This debut novel by YA author Lili Peloquin traces the path of two sisters suddenly shifted into a higher social strata of New York elite life when their mother marries a widowed rich-man after a brief dating spree.
Peloquin tries her best to infuse the novel with Gothic undertones, trying to give it a Rebecca type of feel. For all her best efforts, I felt like this book needed a very serious dose of editing. Peloquin is a fan of run-on sentences, and it was easy to lose pace with the novel getting muddled mid-sentence. The characters are somewhat stunted and 2-dimensional in regards to originality. The building suspense and mystery fizzled towards the end of the novel, and the multiple love-triangles in the novel seemed too easily resolved.
The sisters are relatable with their all their faults and positives.I think most teens will enjoy this novel. I am concerned that this book is listed for kids aged 12 and up. There is a lot of foul language, underage drinking & drug age as well as sexual tones and scenes that may not be age appropriate. As an adult, it doesn’t have carry over appeal, unlike Libba Bray’s Gothic novel: A Great & Terrible Beauty. For what its worth, I hope that teens reading this novel will be inspired to pick up the great works of literature that Peloquin notes throughout the Innocents: The Great Gatsby, Rebecca, Ominvore’s Dilemma, and a few others. Although I’d advise everyone to avoid reading Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. That book is just plain horrible.
Most of these literary books have themes that overlap with The Innocents and help frame the characters and their personalities. I felt like this book has a lot of potential. With a good editing eye to trim sentences and reduce redundancies, I think this could make for a fun Gothic series for teens. My copy is an ARC, so there were also a number of grammatical errors as well as typos. Hopefully it will all be corrected by the time this book is published.