The November Girl

The November Girl

by Lydia Kang
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Overview

The November Girl by Lydia Kang

LOCUS Magazine: A Best Book of 2017!

I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there's no one here but me. And now him.

Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I'm half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can't protect him from the storms coming for us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633758261
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Pages: 340
Sales rank: 254,968
Product dimensions: 5.42(w) x 8.22(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

HECTOR

There's a foolproof method to running away.

I know the wrong ones all too well. This time, there'll be no mistakes.

I'd left my cell phone, fully charged, duct-taped beneath a seat on a Duluth city bus. If they track it, they'll think I've never left town. Acting scared and paranoid is a giveaway. Wearing a hoodie is no good, either; they'll think I'm a criminal. With my height and my brown skin, I get enough sideways glances as it is without more advertising. Nah. I make sure the clothes I've stolen from my uncle are clean and defy gravity, instead of sagging on my hips and shoulders. I carry a hiking backpack, not a high schooler's version.

This khaki down jacket I got from the Salvation Army. It's the nasty kind only worn by grown-ups with flat, worn-out souls. And I carry my armor of pleasantness like a plastic shield, pretending it's the most normal thing in the world to board the ferry to Isle Royale on October 4, the last day it runs to the island.

I make them all believe I belong on this damned boat.

A line of people waits to board the Quest II at the dock. They're all middle-aged, with that middle-aged sag that weighs them down. The air around Lake Superior is cold, but humid and acrid from the rotting wood of the pier. The sky hangs with clouds of pale gray. It doesn't look like rain's coming, but the color paints a thin gloom, and fog skims the lake. I zip my jacket up higher.

A bald white guy calls out names for passengers, his pudgy, callused hands gripping a clipboard. His belly's softly round above his jeans. My name is fake, of course, and my fare paid in cash, to leave no trail.

"Goin' alone?" he asks, friendly-like. The gap where he's missing a canine tooth only shows when he smiles.

"No. Meeting my wife there. She works at the lodge," I say, performing lines I've carefully rehearsed. Luckily, I've got a face that could be twenty-five or fifteen, depending on my clothes. So, I'll let them think I have a real life. I've even got my dad's old wedding ring on my fourth finger, but I hate how it feels on my hand. Confining. My palms get sweaty and I shove my ringless hand into my pocket.

"Don't forget the last ferry leaves at one o'clock, tomorrow afternoon. It'll be crowded."

I nod, but my stomach dives into the center of the earth. I pray he won't notice that I'm not on it. I try to walk by, when he points to my backpack.

"Hey. Next time you come, bring a different bag, will ya?"

I shift uncomfortably, conscious of the line of people growing on the dock. "Uh, why?"

"Black bags are bad luck. They sink ships."

A passenger behind me yells through his beard, "Ignore him! Norm's superstitious. He made my wife throw away a rose I gave her. Right into the trash, because they're bad luck on boats. He won't run the ferry on Fridays. Lucky they shut down in November, too."

"Why November?" Ah, God, Hector. Shut up, shut up.

"The worst storms come in November," Norm says quietly. "There's a name for them storms, the ones that sink ships. The Witch o' November."

There's something about how he says "witch" that bothers me. Some people love to say stuff for the drama of it. But this guy glances nervously at the lake, as if it were listening.

I nod at him. "Got it. No Fridays, no flowers, no Novembers. And I'll bring my blue backpack next time," I say with a smile, though the conversation is killing me. My hands are swampy with perspiration. The boat sways beneath my feet as I walk past the other passengers. This late in the season, they're probably Isle workers helping to close up for the season. Because from tomorrow until late spring, the Isle Royale will be empty.

Except for me.

It's the perfect hideout. No one will look for a runaway on an island that's purposely deserted every winter. I've covered my tracks too well. I'll hide out here until mid-May, when I turn eighteen. And then I'll be free, and there will be no more leashes. No more living under that roof that punishes me with thoughts I can't stand.

I'm doing my uncle a favor, really. He complains about the bills, how much it costs to raise me, how the money my dad sends is never quite enough.

But it's not about the money. It's what we never talk about that chases me from that house.

