have a huge love for Lukavics and think her horror books, while YA, have a very mature and adult like read to them that keep me coming back and devouring all of her books. Anything dealing with asylums and I'm SOLD. GIMME! We are set in 1951, the "Past Days", where June is about to graduate from high school and her parents have a very distinctive role for her to play and she just needs to be "better". Sigh. The author does a great job in giving us that trapped feeling where we feel the necessity to be one way, as is socially the norm, but what we really want to do is break out of this mold and be our own person... and accepted for it. Then we have the present day, in the Institution, chapters where June is committed for her hysteria and there is absolutely NOTHING that seems right about this place. Is she wrong, or is this place wrong? There's a semblance of a book-in-a-book with the science fiction story June is writing which takes this book into a whole different atmosphere (ha! see what I did there?). Honestly, this is the part that got lost on me and where I think the blurb is slightly misleading. I am just not the right audience for this - though I was reminded at times of Coraline and a season of Supernatural - but you're going to have to read this to understand where I'm coming from. (It's ok, I rarely make sense to myself either.) What is fantastic is the eerie feeling of this book - it's a build up of dread and insanity and the unknown of what is or isn't real as we ride through June's various thoughts before and after being institutionalized. There are also some gruesome and enjoyable scenes as we get further along and these I always do enjoy. Another solid bit of work from Lukavics and I'm reminded again of why I am such a HUGE fan - even when something doesn't quite hit the mark for me, I'm still highly entertained and pulled into her stories. 3 1/2 stars - rounding to 4 for Goodreads. Thank you Harlequin Teen for this copy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cheyenne

    Overall, I give this book 3 stars. If you’re interested in horror, particularly YA horror, I recommend that you give this book a read, and check out Amy Lukavics’ other works, as well. It was a fun spooky Halloween read that didn’t pull any punches and got me in the mood for even more horror! Read my full review at https://cheyennereads.home.blog/2018/...

  6. 4 out of 5

    MarytheBookLover

    My Opinion: This sorry is about a girl in the 50's that has gotten lost in the woods at a really young age and something changes her. We don't find out the full extent of it until later in the book, but I can say that it was a pretty good book. I totally enjoyed the POV of June and for this time era, she was considered insane because of it. Which made it pretty horrific for me. I have always LOVED books with asylum type themes and this one did not disappoint for me. She tries very hard to conform My Opinion: This sorry is about a girl in the 50's that has gotten lost in the woods at a really young age and something changes her. We don't find out the full extent of it until later in the book, but I can say that it was a pretty good book. I totally enjoyed the POV of June and for this time era, she was considered insane because of it. Which made it pretty horrific for me. I have always LOVED books with asylum type themes and this one did not disappoint for me. She tries very hard to conform to what her parents and everyone expects of her but just can't seem to do this. She has a strong will and when she gets to the asylum she has to piece things together before they kill her. She is also very blunt in her thoughts and that was a big plus for me. I loved her planning and scheming to get away from these people. It was a little weird with the boyfriend but that is understandable considering all the elements at work in this book. I would say read this one as it's a good book. 3.5 of 5 stars for this book. Thank you to Edelweiss+ for giving me a copy for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion. ************************************************** I read this in one sitting really. I am unsure how to describe my feelings on this one. I liked it but...I didn't like the ending and still feel like I have missed something. I will review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cillian

    Ready for this, Ruby? Just like the good ol' times...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Bookish

