[PDF / Epub] ☆ Saint X Author Alexis Schaitkin – Islecook.co.uk
3.5 STARS It all started on a fictional island called Saint X So much is going on in this story, I m surprised it wasn t as long as it felt Sometimes I enjoy detailed descriptive writing, BUT at times this felt too slow with uneven pacing that had me getting frustrated Maybe I was expecting a fast paced thriller suspense Not happening here.A slow burn for sure, with a focus on obsession, lies and the psyche of the leading characters At times it read like a movie and I was pulled into the events happening, but some chapters were repetitive and I became very distracted with too much information being given and that took away from the overall pace for me yes, TMII thought the end worked well and I couldn t stop reading the last chapters No interruptions please I had to know the conclusion to the murder mystery It wasn t the ending I predicted.A mixed bag for me Complex, with many layers There is much to discuss and I wish I would have done a buddy read.If you enjoy exploring the psyche of characters with a focus on grief drama, this one may work well for you Thanks to the publisher for my review copy This one is out in February 2020. Before I begin my review I would first like to ask everyone to stand for a slow clap in reverence for Celadon Books The new voices they are presenting to the literary world are beyond compare I ve no doubt that all of my friends on Goodreads Island of Misfit Readers has AT LEAST one of their authors books on their Best of 2019 list.So, kudos Celadon, you ve made mine and many others year in books among the best yet.Ahem, ok here we goSimply stated, Alexis Schaitkin was born to be a writer Schaitkin chose to open up this story using a third person objective POV and it was a phenomenal choice I felt like a literal fly on the wall as I took my first taste of the characters in Saint X.From there I have somewhat bipolar feelings about this story I loved the seamless weaving of the multiple plotlines along with the random chapters featuring POV s from peripheral characters However, I didn t care for any of the characters themselves I never felt any real affection or aversion towards any of them I loved that the author chose to build a fictional island for this story I had no trouble picturing the resort with it s privileged clientele and the surrounding destitution just beyond it s lily white walls However, I was lulled to sleep by the over descriptive world building when it came to the NYC scenes Maybe if you re a New Yorker this would appeal to you but for me it was relentless drivel.For me, the most affecting part of this story isn t the grief or obsession that is at the heart of the story It is the underlying messages about race and privilege.I saw myself in the thoughts and actions of this overindulged white family Things I ve said and done in an attempt to show how woke I am only succeeded in showing my complete and utter ignorance Schaitkin has given me an entirely new perspective and shaken and changed me in a profound way Isn t that what great writing is supposed to do I recieved an ARC and some cool island swag from Celadon All opinions are my own. Claire Is Only Seven Years Old When Her College Age Sister, Alison, Disappears On The Last Night Of Their Family Vacation At A Resort On The Caribbean Island Of Saint X Several Days Later, Alison S Body Is Found In A Remote Spot On A Nearby Cay, And Two Local Men Employees At The Resort Are Arrested But The Evidence Is Slim, The Timeline Against It, And The Men Are Soon Released The Story Turns Into National Tabloid News, A Lurid Mystery That Will Go Unsolved For Claire And Her Parents, There Is Only The Return Home To Broken LivesYears Later, Claire Is Living And Working In New York City When A Brief But Fateful Encounter Brings Her Together With Clive Richardson, One Of The Men Originally Suspected Of Murdering Her Sister It Is A Moment That Sets Claire On An Obsessive Pursuit Of The Truth Not Only To Find Out What Happened The Night Of Alison S Death But Also To Answer The Elusive Question Who Exactly Was Her Sister At Seven, Claire Had Been Barely Old Enough To Know Her A Beautiful, Changeable, Provocative Girl Of Eighteen At A Turbulent Moment Of Identity FormationAs Claire Doggedly Shadows Clive, Hoping To Gain His Trust, Waiting For The Slip That Will Reveal The Truth, An Unlikely Attachment Develops Between Them, Two People Whose Lives Were Forever Marked By The Same Tragedy Wow It was impressive It was unique It was different Well, I have never been a great fan of anything slow burn but this brilliant author achieved amazing job and attracted my attention with the detailed, objective, photographic depictions and perfectly rounded characterization This book is not a big mystery about unsolved case of a young woman s dying This is also not only about obsession of the sister she left behind or the grief of whole family recently changed their residents and trying their best to move on with their lives This