I've lived with him since I was six. I know he'll report me missing when he finds out. I know that deep in his heart, he might hope I'm never found. By then, the island will be uninhabited. On Isle Royale, I'll be where I don't belong.

I'll fit right in.

The two engines of the Quest II are already rumbling, water boiling to a hissing fury by the propellers. The mooring lines are cast off and the fenders secured. I sit in my corner seat inside the boat, itching to read the maps, notes, and pamphlets I stuffed into my coat pocket. I'm not supposed to look like a tourist. My phantom wife supposedly works on the island, after all. When the force of the engine pushes me against my seat, I glance up.

Lake Superior stretches out in liquid stillness, a yawning expanse of dark water that unsettles me and makes me sweat even more. Behind us, the sparse buildings of Grand Portage shrink farther away. The black forest swallows everything as the boat pushes us forward, until there's no trace of humanity on the horizon.

For almost two hours, I fake like I'm asleep in my corner seat. It works; no one talks to me. The boat pitches up and down on the growing swells, the lake water occasionally spraying my face from one of the open windows, but I pretend I'm dead to the world. I'm hungry for sleep, but my mind is wrung too tight to relax.

I think of which part of the island I'm going to live on, how to stay warm, how to eat enough. Looking on the internet hasn't been helpful. All I know is that pit toilets and leave-no-trace camping rules abound. Isle Royale isn't exactly a popular or luxurious tourist destination. Then again, that's why I chose it as my refuge.

Finally, a cramp in my thigh forces me to sit up and change positions. The second my eyes pop open, a voice chirps nearby.

"Takin' a late vacation?"

I jump inside my skin. An older woman in head-to-toe khaki is sitting a little too close to me. There's an Isle Royale National Park logo on her coat. Shit.

"Nah. Too late. Just meeting my wife. Maybe I'll be able to spend more time next July." I swallow dryly and my heart trills. What if she looks for me on tomorrow's ferry, or asks who my wife is? What if she knows everyone on the island and catches my lie?

"That short a trip, eh? Well, not much to do now, anyway. Weather's turning." She shifts her large, square ass and motions out the window. In the distance, the dense clouds kiss the lake's surface. "You make sure you get off this island before the witch gets ya."

There we go with the witch again. What's with these people? I give her a blank look, not wanting to engage, but she takes it for a question. Great.

"You know. The November storms. Where you from?"

She stares at me in that impolite way that makes my skin crawl. I know what she sees. She's trying to guess what I am. Not who, but what. I'm some crooked puzzle piece that bothers them. Indian! No, Native? Oh, wait — Hapa, right? I have "double eyelids" that my Korean mom called sankapul. She was so proud of that little crinkle of skin. I made sure to cut my hair so the thick waves were under control. The lady studies the angles and colors of my face — pieces of my parents. I hardly recognize which parts belong to whom anymore. As if ownership ever mattered to either of them.

The lady narrows her eyes — she still can't figure me out but doesn't want to ask that question. What a relief. She tries again. "Are you from Grand Portage?"

"Oh. No, we're from ..." I can't say Duluth, which is where I'm really from. But despite practicing the lie in my head on the bus ride, my brain is all DuluthDuluthDuluth. I stutter, remembering the small town on the shore I'd picked out on the map last week. "Uh. Um. Grand Marais."

She keeps babbling on about places to visit next time I come, flashing an artificial smile of false teeth. Her upper plate keeps coming loose as she talks to me, so her S sounds are more like sh. She says things like, "Now that's a nice place to shit for a view of Duncan Bay." Normally I'd laugh, but nothing is funny now. I don't want to be chatty. I need to be ignored.

After a few minutes, I can't be polite anymore. I've taken three buses from Duluth to get to this damn boat, and I'm so close. Last thing I need is some square-assed lady committing verbal diarrhea all over me.

"Sorry. Where's the men's room?" I fake my best nauseated look and hold my stomach.

"Oh! Bathrooms are aft," she says, thrusting her thumb behind her. "We have Dramamine on board. Scope patches. Sea bands?"

I nod politely and bolt past the other passengers, who give me plenty of room to pass.