    Well, this book was certainly… an adventure. What started out looking like a book about a young woman suffering from Capgras delusion (a belief that someone close to you has been replaced with an identical impostor) slowly delved into weirder and weirder science fiction territory. (Or perhaps not; June is an unreliable narrator and it’s possible that the science fiction elements are all the result of a broken mind. Who can say?) I don’t want to give too much away in terms of plot, but rest assur Well, this book was certainly… an adventure. What started out looking like a book about a young woman suffering from Capgras delusion (a belief that someone close to you has been replaced with an identical impostor) slowly delved into weirder and weirder science fiction territory. (Or perhaps not; June is an unreliable narrator and it’s possible that the science fiction elements are all the result of a broken mind. Who can say?) I don’t want to give too much away in terms of plot, but rest assured that what you might expect from the blurb for this book bears little resemblance to the book itself. While the unexpected is certainly not in itself a reason for a negative review, the plot twists in this book simply were not well executed. It felt like there was insufficient buildup and too many questions left unanswered. The overall result was a flimsy plot with horror elements that were far from horrifying. For example, Lukavics seemed to rely too much on gore and body horror to make the reader squirm. There was a lot of “ick” factor that simply wasn’t scary, with repeated mentions of worms crawling around in the brains of live people and the detailed description of a mangled corpse. June had some potential to be a good protagonist, and she definitely had some elements which made her sympathetic. She bristles at the rigid expectations of her gender in the 1950’s, but it seems that Lukavics takes this trait too far in trying to drive the point home. June expresses irritation at one point that her mother expects her to wear clean clothes; hygiene is not a gendered issue, June. She is extremely resistant to learning to cook, and while this is something disproportionately thrust onto women, June honestly just seems disgruntled at the thought of being asked to do anything at all. Her desire to be a writer when her family wants to turn her into a housewife was an engaging element of her character. She has no desire to marry the boy they’ve selected for her, for reasons which become more and more obvious as the plot moves along. I wish Lukavics had spent more time focusing on these issues rather than June’s disdain at being asked to do so much as clean up after herself. Flawed protagonists are fine, but whiny protagonists are generally unbearable. June has some internal struggles going on that would have made for really intriguing character development, but they were very shallowly explored. All in all, this book felt like a first draft; there’s a good story hiding under a bit of a mess. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and not influenced by the publisher. You can read all of my reviews at my blog, Jenna Bookish! Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Nightingale was my first Amy Lukavics book, and I am happy to say that I loved it! This book is about June, who graduates from high school & wants to grow up to be something besides her mother. I found June to be a relatable character - she loves things she isn't "supposed to" love (like sci-fi and writing), and she feels alone in her family because she doesn't match their standard of the idea girl. It's a lonely story, and I think many women will be able to relate to June. This book is grim Nightingale was my first Amy Lukavics book, and I am happy to say that I loved it! This book is about June, who graduates from high school & wants to grow up to be something besides her mother. I found June to be a relatable character - she loves things she isn't "supposed to" love (like sci-fi and writing), and she feels alone in her family because she doesn't match their standard of the idea girl. It's a lonely story, and I think many women will be able to relate to June. This book is grim, but it's not entirely devoid of hope. I don't think this book is going to be for everyone. It's sort of like a speculative fiction version of The Bell Jar or Girl, Interrupted. These are books that both had a big impact on my life when I was younger, so I thoroughly enjoyed Nightingale. The storyline is pretty vague at times since you can't always tell what's real and what's not, so just know that going in if you decide to pick this one up. This book does have a romantic aspect, which often bores me, but I really like how Amy Lukavics handled it in this book. I was rooting for them - it's fun to actually like the characters enough to care. It was a good story. Nightingale has a few good creepy scenes, like the opening one, but overall, I think the horror is in the creeping sense of dread and lack of control that June has over her own life. There's some good gore toward the end, and I had fun reading this one. It is a YA book, but I think it has more mature tones than most. I enjoyed this story, and I can't wait to read more from Amy Lukavics.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stacee

    I have enjoyed the other books Amy has put out, so I’m pretty much all in for anything she writes. This was was a little odd and I’m not sure if 3 stars is too high. I liked June. She’s tenacious and smart and I really liked how she rebelled in small ways. Her family is crap and I wanted to punch all of them in the face. There are lots of other characters, but spoilers. Plot wise it was okay? My favorite part was the unreliable narrator aspect and honestly, the scariest part was the entire sett I have enjoyed the other books Amy has put out, so I’m pretty much all in for anything she writes. This was was a little odd and I’m not sure if 3 stars is too high. I liked June. She’s tenacious and smart and I really liked how she rebelled in small ways. Her family is crap and I wanted to punch all of them in the face. There are lots of other characters, but spoilers. Plot wise it was okay? My favorite part was the unreliable narrator aspect and honestly, the scariest part was the entire setting in the 50s and how women were treated and expected to act. The ending did feel a bit rushed and while the epilogue was mildly satisfying, it left me with more questions than answers. Overall, it was a quick read with an interesting premise. I look forward to seeing what Amy writes next. **Huge thanks to Harlequin Teen for providing the arc free of charge**

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really like this author so I was excited that she had a new book coming out. I got to buddy read this with a friend on here and introduce her to Amy's writing :) SO many things I like are in this book. I can't tell you all of them because that would be a bit spoiler-ish. One thing is that I love the strong female main character (June) and the historical fiction aspect. I love seeing women rebel and try to work together. The body horror aspect to the story was very cool and gruesome. I had a lot I really like this author so I was excited that she had a new book coming out. I got to buddy read this with a friend on here and introduce her to Amy's writing :) SO many things I like are in this book. I can't tell you all of them because that would be a bit spoiler-ish. One thing is that I love the strong female main character (June) and the historical fiction aspect. I love seeing women rebel and try to work together. The body horror aspect to the story was very cool and gruesome. I had a lot of reactions to the story while reading because June is really put through hell, and the time period in which the story takes place is so oppressive to women - I was SO frustrated while reading what was happening to her! I liked that the story jumped back and forth between the present day at the asylum and the past leading up to it. I desperately wanted to know what had happened to put her in the asylum, so I felt a tension and nervousness as I was reading. I had a lot of questions while reading and was anxious to have them resolved. Overall, it was a stressful, horrific, but at the same time empowering read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Latasha