story is mostly about racism, class differences and privileges The story telling captivates you and you just enjoy yourself to get lost in author s long, meaningful sentences First she takes us to non exist tropical by showing us photographic, impeccably visualized details and make you believe that island and its rich visitors are real And of course don t forget to get your thickest coat and free your mind about the dirtiness, too much crowd, being hauled or bumped by several people because she also takes us a trip to show the realistic parts of New York definitely found my New York at those pages In the middle of 1990 s, the family s vacation at a spectacular tropical island doesn t end well as they expected Their 18 year old girl Allison is missing A famous actor and his girlfriend accidentally find her corpse in the waters of Faraway Cay The police interrogate several people including blond boy hanged out several times with Allison and they couldn t find any proper motive and let him go so this event turns into a local mystery that has never been solved Allison s little sister only seven watches every move of her sister during their holiday as like she is the responsible one She doesn t care Allison promises her pineapples, shells or stars, she just want to have time with her One night, she falls asleep and when she wakes up she finds out that her sister will never come back So the story moves to the present time We meet grown up Claire, living in the city never sleeps, trying to make her ends meet One day she climbs into a cab and as soon as she finds out cab driver s name Clive Richardson, her entire life changes because the guy is the very same blond boy who has been questioned and released during their holiday Claire obsession takes control of her to find out what happened to her sister What I truly like about this book WRITING WRITING WRITING Photographic, detailed, objective depictions It questions the unfairness of privileges and inequality between rich and poor, races What I didn t like about the book Both of the girls were so annoying for me Allison in the past and Claire in the present I want to slap them or scream their face Get a life They were privileged pretentious spoiled girls that I really detest so of course I had really hard time to connect with them And about the ending Of course it is not what I expected But surprisingly I liked the conclusion I know most of the readers won t agree with me but I always enjoy to get a few steps behind an author s brilliance, especially when it comes to solve a mystery or revealing a secret, big ugly truth Overall Even though I hate the guts of the characters and fantasized to punch them 24 7, this book is promising, very good written, highly anticipated, successful debut Special thanks to Netgalley and Celadon Books to share this one of the most anticipated books of 2020 s ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review And I truly congratulate Alexis Schaitkin with her brilliant debut novel. 4.5 starsOoh, this was a good one The book is being compared to Emma Cline s The Girls, and Lauren Groff s Fates and Furies, and since I haven t read either of those books, I have no idea if that is a fair comparison or not While reading this book though I kept getting Celeste Ng vibes to the story so if you like that author, I recommend reading Saint X.During a family vacation on the Caribbean island of Saint X, college student, Alison, goes missing A few days later her body is found and two male resort employees are arrested It s a huge story in the United States and the mystery deepens when the men are released because the evidence against them is flimsy Alison s seven year old sister, Claire, and her parents return home, heartbroken and devastated Years later, Claire wants answers as to what exactly happened the night of her sister s death I went a bit light on my synopsis because I almost think the publisher s synopsis gives away too much Such a significant part of the story is Claire and her desire to learn about her sister and everything that happened on the island and I feel like as a reader you need to watch everything unfold naturally in order to get the most out of the book There s obviously a mystery element to the story but that part was almost secondary to me as Claire herself was the driving force The aftermath of her sister s death and how it affected Claire and her family was the heart of the story for me However, what makes this book special is the fact that each reader might cling to something different from the story The author does show the perspectives from time to time of other characters and without getting into spoilers, some readers might find the strength of the story to be in the chapters towards the end of the book There s lots of themes the author explores and the fact this is her debut novel is rather impressive It s good people, I highly recommend checking this one out Thank you to Celadon Books for sending me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review