Saint X
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 lives.Years 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 formation.As 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.

Saint X Details

TitleSaint X
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 18th, 2020
PublisherCeladon Books
ISBN-139781250219596
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Suspense, Adult, Adult Fiction, Audiobook

Saint X Review

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    "That night, Claire is awakened by the sound of a key rattling in the lock. As she surfaces from dreams, she watches the door to the hotel room open. Her sister tiptoes across the room and slides into bed. In the morning Claire wakes at dawn to find her sister's bed empty. She is on the balcony, her eyes fixed on something in the distance. It seems her sister is hardly sleeping at all."The problem with reading a book and putting off writing the review for weeks is that the small details begin to "That night, Claire is awakened by the sound of a key rattling in the lock. As she surfaces from dreams, she watches the door to the hotel room open. Her sister tiptoes across the room and slides into bed. In the morning Claire wakes at dawn to find her sister's bed empty. She is on the balcony, her eyes fixed on something in the distance. It seems her sister is hardly sleeping at all."The problem with reading a book and putting off writing the review for weeks is that the small details begin to fade, but Saint X is the type of read that requires deep thought and pondering before discussing. I'm still not sure I can do a review of this book justice, as it is so many aspects put into one cohesive timeline. Part true crime style mystery, part delayed coming of age, Saint X provides a suspenseful investigation coupled with self discovery of the protagonist.This was an eye-opening glance at how deep the ties between race and privilege run. The author did a fantastic job of creating a unique narrative while touching on themes as old as time, and bringing attention to just how far America, and us privileged folks in general, needs to progress. The pacing is very slow and detailed, which works well for this type of story, but is told in such a riveting voice. This isn't a thriller per se, but it does take on a few of the qualities that fans of psychological suspense find appealing. If you're interested in other recent literary fiction novels featuring social justice discussions, such as American Dirt, please consider giving your time to this worthy story as well.*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
    more
  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 more 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.
    more
  • Miranda Reads
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars Did you ever wish something terrible would happen to you so the world could see how strong you are? Alison 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 2.5 stars Did you ever wish something terrible would happen to you so the world could see how strong you are? Alison 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 go. "You can't bring the stars.""Why not?""You can't carry them.""I'll bring whatever I want." And 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 meander...a lot. And sometimes, I absolutely LOVE that and makes the book one of my favorites...and 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
    more
  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    Thought-ProvokingSaint 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 Thought-ProvokingSaint 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.
    more
  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    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 go..._____________________Simply stated, Alexis 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 go..._____________________Simply 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. *
    more
  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    If you are looking for a fast paced crime or thriller read, then I would advise you to steer clear of Alexis Schaitkin's remarkable slow and considered character driven debut, a tantalising, acutely observed study of grief, loss, class, race, family, privilege, memory and obsession. 18 year old American Alison Thomas is holidaying with her family, her parents and 7 year old sister, Claire, on the fictional Caribbean island, Saint X, with its friendly locals, staying at The Indigo Bay Resort. The If you are looking for a fast paced crime or thriller read, then I would advise you to steer clear of Alexis Schaitkin's remarkable slow and considered character driven debut, a tantalising, acutely observed study of grief, loss, class, race, family, privilege, memory and obsession. 18 year old American Alison Thomas is holidaying with her family, her parents and 7 year old sister, Claire, on the fictional Caribbean island, Saint X, with its friendly locals, staying at The Indigo Bay Resort. The apparently confident, beautiful, athletic and flirtatious Alison goes missing, only for her body to turn up on a beach later. Two locals, Clive Richardson and Edwin Hastie, are arrested but with insufficient evidence, they are released and the mystery of Alison's death remains a mystery through the years.The young Claire was close to Alison, her lovely sister was everything she wanted to be, she and her parents lives were left indelibly fractured and broken, with the tragedy of what happened to Alison receiving intense media attention in the US. The consequences led to the family moving from New York to Pasadena, California and in Claire's use of the name Emily. Many years later in New York, the 25 year old Claire coincidentally bumps into Clive. She has never been able to forget and let go of her beloved sister, haunted by her death, so she follows Clive, her desperate obsession driven by her need to know the truth and perhaps more pertinently her desire to get to know who exactly Alison was. As it soon becomes clear that there was far more to Alison than her limited childhood memories had led her to believe, Claire becomes disturbed by what she discovers.Schaitkin writes a thought provoking novel, beautifully written, with heavy rich descriptions, although there are occasional jarring notes, essentially about the wide ranging repercussions on a surprisingly large number of people of Alison's death. The effects of grief and loss run so deep in her family, particularly the young Claire who grows up unable to ever get over losing her sister, which in turn leads to the unforeseen consequences later of her decision to enter Clive's life. This is a compulsive read, with themes that had me immersed in this impressive and memorable debut. Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 more 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.