    This is the first book I've read by Amy Lukavics. a friend ask if anyone wanted to buddy read it, so I checked to see if it was on my to read list and it was. I didn't refresh my memory as to what it was about. Meet June, 18yrs. in 1951. Through her we see what was expected of girls in this era and how they were to behave, act, think, etc. thank god I missed this time. She is committed to an insane asylum. The book switches to time the before the asylum and to time in the institute. As it does, This is the first book I've read by Amy Lukavics. a friend ask if anyone wanted to buddy read it, so I checked to see if it was on my to read list and it was. I didn't refresh my memory as to what it was about. Meet June, 18yrs. in 1951. Through her we see what was expected of girls in this era and how they were to behave, act, think, etc. thank god I missed this time. She is committed to an insane asylum. The book switches to time the before the asylum and to time in the institute. As it does, reality becomes more and more unclear. I'm still not sure how much of what I read really happened and how much was June's story. Yes, she writes a story and it's extremely important to her. This was a very good book. I liked the writing, the characters, the setting. I will definitely read more by this author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Melanie (mells_view)

    Nightingale was my first read from this author, and it’s sort of a coming of age period sci-fi read. When I requested this galley it was based on the gorgeous cover. I assumed it would be dark, and some of the themes were, but this was more a young woman struggling with getting away from people who want her to do as they expect opposed to doing what she knows she’s meant for. This is a good read, but I will say that it is confusing. It bounces back and forth between the recent past, dreams, and t Nightingale was my first read from this author, and it’s sort of a coming of age period sci-fi read. When I requested this galley it was based on the gorgeous cover. I assumed it would be dark, and some of the themes were, but this was more a young woman struggling with getting away from people who want her to do as they expect opposed to doing what she knows she’s meant for. This is a good read, but I will say that it is confusing. It bounces back and forth between the recent past, dreams, and the heroine, June, being in an asylum. The blurb compares this work to Stephen King, and I would have to agree. Kind of like the story gives you obvious answers that feel to fantastical to be facts, and yet at some points they are facts. If you’re looking for a read that’s at its base a young woman trying to fight against expectations for the life that she actually wants, but has the wrappings of a sci-fi horror fantasy, then Nightingale is one you should check out! *ARC provided by NetGalley.*

  14. 4 out of 5

    Faith Simon

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received an advanced reader's edition of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Okay, so uh. Wow. There's a lot to unpack in this dear book. This book is really mysterious and eerie to begin with, but as the story progresses and more information is revealed as to how June ended up in the institution, it gets even more confusing from there. I actually liked this, normally I wouldn't be so happy about being confused for most of an entire book, but with this one, I think that I received an advanced reader's edition of this title from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Okay, so uh. Wow. There's a lot to unpack in this dear book. This book is really mysterious and eerie to begin with, but as the story progresses and more information is revealed as to how June ended up in the institution, it gets even more confusing from there. I actually liked this, normally I wouldn't be so happy about being confused for most of an entire book, but with this one, I think that it worked really well. As I've finished the book, I can now look back at what I read and recall all of the little clues that were present throughout hinting at the events toward the ending, but I think that these were concealed nicely and fairly difficult to figure out because of the way of the storytelling and gradual reveal of past details, yet the reader can clue in enough to know these things are somehow odd, but just not quite sure how they fit into the story. I spent this entire book in suspense and I really enjoyed it. I normally have a difficult time with horror novels, because I find I have a hard time being scared or at the very least unsettled like I can be with horror movies, I find the visuals are missing, and most horror novels that I've encountered don't make me feel suspenseful and at the edge of my seat with the writing. But this book I found very unsettling, and I'm glad that this book wasn't a let-down for me, I'm pretty grateful for that, in fact. One thing I really enjoyed was the relationship between June and Eleanor. I was picking up some more-than-friends vibes very early on, but usually this is just a false hope that is not developed in the writing, however, I was more than pleased to read on that this vibe I was getting was indeed leading to a relationship more than platonic between the two. The presence of a queer relationship of course always impacts my over-all enjoyment of a book, and this was no exception, I felt a mix of joy and unease while reading, but I really liked the mix of the two. This book really reminded me of American Horror Story season two. It takes place in an institution, a mental-hospital of sorts, taking place in the 1950s (a mental institution in the 1950s is always a great setting for horror media), this seems like a horror-tastic tale until you get to the end and realize that the entire story was centred around aliens all along. I was super let down by this, just as I was watching AHS. I automatically like a story less when the entire plot is revealed to have been the result of aliens. When horror is involved, I feel like a plot centred around aliens is a cop-out, aliens just don't do the trick for me as far as horror goes. Basically, I felt supremely underwhelmed by the time the end of the story rolled around. Not only this, but I found the end to be a little confusing, however, I did like the violence and gore that came with the climactic end, I think that it made the experience just a bit better for me in the midsts of my disappointment.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Marie