This book BOOK CLUB GOLD There is so much to chew on and discuss here that book clubs across the globe will be talking about this book come February Claire is only 7 years old while vacationing with her family on the tropical island of Saint X Claire is a quiet child, some may even say a bit odd, but one thing is for certain Claire and her big sister Alison share a tight bond She admires Alison s beauty, her wit, her intelligence, the way that she lights up a room, the way people gravitate toward her These are all things she feels she lacks herself so on a pedestal of her own making Alison goes Alison on the other hand worries that the shy Claire is too vulnerable for this big bad world and likes to keep her under her wing On the last evening of their vacation Alison doesn t come home A search is initiated and after several weeks her body is discovered in the waters of Faraway Cay Two of the resort workers, Edwin and Clive, that Alison became chummy with, are questioned but are released due to lack of evidence No one has ever been charged and this will go down as a local mystery that makes national headlines In the present day Claire finds herself making a living in NYC One day when she flags down a cab she notices upon exiting that the cab drivers name is Clive Richardson He was one of the young men at the resort that was questioned and released Claire becomes obsessed with insinuating herself into his life determined to find out what happened to Alison once and for all The Claire looks into the past she is beginning to discover that the Alison she remembers is not who Alison actually was Being as she was only 7 she saw the 18 year old Alison as a shining star but it turns out that may not be the case and this unsettles her I ll be honest and tell you that I didn t really like Alison or the adult Claire very much As we get to know Alison she comes across as self righteous and bratty She resents her lovely and loving parents so much that I found it off putting I just wanted to scream in my kindle YOU SPOILED LITTLE BRAT Rich vs Poor Black vs White These themes run the entirety of the novel The ending will have people talking I m sure Personally, I didn t mind it but others may not like it As I turned the final page I was surprised to discover that the person who stole my heart wasn t who I thought it was going to be when I opened this book up Alexis Schaitkin, I bow to you You can spin a tale like no other The atmosphere she creates is truly incredible I felt as if I had been transported to the beaches of Saint X and the streets of NYC while I was reading and that is a sign of phenomenal writing skills This may also be the downfall of this book as well It starts to get overly descriptive to the point that I would skim paragraphs just so I could return to the storytelling but, hey, if that s my only gripe then I m a happy reader Also, I can t forget to mention that cover is eye candy 4 stars One final note Celadon, keep up the great work You have quickly become one of my favorite publishers Thank you to Edelweiss and Celadon for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. Saint X is a strange book It has so many long, wordy, overly done passages, in my opinion, that my will to keep reading was taxed But behind that too much was a story that I could not put down I enjoyed the character study aspect of the book, despite that the main character, Claire, and her older sister, Alison, were so unlikable I wanted to know what happened to Alison and that is what kept me going, even though portions of the book were a slogfest I think this speaks to how much I enjoyed the parts of the book that I did enjoy Seven year old Claire, her parents, and her eighteen year old sister are on a winter vacation to the island of Saint X Beautiful, popular Alison has so much going for her, everything really, but she s so unhappy with it, so miserable with her good fortune, that she seems determined to muck it up by breaking up with her longtime boyfriend that she loves, drinking and smoking with the two young men who work at the resort where the family stays, sneaking out at night, sneaking off during the day, flirting and teasing a male visitor and all the while, seeing everything through a lens of disdain and disgust As the book goes on, and we are seeing so much through Claire s eyes, I realize that Alison s attitude has rubbed off on Claire, in the saddest of ways Claire wasn t beautiful or popular and was a bit strange but she seemed to feel the same disdain for everyone and everything around her This is a story of how much Alison s life and especially her death, affected so many people, even people who didn t know her or barely knew her For a long time Claire was able to set aside the mystery of Alison s death but when she is twenty five, she enters a taxi and the driver is one of the two resort workers, both who were suspects briefly, of the murder of Alison This starts Claire on a path of total obsession with this man, an obsession which destroys her not