    more
  • Katie B
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 more 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!
    more
  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*This book reminded me so much of the Natalie Holloway tragedy that I couldn't move beyond it to truly embrace the story-line.Alison is a young, beautiful teenage girl on vacation with her parents and younger sister on the tropical paradise island of Saint X. Their lodging is an exclusive five-star resort where everything they could possibly want is brought right to them. Sounds like heaven, right? So when Allison vanishes, this beautiful island vacation quickly spirals into a nightmare.The 3.5*This book reminded me so much of the Natalie Holloway tragedy that I couldn't move beyond it to truly embrace the story-line.Alison is a young, beautiful teenage girl on vacation with her parents and younger sister on the tropical paradise island of Saint X. Their lodging is an exclusive five-star resort where everything they could possibly want is brought right to them. Sounds like heaven, right? So when Allison vanishes, this beautiful island vacation quickly spirals into a nightmare.The story-line follows the younger sister Claire years later as she moves forward in her life. And she’s making great strides. Until that fateful day she crossed paths with a man she recognizes as one of the boys employed at the resort all those many years ago when her sister vanished. This sighting re-ignites Claires’ memories, and now becomes an obsession to find the truth!I wish I could say I enjoyed this more, but it just fell short. The pace seemed to crawl along. It’s a short book but felt like it was a good hundred pages longer than it actually was. There are many fabulous five-star reviews for this book, so perhaps I just wasn’t the right reader.A buddy read with Susanne!Thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss and Celadon books for an ARC to read and review.
    more
  • marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    Publication Date: February 18, 2020Saint 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 Publication Date: February 18, 2020Saint 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. 
    more
  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    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: 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
    more
  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    Claire is seven years old when her older sister, Alison goes missing on the last evening of the Caribbean vacation on the island of Saint X. Days later, Alison's body is found but with no concrete evidence, the local authorities could not hold anyone (two employees of the resort whom she was last seen with) accountable for her death and the mystery of her death will remain unsolved.Many years later, Claire, who now goes by her middle name, is living in NYC and has a chance encounter with Clive Claire is seven years old when her older sister, Alison goes missing on the last evening of the Caribbean vacation on the island of Saint X. Days later, Alison's body is found but with no concrete evidence, the local authorities could not hold anyone (two employees of the resort whom she was last seen with) accountable for her death and the mystery of her death will remain unsolved.Many years later, Claire, who now goes by her middle name, is living in NYC and has a chance encounter with Clive Richardson, one of the men her sister was last seen with and was initially suspected of killing her. This begins her obsessive search for answers. What really happened that tragic night? Who (if anyone) is responsible for Alison's death? Will Claire ever get closure?For me, the premise was extremely intriguing. I had high hopes for this book and although it does provide food for thought, I found this book to be overly descriptive and wordy at times. SLOW BURN says it all. Not all the characters are likable, but they are interesting. I enjoyed how Claire came to learn that she didn't know her sister as well as she thought she did. This was an interesting part. She knew her sister thorough her innocent 7-year-old eyes but learns more about her much later, through her sisters’ journals. Another interesting part of the book, for me, was the small sections about how Alison's death affected others - those who knew her and those who only saw her at the resort.I have found that I enjoy the book more upon reflection on it than I did while reading it. Again, too slow and wordy for me. I found myself struggling with this in the beginning and even though I found my footing with it, I found myself reaching for other books and putting this one down.Enjoyable but had me wanting more.I received a copy of this book from Celadon Books in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
    more
  • Lindsay - Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    3 stars.College student, Alison Thomas, is found dead after disappearing while on vacation with her parents at a prestigious tropical resort. Two employees of the resort are taken in for questioning but released due to lack of evidence. This story follows the aftermath of Alison’s death showing multiple characters perspectives of the impact Alison’s death held on them.The flow and narration of this novel is extremely unique. I was intrigued by how this story was unfolding for the majority of the 3 stars.College student, Alison Thomas, is found dead after disappearing while on vacation with her parents at a prestigious tropical resort. Two employees of the resort are taken in for questioning but released due to lack of evidence. This story follows the aftermath of Alison’s death showing multiple characters perspectives of the impact Alison’s death held on them.The flow and narration of this novel is extremely unique. I was intrigued by how this story was unfolding for the majority of the book, but closer to the end it became overdone and drawn out. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into multiple characters lives and views, however, I did find a lot of the detail to those side stories unnecessary and repetitive. The narrative became too wordy and overly descriptive which took away from my enjoyment. I did enjoy the feel of suspense throughout that kept me curious until the end. Overall, I did enjoy the book and found it to be a unique reading experience, just not as gripping or impactful as I had hoped. Thank you to Celadon Books for my review copy!