    Nightingale by Amy Lukavics 3.5 stars June Hardie is your typical seventeen-year-old girl living in 1951. She has a boyfriend, comes from a good wholesome family, goes to school, and is learning how to cook. Except nothing is as it seems and the truth is her boyfriend is just another ploy for her father to have a booming business, her family is stilted and she hates her mother as much as her mother seems to hate her, all she wants is to go to college, and cooking doesn’t please her. Writing is her Nightingale by Amy Lukavics 3.5 stars June Hardie is your typical seventeen-year-old girl living in 1951. She has a boyfriend, comes from a good wholesome family, goes to school, and is learning how to cook. Except nothing is as it seems and the truth is her boyfriend is just another ploy for her father to have a booming business, her family is stilted and she hates her mother as much as her mother seems to hate her, all she wants is to go to college, and cooking doesn’t please her. Writing is her passion. June loves to write about the aliens that are torturing and rearranging her heroine. June Hardie can’t stop writing her story. Everything went wrong one morning and she woke up to find her parents replaced. Her parents are her parents now she is trapped in the Institution alongside girls who all have seemed to have encounters as strange as June. The Institution doesn’t want to help June and the girls have no hope of getting out the easy way. Getting better doesn’t seem to be an option. That synopsis that I wrote is a lot and it’s not even half of this story. This story is wild and there is far too much going on. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but that’s what I like about Lukavics she packs a lot of social commentaries into a horror setting (usually not present day). I’ve always been fascinated by the 1950s housewife. I’m a huge fan of Revolutionary Road and I’ve written countless essays on the topic for literature classes, so this was right up my alley. It is all very Virginia Wolff combined with Sylvia Plath thrown into an outrageous horror setting. Lukavics’ writing is palpable and addicting. She is a well-crafted horror writer who knows how to intrigue and shock the reader. I wasn’t able to put this book down and felt like I just had to know what was going to happen next. The problem, however, was that I wasn’t a fan of the ending or the conclusion. It was lackluster, but I’ll speak more about that towards the end of my review. “June thought of the story she wrote, thought about the aliens, always taking people away and changing them and trying to put them back as if nothing had happened. But nobody was ever quite right after coming back.” Whimsical Writing Scale: 3.75 The main female character is June. I’ve noticed a pattern with Lukavics’ main heroines. I can’t stand them. They are usually very contrived women who are appealing to my inner feminist in the sense of me being like, “YAS, girl! Down with the patriarchy and the stifling confines of society, but also can you stop creeping me out?” The last heroine I encounter from her in Daughters Unto Devils was demon-possessed and wanted to murder her siblings. This girl wants to murder everyone and some point “satisfyingly” taints her family’s homecooked meal with her blood. It was weird, y’all. She has a lot of weird imaginings where she sees herself in the most horrifying and gruesome visions and she enjoys them. It’s a little too weird for my liking and she just feels skeevy. I felt like I was encountering a psychopath (and I kind of was, but no spoilers because it’s not that simple). She wasn’t a horrible character, but I wasn’t rooting for her. I just wanted to know what the heck was going on and why she was in this weird situation in the first place. “She loved stories like that, the ones that made you realize how very created our ideas of safety and basic rights were.” Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 3 There is some girl group power in the Institution, but I didn’t really buy any of their friendships as a group dynamic. Everyone kind of seemed to be doing their own thing and was out for themselves. Eleanor is June’s roommate and she is one of the major characters in the Institution and is eventually June’s lover. I honestly wasn’t buying the romance because it all of a sudden happened, but it was different to see a lesbian romance in a horror story outside of American Horror Story. I just wasn’t buying it and also, that ending. How cliché. June’s family was a lot to take in. I didn’t like them and I’m not supposed to, but I kind of wished that their dynamic wasn’t so tainted. Also, the plot with her brother, Fred, escalated. I was supposed to believe he was this evil man, but really he was just a stand in for defeating the patriarchy in familial situations, which I’m not against, but I would have preferred more character development to get me to hate him. “This wasn’t supposed to be a nightmare house, it was supposed to be a place built to make people feel better.” Character Scale: 3.5 The Villain- Joya… Nurse Joya. She is like Sister Mary Eunice minus the nun costume and she’s less demonic and more Lovecraftian. This was all very Lovecraftian and I wasn’t against it because intergalactic feuds are interesting, but also, I know nothing about anything. I have more questions than answers. “She savored her gift from the land of stars and voids.” Villain Scale: 3.5 So, this horror novel is incredibly feminist and I loved that. It has a lot of wonderful commentary on the 1950s, suburbia, women writers, mental health treatment, hysteria, lobotomies, and family confines and expectations. I love all these things and it was a treat to read, but I have to talk about that ending and how I can’t really wrap my head around it, so here’s a quote that references Virginia Wolff and I’ll leave you with that before I give spoilers. “Maybe having to exist in a single room forever wouldn’t be too awful of a thing.” (view spoiler)[All along June’s story was about herself and her own alien abduction at ten-years-old. Which makes sense to me because I suspected that must be the case because she knew too well how she wanted her character to be tortured and she just kind of was able to get it all down at unearthly speed. I don’t know anything about the aliens who abducted her or why. Then the whole thing about Joya and the other nurses being one entity and race that eats people to survive – they are basically earth bottom feeders and the aliens want to destroy them. It’s all very all over the place. The showdown was kind of cool and different from what I expected. But the ending, June has all these powers from her abductions (mind control, manipulation, healing, etc.) and she manipulates her fiancée into being her slave forever and then murdered her brother because he ruined her chance to go write and he had to go because reasons? It was just weird. I was unfulfilled and just felt kind of knocked off my rocker a bit by where the story decided to go. I just don't know exactly how I feel. Do I like this or hate it? No, but I am confused on processing my thoughts. (hide spoiler)] Overall, I really enjoyed Nightingale and it has a lot of interesting facets that make it stand out from the horror YA genre. It’s not my favorite by Lukavics, but I do think it’ll find its fans. Especially those who love aliens and feminism and maybe Lovecraftian weirdness. This is one I definitely recommend! Plotastic Scale: 3.25 Cover Thoughts: I live for this cover. The colors. The creepiness Thank you, Netgalley and Harlequin Teen, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Crowinator