I push through the door to stand on deck. Isle Royale is in view now, with Washington Harbor yawning open a passageway for the boat. Evergreens cling to the rocky shore on either side. There are scant houses and docks as the boat turns gently to enter the bay's inlet. The water sparkles from the sun cracking through a slice in the clouds. We'll be docking at Windigo soon. I'm almost there. As I inhale to empty the stale cabin air from my lungs, something on the shore catches my eye.

It's a flash of amber, and at first I think it's just sun reflecting off the water. But it doesn't flicker like reflected light. It almost seems to glow, like the harvest moon beaming against the backdrop of dark evergreens — but it's daytime.

It's a girl, standing on the shore. She's dressed in dark colors, which is why I could only see her face at first, and now, a dab of pale hands clasped together in front of her. She stares back at me, and her face changes — subtly, like when a blink changes sunset to evening. Though she's far away, I swear she went from smiling to frowning. Or maybe it was frowning to smiling?

Something in her expression tugs at the center of me. It's a terrible feeling, and wonderful at the same time — like waking up on Christmas, and realizing that, damn, the waking up part is already over. As I squint to get a better look, the door to the inner cabin swings open and that same chatty lady steps outside. Ugh. I can't handle any more conversation. I shuffle toward the bathroom. But when I check over my shoulder for one last glimpse of the girl on the shore, the rocky beach is empty.

I try to push aside the vision of her face as I search for the bathroom. Inside, I lock the door with nervous fingers. There's a stainless steel toilet that's stained anyway, and the tiny compartment reeks of fake evergreen deodorizer and piss. The mirror is broken and divides my face on a diagonal.

The wind must be picking up, because the floor pitches me left, right, left, and waves slap the boat. I close the toilet seat and sit down, placing my bag on my lap. I unzip it. Half the space is taken by an old sleeping bag. The rest is crammed with beef jerky packets, baggies of bulk dried fruit, nuts, oatmeal, and a collapsible fishing rod I stole from Walmart when I worked there this past summer. Since my uncle took every paycheck, I couldn't spend a penny without him knowing why. I push aside the food, touching the changes of clothes, thick winter gloves (also nicked from Walmart — it was a good summer), a sewing kit, all-weather matches, a tiny enamel cooking pot and water bottle, and some bathroom stuff. Folded within a flannel shirt is a good camping knife. And inside my jeans pocket is enough money to buy me a ferry ticket in May and a bus ride to someplace that isn't Duluth. I've got the clothes on my back and the skin over my bones.

That's all I have.

I'll have to break into a few houses, maybe the park ranger's quarters. On the bus up here, I realized I'd need an ax to chop wood, but it was too late. I couldn't afford to buy one or risk stealing something that big, so I'll have to find one on the island and a place with a wood-burning stove. There will be no electricity. No phones, either. Hopefully I'll survive the five months and get out on the first ferry before anyone can find me. I zip my bag up and exit the bathroom. I can see the dock at Windigo now.

I might die before May comes. But if it happens, at least it will be on my terms. I watch, almost without blinking, as the shoreline grows closer and closer.

I'm almost there.

I'm almost free.

CHAPTER 2

ANDA

I saw him on the ferry.

Every day, I've stood at the shore to watch the disinterested ferry pass by. The passengers are always the same, their faces set with familiar expressions of anticipation, or the green bitterness of seasickness, or the blankness of one who knows the lake and the Isle so well that nothing is new. But this boy was different.

We shared the same expression. And what's worse, he could see me.

No one ever sees me at first glance. They don't care to, they don't want to, they want to but they can't. If they're searching hard enough for something, then sometimes it can happen. Father tries to explain why, but none of it matters. This boy — this boy — he saw me. Immediately. And it felt terrible, when his eyes touched my skin. I search inwardly for a similar feeling, flipping through file cards of memory. And then I find it.

Magnifying glass. Sun. Dead aspen leaf. Boring a pinhole of smoke and fire with that focused sun.

Yes. Yes, that. That is what it felt like when he saw me.

I was standing on the shore, waiting for one more day to arrive, the day that everyone would leave and the island would be mine. The bamboo-like rushes were rotting underfoot, and the juniper behind me scented the wind with its spicy notes. Grebes flew overhead, too smart to stay near me. I could feel the eagerness of the boats, wanting to get away and dock for the winter, to be safe. I knew my father paced inside our home. Anxious to leave me alone. Frightened to leave me alone.