very happy life This book is dark and dreary and sad so I was surprised by how the ending became something good and hopeful It could have been a quick read if not for the places that bogged me down like quicksand I know not everyone will enjoy this book but I did, despite the drawback of wordiness Thank you to Celadon Books Macmillan and Edelweiss for this ARC. Many thanks to Celadon Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest reviewHello, my name is Tucker and I read a book I did not like that book but unfortunately, I do not have enough thoughts to write a proper review so prepare yourself for my favorite type of review to write A gif review Me when I started this book with Miranda Me when I started to realize I wasn t enjoying this as much as I hoped Me trying to tell myself I was enjoying this book Me when the twist was revealed But in the end, this was how I felt about the gorgeous writing style Me when I found out that Miranda didn t like it either Me when I finally finished this book yikes 2.5 stars I think my favorite part of working with Celadon is the creative and enjoyable unique swag that comes with the ARCp.s those glasses didn t come with the ARC they re from my uncle s breweryBuddy read with the one and only Miranda Reads Goodreads Blog Pinterest LinkedIn YouTube Instagram 2.5 stars Did you ever wish something terrible would happen to you so the world could see how strong you areAlison was always the star of the family beautiful, brilliant and absolutely perfect and Claire idolized her.But one Caribbean vacation on the island of Saint X later, their family of four became a family of three.Even though Claire was only seven, that memory was burned into her mind Their voices, though still friendly on the surface, have a coldness to them No, she tells herself She is just imagining it. Her sister s body was found washed up on the beach and Claire s life was forever changed.And now that Claire is older and has moved out, gotten the job and has checked off the hundred other adult things she should be doing she just can t let Alison goYou can t bring the stars Why not You can t carry them I ll bring whatever I wantAnd then one day, Claire runs into Clive one of the men who was accused of killing her sister And right then and there, Claire decides to NOT let this opportunity pass her by any longer The winter, these nights, this man it stretched on and on I could see no end in sight. So I loved the premise of this one I think that was really, really well done I thought Claire and the elusive Alison made an interesting set of characters You learn about Alison through interviews, tapes and Claire s memories, which then gives you an idea of who Claire truly is.I was intrigued by Claire s mission to solve her sister s murder and when Clive came onto the page my pulse quickened. And then, just as quickly, it went back to normal This is one of those books where early on you realize that you meandera lot And sometimes, I absolutely LOVE that and makes the book one of my favoritesand sometimes it just doesn t work With thanks to the author and the publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.All quotes come from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication.YouTube Blog Instagram Twitter Snapchat miranda.reads Thought Provoking Saint X is a fascinating character study that explores familial relationships, the boundaries of friendship, racial divide, and class privilege through the death of an 18 year old girl on an exclusive Caribbean island resort Saint X is the story of Alison Thomas a beautiful, witty and privileged 18 year old girl who is found dead on an island during her family s vacation in the 1990s Claire, her seven year old sister, is now an only child Two native islanders are accused of Allison s murder Fast forward Claire is now 25 years old and haunted by her sister s death A random encounter puts her in the presence of one of the men accused of her sister s murder Claire becomes obsessed with this man She lives to find out about the truth about what happened to her sister one fateful night so long ago Obsession leads to self reflection and a startling truth about Claire s own life.The narrative, told primarily in the third person, focuses on Alison, Claire, Clive Richardson, The Island of Saint X, and the people who call the island home Schaitkin takes a multi genre approach seamlessly blending these stories with interviews, autopsy reports, diaries, etc Saint X made for an interesting reading experience I didn t love the characters, but I found Schaitkin s writing style hypnotic I felt as if I were in a trance while reading this The pace is slow but compelling enough to keep one reading Themes of class, race, sexuality, and privilege amongst others had me constantly thinking This is a book that I am going to remember Saint X is an impressive debut novel, and I can t wait to see what Shaitkin writes next.Thank you to Jaime Novan at Celadon Books for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.