    What. The. F***. LOVE. (view spoiler)[When Ultraviolet gets super dark, this is what happens. (hide spoiler)]

  17. 5 out of 5

    Faith Simon

    W H A T RTC

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pamela ✨I Blame Wizards✨

    As Always, Lukavics did not fail to disappoint. I really need to stop doing this to myself. Her books always have a fantastic premise which she just completely fails to deliver on. June could have been a strong character, but instead, she ended up being a rebel against everything (like personal hygiene??), instead of just the constraints of her society. That made her a poor protagonist, and one I found it impossible to connect with. Lukavics also relies far too heavily on body horror when a book As Always, Lukavics did not fail to disappoint. I really need to stop doing this to myself. Her books always have a fantastic premise which she just completely fails to deliver on. June could have been a strong character, but instead, she ended up being a rebel against everything (like personal hygiene??), instead of just the constraints of her society. That made her a poor protagonist, and one I found it impossible to connect with. Lukavics also relies far too heavily on body horror when a book like this set itself up perfectly to deal with psychological tension, rather than gore. In true Lukavics fashion, the last quarter of this book was a mess. She always seems to get so far in her narratives and then can't finish it in a satisfactory way. The plot ends up feeling disjointed and rushed. I think this might be my last attempt at Lukavics. I keep seeing potential, but she never delivers.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    The first thing to know going in is that horror is not a genre; it's a MOOD. This means that horror transcends genre and that it can work its way into any genre. So go in knowing that this is science fiction. Set in 1951, the book follows June as she's institutionalized following a mental break. The book moves in two timelines: the one in the institution and the one laying out the events that lead to June ending up there. And oh, June is a super unreliable narrator. Which makes those flashbacks The first thing to know going in is that horror is not a genre; it's a MOOD. This means that horror transcends genre and that it can work its way into any genre. So go in knowing that this is science fiction. Set in 1951, the book follows June as she's institutionalized following a mental break. The book moves in two timelines: the one in the institution and the one laying out the events that lead to June ending up there. And oh, June is a super unreliable narrator. Which makes those flashbacks and history building suspect all together. The book is confusing to navigate with all of those factors, and yet, it's that confusion that makes the book so compelling. It's impossible not to wonder what's true and what's not, as well as what might give a clear understanding of what's really going on, both in the institution and in June's life. Adding to that is the fact June likes to write fiction; it's this blending of her fiction writing with her fiction telling that leaves you wondering what the hell is going on. And it's that question that's at the heart of the entire book. What the hell is going on? (view spoiler)[ It might be aliens going on. (hide spoiler)] When I finished the book, I didn't know how I felt. But sleeping on it, I keep thinking about the clever plot points that added up to something more and the ways that Lukavics manages to discombobulate in a way that's utterly satisfying. This book is gory and bloody, and it digs into sexism and mental health in the early 1950s in a way that's frustrating, made only more frustrating because of our character. There's a note in the acknowledgements that part of this book was inspired by an interview question about what it's like to be a female horror writer. The more I think about that in conjunction with this book being about a female horror writer, the smarter and smarter it gets. This book also plays with sexuality in smart, savvy, and ways that wouldn't have been seen as appropriate during the time. June is bisexual, if we take sexuality to be about who one sleeps with; she might, however, only be romantically attractive to girls. Again, part of it is by what we see in the text, what is and isn't said, and what we take away from what June tells us to believe (view spoiler)[ the twist at the end, wherein she ends up with her institution roommate -- a girl -- and the man she was married to/supposed to be married to ends up becoming a housekeeper of sorts for them was so utterly satisfying. (hide spoiler)] . I liked this one a lot more when I finished reading it and could sit on it, and I think that's going to be the case for many others, especially those who are mired in the idea of horror being one thing and one thing only (that is, of course, one of the exact themes of the book).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tucker Almengor