    more
  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
    more
  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    Allison-"I'm going on a treasure hunt and I'm bringing a pearl".Claire-"I'm going on a treasure hunt and I'm bringing a pearl and a pizza".Yearly, the Thomas family visit a different Caribbean island for a week long stay, in order to recharge. They take a break from winter in New York. The Indigo Bay Resort on the island of Saint X is this year's choice. Mr. Thomas arguably "...wears his affluence tastefully...describes their life as a 'fortunate life'." Eighteen year old Allison is freckled and Allison-"I'm going on a treasure hunt and I'm bringing a pearl".Claire-"I'm going on a treasure hunt and I'm bringing a pearl and a pizza".Yearly, the Thomas family visit a different Caribbean island for a week long stay, in order to recharge. They take a break from winter in New York. The Indigo Bay Resort on the island of Saint X is this year's choice. Mr. Thomas arguably "...wears his affluence tastefully...describes their life as a 'fortunate life'." Eighteen year old Allison is freckled and has russet hair. She is lithe, athletic, and is seemingly self assured. Her "moodiness carries a whiff of moral judgement...newer still is this sighing dismissiveness ." Eleven years her junior, Claire has placed Allison on a pedestal. Allison plays volleyball, Claire watches. She takes a walk,"...silently Claire follows her...she does not know how to 'buddy up' for a week". Claire has a compulsion. "...I would hear a word, and it would feel absolutely necessary to write it in the air...".Two resort workers, in particular, serve the family poolside food and drinks. Edwin is a skinny chatterbox while Clive, aka Gogo, is heavyset and clutzy. They are good friends. Allison flirts with Edwin, Gogo as well as a blond haired college boy. Nightly, she sneaks out of the room she shares with Claire. Tomorrow, the family will head back to New York. Allison wants her last night to be memorable.Word spreads through Indigo Bay, "Did you hear? The pretty girl with the auburn hair is missing?" According to Claire, "I thought...that [Allison] was playing an elaborate game with us...it was not Allison's disappearance but my parents' terror that terrified me." The island police, creating a timeline of Allison's disappearance, focus on Edwin and Gogo, the last ones seen with her. Evidence is insufficient. Within a few days, Allison's body is found in the cay. Her mysterious death might go unsolved.Life needed to go on. "The victims of tragedies almost always depart, sooner or later. Everybody in our small suburbs knew what had happened to us." We made people "uncomfortable" wherever we went. The Thomas family moved to Pasadena, California. Claire decided, from that day on, she would go by her middle name, Emily. "If Allison had not died 'there was another life I might have been living, in which I was not Emily of Pasadena, but Claire." Would Claire ever be able to "channel" Allison, a sister she was "barely old enough to know?"In "Saint X", debut author Alexis Schaitkin creates a Caribbean island to be visited by affluent vacationers. "How can people be willing to live in a place...[with] the perpetual potential for destruction...[by hurricane]?" A case of the haves vs. the have-nots! "The people...[are] simply very friendly. It is their culture, the warm and open way of people on a small island." Author Schaitkin's writing style masterfully evokes the "feel" of an island resort.Is Allison knowable? Different voices and different perspectives, especially Claire's, show us a college student outwardly groomed for success, but perhaps inwardly, not so much. Although the novel is a little bogged down in descriptive passages, it was an excellent read. I look forward to reading future works by Alexis Schaitkin.Thank you Celadon Books for an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Paige