Standing on the shore, I let the icy lake water seep into my shoes, weighing me down. I watched the passenger boat pass by, the last one that would bring anyone onto the island. And I thought, Soon. Soon, you'll all go far away. You don't want to be here when November comes.

But this boy saw me.

No one ever sees me.

Run, Anda.

I listened to her voice and ran away, terrified.

*
The next day, I sit on the floor of our small cottage, cradling the cracked weather radio in my lap. I'm impatient, fumbling with the tuning knob. Words stutter and struggle for clarity between bouts of static. Finally, I hear the automated woman's voice from the NOAA station consistently, a beacon from the battered machine.

Southwest winds ten to fifteen knots

Cloudy with a 90 percent chance of rain after midnight

I close my eyes and listen to the drumming of the truth. The rain is coming. I feel it beneath my skin and on the tip of my tongue, like a word ready to be spoken. No matter what time of the day, the words from NOAA are a comfort. They may be robotic recordings, but they're slaves to the wind and temperature, just as I am. With the radio on, I am not alone.

Areas of fog in the morning

Waves two to three feet

"Anda. You know where the spare batteries are, don't you?" My father's heavy steps creak the oak floorboards. He's pushing aside a pile of driftwood I've left in the middle of the kitchen floor, trying to open the cabinet by the stove. He shakes the box of batteries at me, and when I don't respond, he puts them back with a sigh.

I say nothing, because the weather service is buzzing in my head, and there's a warning laced in there.

Pressure is dropping rapidly

"Anda. My boat leaves soon." He strides over to where I'm sitting by the fireplace. He wishes he could come closer, but he won't. It's October. He's sensed the seasonal change that already sank its claws into me when the fall temperature fell. I push a lock of hair out of my face, and static crackles the ends of my strands. I'll have to cut it again soon.