    I got an ARC of this from a giveaway and never said anything about it so I got a form letter from Goodreads telling me to review it. I still haven't read it but I hope to!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I've read two other books by Amy Lukavics and have really liked both of them. I think that Amy does really good horror stories in the YA genre. Overall though, I was a bit disappointed in Nightingale. I just don't think that this was her strongest work. I think I didn't enjoy it as much because I just couldn't understand it most of the time. June is a very unreliable narrator, which wasn't a problem for me, but I just could not understand what was going on. However, not being able to figure out w I've read two other books by Amy Lukavics and have really liked both of them. I think that Amy does really good horror stories in the YA genre. Overall though, I was a bit disappointed in Nightingale. I just don't think that this was her strongest work. I think I didn't enjoy it as much because I just couldn't understand it most of the time. June is a very unreliable narrator, which wasn't a problem for me, but I just could not understand what was going on. However, not being able to figure out what was going on made me want to keep reading the book and made me think about what would happen when I wasn't reading it. I do think that Nightingale veered more towards the sci-fi genre rather than the horror genre. Even though I didn't love reading Nightingale, I still plan on reading whatever Amy comes up with next. *Book received through Netgalley*

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Ah the 1950s where everything was bright and pastel to hide the horrors of the world if you were even a little bit different. “Nightingale” tells the story of June, a young woman who dreams of doing something more with her life than what rigid standards her parents and society have planned for her but she doesn’t get far when her family finds out her plans to explore writing after high school and lands herself in an asylum following a mysterious incident, but when the doctors are straight from a Ah the 1950s where everything was bright and pastel to hide the horrors of the world if you were even a little bit different. “Nightingale” tells the story of June, a young woman who dreams of doing something more with her life than what rigid standards her parents and society have planned for her but she doesn’t get far when her family finds out her plans to explore writing after high school and lands herself in an asylum following a mysterious incident, but when the doctors are straight from a nightmare and girls start disappearing she has to work to uncover the truth about her new home before she looses herself. I’m a big fan of the unreliable narrator and when paired with a 1950s horror asylum setting it really can’t get much better so I really enjoyed seeing her rebel against the traditional roles women were expected to play in that time as she fought to make a name for herself as a writer. The entire back and forth of her mental decline and the way her family treated her was more than enough reason to have a mental break, but her imaginative nature played well with the questionable antics of the hospital if we’re to believe that what we read is actually happening or all part of her delusions. Speaking of which that entire ending sort of threw me and I really would love to hear some of the other interpretations of what we saw play out in the final moments because on one hand you can see it as a happy ending if you read it as is but for me I’m more inclined to think that it is the exact opposite based on a few lines intermixed with the rest and the overall question of sci fi vs the reality of the world in which we were shown. Overall this isn’t bad it will definitely frustrate you with the gender roles and general tone of the male counterparts in this novel but that’s to be expected given the time period and June along with the other young women we meet make up for that and again if you’re a fan of less than trustworthy narrators this might be a fun one to play with! **special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review!**