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars "By late morning, a mother and fathers faith that their child will turn up any moment has given way to terror." While on vacation on Saint X, the body of young Alison is found dead. Several years later, her younger sister Claire is determined to find out what really happened to her sister Alison.The first 36 pages are truly hard to get through because of the descriptions. These pages focus on what the island was like during the family's vacation on Saint X, and it was a tedious 36 3.5 stars "By late morning, a mother and fathers faith that their child will turn up any moment has given way to terror." While on vacation on Saint X, the body of young Alison is found dead. Several years later, her younger sister Claire is determined to find out what really happened to her sister Alison.The first 36 pages are truly hard to get through because of the descriptions. These pages focus on what the island was like during the family's vacation on Saint X, and it was a tedious 36 pages that felt like 360 pages. But, if you can get through that...it gets better and the story takes off, though it does still contain countless descriptions and stories within stories throughout the novel. I started to get into the night Alison was killed, and continued reading. I was invested regardless of the wordy paragraphs and side-stories. I had to know what happened to Alison, how all the stories being revealed were connected, and find out the truth. "She was what all the dead are: whatever the living make them." The characters are what boosted this rating above a 3 star for me. If you decide to read this, I encourage you not to skim...though you might be tempted because of the extraneous elements. The insights and voices of the characters are worthwhile and perceptive. Most of the characters were not likable, yet their observations were penetrating, intuitive, and emotionally charged. "Are the things out the van window poverty, or just people living their lives?" Thank you to Celadon books for an advanced read copy. Opinions are my own.
    more
  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    3.25 StarsA missing teenage girl’s body found washed ashore the beach on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Was it an accident, murder or death by suicide? For the family who went to Saint X on vacation, no answers are found and no peace is given. Eighteen year old Alison will never take another breath. Claire was seven years old when her sister Alison washed ashore on Saint X. Now, Eighteen herself, going by the name Emily, living in New York City, there is never a day that goes by that Emily 3.25 StarsA missing teenage girl’s body found washed ashore the beach on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Was it an accident, murder or death by suicide? For the family who went to Saint X on vacation, no answers are found and no peace is given. Eighteen year old Alison will never take another breath. Claire was seven years old when her sister Alison washed ashore on Saint X. Now, Eighteen herself, going by the name Emily, living in New York City, there is never a day that goes by that Emily doesn’t think of her sister and what happened. Of the boys that Alison went off with during her vacation night after night and of who might have been responsible. Then Emily gets into a cab and has a flash of recognition. A plan falls into place and nothing else matters. Told both in flashbacks to Alison and Claire’s vacation in Saint X and in the present day, with Emily’s life in New York City, “Saint X” is a character study, a true crime novel and a thriller all rolled into one. “Saint X” is extremely descriptive and at times the pacing is quite slow. While some of the descriptions of the sand, the water, the falls, etc., swept me away, some are a bit too lengthy for me. That said, my favorite parts of “Saint X” are those in which Claire/Emily interacts with others or where we get to know Alison, specifically: 1) the flashbacks in where Alison and Claire spent time together and we could see how much they loved each other; 2) Alison’s diary entries (which Emily read in present day); and 3) Emily’s encounters in NYC with someone from the past (no spoilers!) (which is a huge part of this novel). Though the novel has strengths and weaknesses, the character development is by far its greatest strength. Knowing that this is only Alexis Schaitkin’s debut novel, I look forward to seeing what she comes out with next. This was a buddy read with Kaceey - one that gave us both much to talk about. Thank you to Celadon Books for the arc to read and review.Published on Goodreads on 1.25.20.