My legs are crossed, and I'm still in my nightgown. His boots stand a precise three feet away. If I looked closer, I'd see the worn leather become jean-covered legs, then a thin and carved-out torso, as if a stiff wind had permanently bent his back years ago. He'd be unshaven and his white hair mixed with brown and occasional copper, like the agate I found broken on the lakeshore only days ago.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The November Girl"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Lydia Kang.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The November Girl 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting premise for a story. Two broken souls that try to support each other as they face their own demons. The main character is half human and half water and must cause shipwrecks (death) to continue to survive. She is a dynamic character as is Hector who is hiding out until he's eighteen to avoid his abusive uncle. While the story is well written, it didn't hold my interest and I had to keep putting it down. I would definitely read more from this author, just not this type of story.
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
When I was a young child I was super nervous and excited to get on a plane for the first time. It was like Christmas Eve and I couldn't sleep. I remember flipping through the tv channels and I ended up watching Tales From the Crypt. Big mistake. The episode featured a witch on the engine of the airplane ripping it apart. I cried myself to sleep. The next morning, I was sure our plane was going to crash and demanded that my father build a bridge from the US to Europe. Yeah, that didn't happen. The purpose of my story is to say that if you have a fear of sailing or being on any form of a ship, The November Girl could actually scare you. There is one vivid scene which will have you on the edge of your seat. Lydia Kang has used the Gordon Lightfoot song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, as inspiration to pen the tale of two souls at a critical time in their young lives. As with a lot of stories, The November Girl was born out of a myth. Anda is the November witch and feared by men. She brings storms and takes the lives of sailors. It's how she's able to sustain herself. Anda Selkirk is an enigma. She’s half human and half supernatural. As the years have passed, she has started to lose the part of her that makes her human. People see her without actually seeing her. This is until seventeen-year-old runaway Hector Williams spots her standing on the shoreline of Isle Royale. They make eye contact and then feel a weird connection. With the island being deserted, except for them, they bond and start to lean on each other. Both are fighting for their own freedom. Hector needs to hide out for the next five months until he is eighteen so that he can escape his abusive uncle. Anda is fighting to retain what little bit of humanity she has left. Nature and the elements will take these two to their breaking points. When the unthinkable happens, Anda will embrace what she is to protect what she loves. Lives will be lost but you as a reader will never look at a storm the same again. Prepare to lose yourself in an incredible story of friendship, love, and sacrifice. **Personal purchase.**
KourtniReads More than 1 year ago
True rating is 4.5/5 CW: self-harm, violence, death, child abuse When I first heard about The November Girl, I knew it was a book I needed to read. The November Girl did not disappoint at all. It ended up being a wonderfully atmospheric, mysterious, and character-driven novel. As we learn in the synopsis of the book, Anda is born with a lake for a mother and a human for a father. She’s a witch who feeds off shipwrecks. I loved her character for a lot of reasons. Not only did I love seeing her different abilities, but she was such a quirky and fascinating character. I enjoyed seeing her struggle as she grows more and more discontent with having to kill others in order to keep herself alive. Quite simply, Anda was a really well-written character and made for an excellent lead in such a character-driven novel. Another strong point of the book was the world-building. The fantasy aspects – namely, Anda being a witch and an anthropomorphized, magical lake – were not only interesting, but well-written and unique. They created a very atmospheric world that made the book that much more captivating. Kang did a great job of building a fantasy world that readers can get lost in. If you’re looking for a story that has a lot of action, it’s probably best that you skip The November Girl. As I’ve mentioned a few times, it’s a very character-focused novel. I personally loved this because I found the characters (Anda especially) so captivating and interesting. However, if you’re looking for something more action-packed, you’ll likely be disappointed. Otherwise, it’s sure to be a book you’ll enjoy. I’m not quite sure what else to say about Lydia Kang’s newest book. Put frankly, I really loved this and think other fans of fantasy and/or character-driven novels will, too. If it seems like something you’d like, I strongly recommend you pick it up! I volunteered to honestly review a complimentary copy of the book provided by the publisher.
drakenfyre More than 1 year ago
I’m not sure how to start this, since there are a few things I want to mention about this book, but just getting to a starting point is difficult. The characters Anda and Hector are both broken, but in such a perfect way for the story that I find them both relatable and loveable. Hector come from a broken home, he lives with his Uncle. He is of mixed race of Korean and African American, so growing up with his mother they both faced the looks and comments. She chose to stay in Korea and wants Hector to live with his father. Hectors father is in the military so, his father asks his brother to raise him. You get the idea that all Hectors uncle cares about is the money and not him. Hector feels the only way to deal with his anger is by self harming. Anda is a pure “wild child” who has lived on the island her entire life, and of course there is a very sound reason as to why. She is ‘The November Witch” that the people on the island talk about, but no one really knows that the Witch is an actual person, and not just an urban legend. Anda has a difficult time with her “human side” when she has her mother in her ear telling her to kill