  23. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    June seems to be the perfect 1950's young lady as she's intelligent, ambitious, and well rounded. Yet her parents are not impressed and push her to be more and be better. Conflicting parents groom her to be a housemaker in the mom's eyes while being marriage material in the father's eyes. The father has the perfect guy in mind his business partner's domineering son but June refuses. June's parents commit her to an asylum where she becomes more abused and isolated at the 'Institution'. And she's not June seems to be the perfect 1950's young lady as she's intelligent, ambitious, and well rounded. Yet her parents are not impressed and push her to be more and be better. Conflicting parents groom her to be a housemaker in the mom's eyes while being marriage material in the father's eyes. The father has the perfect guy in mind his business partner's domineering son but June refuses. June's parents commit her to an asylum where she becomes more abused and isolated at the 'Institution'. And she's not alone as her roommate is also in danger. Dare not speak out or face punishment their worst fears are coming true. In order to survive she must fine a way to escape it all or be forever changed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves \u0026#x1f495; books\u0026#x1f4d6;, cats\u0026#x1f63b; and naps\u0026#x1f6cf;

    I went into NIGHTINGALE expecting a historical fiction story. Instead the book is a cross between ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST and THE STEPFORD WIVES. I interned at an over one-hundred-year-old state hospital with a history of doing lobotomies, which doctors believed could have been treatment for the mentally ill. Rosemary Kennedy’s biography talks about the devastating effects she experiences following hers. During the 1950s, “difficult” (assertive) women could be involuntarily hospitalized by I went into NIGHTINGALE expecting a historical fiction story. Instead the book is a cross between ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST and THE STEPFORD WIVES. I interned at an over one-hundred-year-old state hospital with a history of doing lobotomies, which doctors believed could have been treatment for the mentally ill. Rosemary Kennedy’s biography talks about the devastating effects she experiences following hers. During the 1950s, “difficult” (assertive) women could be involuntarily hospitalized by their fathers or husbands for indefinite periods of time. With June, the only cause for concern is that she had Capgras Delusion, usually as a component of schizophrenia but can also occur in neurological conditions. Capgras is the delusion that a close friend or relative has been replaced by a different person in body. Prior to developing the symptom she appeared typical but with different ambitions than her parents had planned. They wanted June to marry Robert, she wanted to move away and attend a writing program. When her parents discovered June’s plans, they locked her in her room for nine days, which, in my opinion, could cause a psychological break. When June arrives at the hospital she’s drugged and experiences hallucinations. Mental illness or side effect of the drugs? I assumed mental illness because readers don’t know the extent of June’s reliability or mental illness. Paranoid delusions, I assumed. Writer Amy Lukavis threw in a brief lesbian storyline with June and her roommate Eleanor, then gave Eleanor a lobotomy. With all the checks the nurses did, I would have expected them to take issue with roommates spooning, especially since people could be hospitalized for “homosexual behavior”. The bizarre ending felt more like a delusion than reality. June is released from the hospital and returns to Robert’s house where she has the power to kill with her stare. She kills her brother instead and makes Robert a manservant in a STEPFORD WIVES kinda way, then she and Eleanor fly away on a spaceship. The End. I can’t think of any reason to recommend this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Domini Phillips ~My Bookish Friends~

    Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. June Hardie is struggling to become a young woman in a typical suburban town in 1951. However, June is not a typical young woman destined to marry, have children, keep house and worship at her husbands feet. No, she is bound for greatness and she knows it. Driven to obsession she works night and day on her story. A story to set her free turned into the thing that destroys her. Now comm Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. June Hardie is struggling to become a young woman in a typical suburban town in 1951. However, June is not a typical young woman destined to marry, have children, keep house and worship at her husbands feet. No, she is bound for greatness and she knows it. Driven to obsession she works night and day on her story. A story to set her free turned into the thing that destroys her. Now commited to the Burrow Place Asylum she will find herself unknowingly moved toward her true purpose. I found June to be an interesting and fiesty heroin. I think everyone will find a little piece of her within them. The story told in the present and past tense through alternating chapters slowly fleshes out the story and the true horrors of the asylum and June's previous life. Riviting and gory. A beautiful blend of sci-fi and horror. Amy Lukavics never fails to excite.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mwinchester97