Hector, since he should not be on the island, Anda is curious and wants to know more about Hector. The whole story is told in alternating pov’s between Anda and Hector. The first half of the book is like a dance between the two of them, seeing each other, trying to talk to each other, avoiding each other, since neither one wants to be seen. After the ice is slowly breaking between the two they are almost inseparable, although there are still secrets being kept back. Hector wants to know more about Anda and why she is alone on the island, Anda wants to know why Hector ran away to hide on the island. As the story progresses, you find that Anda and Hector are more alike than opposite, since they are both children of anger and rage. By the end of the book the secrets are known and the feelings haven’t changed, Hector finds his voice and stands up for what he wants in his own life, Anda accepts her fate and seems to be ok with that. This was a wonderful stand alone book to read, and I found it was a nice break from all the series I’ve been trying to get caught up on. I was also happy to see that my assumption about Anda was wrong and that she wasn’t the mythical creature I thought she was.
BlotsofInk More than 1 year ago
Uhhhhhhhhh this book definitely isn't for everyone. I have many feelings about this book. I'm not sure of where to stand on whether I really liked this book or whether... this book didn't appeal to me as much as I expected. That doesn't mean that it's bad! I'm sure a lot of people will be in love with the mystical concept and atmospheric writing, but of course this book definitely won't appeal to.. a lot of people. I enjoyed this book, but also I was debating whether to give it three or four stars. (And noooo I will never use half-stars in my life.) First, I absolutely adored this writing. It was prose-like and gave wonderful descriptions of everything, and I was really transported into this story. I would love to read more of Lydia Kang's writing! However, it would be great if there was more action. However, there was hardly any plot. I feel like this is one of those slice-of-life stories where you kind of just... watch them as they go about their lives. It was interesting enough to keep me engaged, but I feel that it wasn't exactly... completely action-ridden. There really wasn't any action except for the romance, I suppose? Which I was mostly fine with! I enjoy romance, but I really like it when there are other plots involved. The concept! Anda is the daughter of a lake and a human. At the start of the book, she isn't really in touch with her emotions and her "human side" but as she meets Hector, she starts to develop romantic feelings for him. And as she starts to develop these romantic feelings, she starts "becoming more human." For example, she starts getting hunger; before, she didn't have the need to eat. The concept of this book was actually fantastically done! I just feel that the plot moved extremely slow and built everything really carefully. The romance isn't my favorite ship, but I'm fine with it. Honestly? I feel like this romance... was mediocre. I wasn't screaming at the pages for them to finally be together or anything, but the romance didn't bother me. Tbh I feel like I would've been totally content if they had only remained platonic friends. Overall I enjoyed this book! It's not my favorite, but it will definitely appeal to a certain reader and not some others. Also, thank you so much to Entangled for sending me a review copy of this book!
BlotsofInk More than 1 year ago
Uhhhhhhhhh this book definitely isn't for everyone. I have many feelings about this book. I'm not sure of where to stand on whether I really liked this book or whether... this book didn't appeal to me as much as I expected. That doesn't mean that it's bad! I'm sure a lot of people will be in love with the mystical concept and atmospheric writing, but of course this book definitely won't appeal to.. a lot of people. I enjoyed this book, but also I was debating whether to give it three or four stars. (And noooo I will never use half-stars in my life.) First, I absolutely adored this writing. It was prose-like and gave wonderful descriptions of everything, and I was really transported into this story. I would love to read more of Lydia Kang's writing! However, it would be great if there was more action. However, there was hardly any plot. I feel like this is one of those slice-of-life stories where you kind of just... watch them as they go about their lives. It was interesting enough to keep me engaged, but I feel that it wasn't exactly... completely action-ridden. There really wasn't any action except for the romance, I suppose? Which I was mostly fine with! I enjoy romance, but I really like it when there are other plots involved. The concept! Anda is the daughter of a lake and a human. At the start of the book, she isn't really in touch with her emotions and her "human side" but as she meets Hector, she starts to develop romantic feelings for him. And as she starts to develop these romantic feelings, she starts "becoming more human." For example, she starts getting hunger; before, she didn't have the need to eat. The concept of this book was actually fantastically done! I just feel that the plot moved extremely slow and built everything really carefully. The romance isn't my favorite ship, but I'm fine with it. Honestly? I feel like this romance... was mediocre. I wasn't screaming at the pages for them to finally be together or anything, but the romance didn't bother me. Tbh I feel like I would've been totally content if they had only remained platonic friends. Overall I enjoyed this book! It's not my favorite, but it will definitely appeal to a certain reader and not some others. Also, thank you so much to Entangled for sending me a review copy of this book!
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
The November Girl is a beautifully written novel that was touching, unexpected, and magical. Lydia Kang's writing is wonderfully atmospheric, painting the world in vivid and stunning detail. This magical realism story is definitely darker and creepier than I was expecting but I loved where the story went. I struggled a bit to connect with Anda and Hector at the beginning, but I was cheering for them by the end. Every November, Anda is able to unleash her true nature, no longer confined to hiding from the humans who would never understand her. The seasonally deserted Isle Royale is her playground, the place made inhabitable by the November storms that Anda creates. Hector is running away from the violence and insidious abuse that permeates every aspect of his life. When he decides to hide on Isle Royale, he may end up changing the course of both their lives. When I first started reading this book, I was slightly worried that it would end up being a tale about Hector saving Anda. And it is that story. However, it's also the story of Anda saving Hector. Most importantly, The November Girl is ultimately the story of Hector and Anda saving themselves. I loved the self-determination present in this novel, it elevated this story above other YA novels I've read lately. While I did struggle to connect with the characters at the beginning, I slowly fell in love with both of these beautifully flawed souls. In particular, I applaud the author for how sensitively she handled Hector's past. Additionally, I loved that Anda didn't have to hide who she was from Hector. This book was definitely slower paced so if you're looking for a novel with constant action, this may not be for you. However, the pacing works beautifully with the atmosphere. I felt as if I could see the shipwrecks and feel the storms. The stillness of the island focused the reader's attention on Anda and Hector's interactions. Tentative at first, their relationship develops into something beautiful. Plus, the ending was just absolute perfection. The November Girl was the perfect fall read. This beautifully written standalone novel was full of storms, magic, and friendship. I would recommend to fans of magical realism who are looking for a slightly darker read. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Samantha05 More than 1 year ago
Anda lives on an island on Lake Superior. For most of the year, she’s there with her father, trying to play a role of a normal person. But when November comes, she can’t ignore her calling to create storms and sink ships, just like her mother and her sisters, already part of the water. Usually, she’s alone during November, her father taken leave to the main land, but this time, a boy named Hector is hiding on the island as well. Hector ran away from a terrible life to hide out until his 18th birthday. When the two meet, sparks fly, but nothing can stop the incoming storm. Ever since the synopsis was released, I’ve been so excited for Lydia Kang’s THE NOVEMBER GIRL. From the gorgeous cover to the chill-inducing summary, this is a story unlike anything I’ve read before. The premise is completely fascinating. Anda is half-human, half-magical (for lack of a better term). It’s sort of a mixture of water/storm elemental magic and Ursula from The Little Mermaid. A large theme of this novel is what it means to have two different parts of yourself and how isolating that can sometimes feel when people around you expect you to be (or choose) one side or the other. While the plot drags a little at parts, the slow build up between Hector and Anda is lovely. They come from two different worlds, but they have so much in common. Their relationship is a nice mixture of sweetness, angst, sexual tension, and a few solid comic relief moments. Kang does a phenomenal job of making their stakes seem impossible to overcome, and you’ll be flipping the pages as fast as possible towards the end to see if they can overcome them or not. THE NOVEMBER GIRL is a weird (in the best way), magical novel that sings with romance, heartache, and the difficult journey of making your own path.
Arys More than 1 year ago
November Girl by Lydia Kang was an interesting YA novel. Anda and Hector are both complex characters that take a while to really get a hold of and I think Ms. Kang did that purposely so that you can find them and learn about them as you go, adding to the mystery. There is a lot of love/hate internally with these characters and when they interact more and more details about them and come out as they learn about each other and the world. A big part of November Girl for me was really the writing and setting. The novel felt like it was presented in a somewhat detached way but was very descriptive. I felt a lot of dark, grey and cloudy while reading it. Overall I recommend November Girl by Lydia Kang if you are looking for interesting YA book that is a lot deeper than what first meets the eye. That makes you think and is complex. (I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Review Written By Amber@ Step into A Book World on Wordpress. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. November Girl by Lydia Kang was a breathtaking novel to read. It was truly a unique, dark, and creepy story for those who are like myself who are always game for a little darkness in their books. Lydia Kang’s writing will draw you into this story and it will run rampant through your mind like a summer storm even after you set the book down. November Girl is told from two POVs of the main characters Hector and Anda. These characters came alive off of the page thanks to Kang’s wonderful style of writing. They were captivating and realistic. I wanted to know everything about them. The first character is Hector a 17-year-old who runs to Isle Royale, a deserted island in the middle of Lake Superior, to hide out until he turns 18. When he turns 18 he won't be required to return to his family home.  He doesn't expect to see anyone on the island when the last boat leaves because of the storms rumored to plaque the island around that time of year, but then he sees Anda and everything changes. The next character Anda is a weather witch and half-human. She is described as the November storm that shuts down her island Isle Royale every winter. She can control the lake, and the legends surrounding her states, the majority of ships that sink in November is all because of her. The deaths of sailors is what helps keep Isle Royale alive. Each and every year the island evacuates in October leaving Anda completely alone on the island with no one else to interact with. All in all this was a riveting book that I would recommend for those seeking magic, compelling characters, and an a chilling adventure. The only negative I found was how the love between Anda and Hector felt forced in some part and I didn't really feel the connection between them so, I couldn’t connect to it. The characters on their own were developed wonderfully but I wanting to see more passion in the love between them.