    I won a copy of Nightingale the publisher and author so thank you! Nightingale is the story of June Hardie. Set in the 1950s, June is expected to become the perfect housewife eventually. Her family discourages her dreams of being independent and being who she wants to be. When she fails to be who they want her to be and her reality changes forever she is committed to an Institution. At the Institution, she meets other women like her, including Eleanor. She soon discovers that everything is not as I won a copy of Nightingale the publisher and author so thank you! Nightingale is the story of June Hardie. Set in the 1950s, June is expected to become the perfect housewife eventually. Her family discourages her dreams of being independent and being who she wants to be. When she fails to be who they want her to be and her reality changes forever she is committed to an Institution. At the Institution, she meets other women like her, including Eleanor. She soon discovers that everything is not as it seems and that things are terrifying. She vows to figure out what is happening and how to save herself and her friends. She also tries to figure out what happened in her real life. Nightingale expresses a lot of what I consider sexism ( please correct me if I'm using the wrong terms.) It was a bit difficult to read about because June was so repressed by her family. Amy Lukavics did a good job of expressing that though. I enjoyed how independent June tried to be and how she tried to take charge of her life. Although I feel conflicted about her character as a whole. She bounced back between being straightforward and absolutely taking no s*** from people to pretending and fooling them, which I found to be like her backing down. I wish she would have been straightforwardly bad ass the whole time. I found June's story to be intriguing. If her story was written into an actual book I would read it. Nurse Joya and the doctor were truly terrifying. Nightingale had some some scenes that I feel we're meant to be horrifying but to me they came off as excessively gory. I did feel compelled to keep reading though. I wanted to know what was real and what wasn't. The ending really threw me though! I wasn't expecting that. Amy Lukavics did a wonderful job of making you feel like you were in the book. Overall I am glad that I got to read Nightingale early. It is compelling and will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eddie Generous

    Unnerving Magazine Review Listen to my interview with the author here: https://www.unnervingmagazine.com/sin... Last year, Amy Lukavics was a finalist for a Bram Stoker Award with The Ravenous. It was pretty good, fun, a little wild, certainly entertaining. If Amy Lukavics is not on the final YA Stoker ballot this year, it will be a crime. Nightingale is equal parts painfully engaging and off-the-wall nuts. The characters portrayed are realistically flawed and dated. The way it should be. Too often Unnerving Magazine Review Listen to my interview with the author here: https://www.unnervingmagazine.com/sin... Last year, Amy Lukavics was a finalist for a Bram Stoker Award with The Ravenous. It was pretty good, fun, a little wild, certainly entertaining. If Amy Lukavics is not on the final YA Stoker ballot this year, it will be a crime. Nightingale is equal parts painfully engaging and off-the-wall nuts. The characters portrayed are realistically flawed and dated. The way it should be. Too often a character built of today’s stuff creeps into tales set in different eras. June Hardie is a strong willed and focussed young woman who has what little freedom she has, stripped away for the sake atomic household molding. Steal a character’s freedom and I’m all in. What comes next is the unraveling, or an unreliable point of view stuck in a world where hallucination, possibly aliens, makes anything possible. This is a YA story that seems bent on breaking the rules itself, there’s sex, violence, and nuance buried beneath a wall of what-in-the-hell-is-going-on. Never delving too deeply into the medical history or too closely into building up ancillary characters, this thing charges at high speed, pulpy goodness all the way around. June Hardie is someone to empathize with, but also question, her tale is engaging, sad, and entertaining. Amy Lukavics killed it with one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bekka

    3.5 That was good! Not at all what I was expecting. I wish I had a deeper connection to Eleanor, the romance, the side characters. But I really liked June, the story, the atmosphere. The scares were great. Gruesome and gross and a striking, precise commentary on American culture.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bunni

    I’m not even sure what I just read and I didn’t buy into the time period at all. Daughters Unto Devils was like her only decent book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Spoilers and swearing below. So, I've just finished this book and I'm kind of sitting here, speechless. Not in awe because it was so fantastic, but it sheer confusion because I'm not sure what the fuck I just read. I've read a previous work of Amy Lukavics and found it to be interesting and terrifying. This one... I don't even know. It's not really scary, so let's just toss that genre out the window right now. Don't get me wrong I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Spoilers and swearing below. So, I've just finished this book and I'm kind of sitting here, speechless. Not in awe because it was so fantastic, but it sheer confusion because I'm not sure what the fuck I just read. I've read a previous work of Amy Lukavics and found it to be interesting and terrifying. This one... I don't even know. It's not really scary, so let's just toss that genre out the window right now. Don't get me wrong - it tries to be (and the attitude towards women in the 1950s can certainly be considered terrifying for an entirely different reason). However, instead of veering into Creepy Land, the novel does this weird zigzag into Science Fiction Land instead. And then it just goes on this strange meandering journey. I've peeked at the other reviews here on goodreads, so I'm glad to see it's not just me who is confused by the purpose of this book. It's not a bad book by any means. It's a well-written story (minus the typos I kept finding everywhere), but it just doesn't know what kind of story it wants to be.

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