    more
  • Jayme
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded up“When you gain the truth, what do you lose?” Sunshine Sandcastles SistersGONEGRIEFThis book was described as GRIPPING, but despite some beautiful, lyrical writing at times, it got bogged down by details in other places, leaving me to feel like I had read a book that was much longer than it actually was...(only 320 pages)Alison, vanishes on the last night of a family vacation, from the fictional Caribbean Island of Saint X. Though, sweet with her little sister, Claire, we 3.5 stars rounded up“When you gain the truth, what do you lose?” Sunshine Sandcastles SistersGONEGRIEFThis book was described as GRIPPING, but despite some beautiful, lyrical writing at times, it got bogged down by details in other places, leaving me to feel like I had read a book that was much longer than it actually was...(only 320 pages)Alison, vanishes on the last night of a family vacation, from the fictional Caribbean Island of Saint X. Though, sweet with her little sister, Claire, we learn that Alison is no Saint, when she sneaks out at night. Reminiscent of the Natalee Holloway case, but not a story about the investigation into Alison’s death.It’s the story about how Claire (now going by her middle name, Emily) gets into a taxi cab in New York City, years later and recognizes the name of the driver as being the same name of one of the suspects in her sister’s case-Clive Richardson. Could it possibly be the same man? Emily becomes obsessed with finding out the truth.The chapters are LONG which slows down the pace, and we as readers are privy to learning about how many of the lives of the other visitors to the Island during that time, were affected by this tragedy, at the end of each chapter, by hearing from them personally, though their observations are not common knowledge to any of the other characters. But, mostly it is a character study of both Claire (Emily) and Clive, and how Alison’s last night alive, COMPLETELY alters their lives moving forward. I LOVED the premise.I APPRECIATED the story, especially after sleeping on it so I could process my thoughts.But, I cannot actually say that I ENJOYED the book...it was easy to set down.Perhaps, it is best to read it that way, in small doses.....you may enjoy it more if you aren’t trying to read it in a sitting or two..Thank you to Edelweiss, Alexis Schaitkin, and the wonderful Celadon books, for the digital ARC I was granted in exchange for a candid review! This book will be released on Feb. 18, 2020.
    more
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsThis is going to be a very controversial book in that it will generate a lot of disparate feelings and lots of discussion. It's not your old school crime thriller/whodunnit by any means. (I wish I could have been warned prior to reading about the pace of solving the crime. It's certainly not the books fault, but the very fast moving beginning put me in the wrong headspace for what I was to expect from the rest of the book so it took work to pull me out.) It is a true, 21st century 4 starsThis is going to be a very controversial book in that it will generate a lot of disparate feelings and lots of discussion. It's not your old school crime thriller/whodunnit by any means. (I wish I could have been warned prior to reading about the pace of solving the crime. It's certainly not the books fault, but the very fast moving beginning put me in the wrong headspace for what I was to expect from the rest of the book so it took work to pull me out.) It is a true, 21st century millennial work that is genre bending, unique in it's voice, it's structure and pacing. There are no likeable characters, and there is a lot of walking and watching. (I mean a lot of walking and watching.) However, overall, the parts that work THEY WORK. Let's discuss:Let's start with the good:- The first 70 pages and the last 60 pages are the brilliant bookends that make this book a 4 star read. - The writing is whip smart and thought provoking - class, socioeconomic status, race...it's all there. My book friend Michelle wrote that 'this is book club gold' and she is completely right.- The way Alison's death reverberates with every person she touched and those who witnessed her last days is genius in how it was depicted.The challenges:- I started skimming bits of the NYC sections. For a 340 page book, it got a little too descriptive for me and made it feel tedious at times. - If character likeability is your thing, you might struggle.- An ambigious ending, which can work for some and not for others. While you might be confused and think, "This is the worst endorsement of a book ever, Michelle", I promise that this is something that I'm really glad I read. I think it really helped me mature as a reader. The author's acknowledgments gave insight into what the inspiration was for writing this and I think that really brought it home for me. I CANNOT WAIT to see what Alexis Schaitkin comes up with next. I will be writing to Celadon begging for an advanced copy because I'm so impressed by this being a debut. I am extremely grateful and so appreciative to Celadon Books and Alexis Schaitkin for sending me a copy of Saint X to read and provide an honest review. Celadon Books has easily become one of my favorite publishers this year. I have loved everything I have read by them and appreciated their deliberate choices in what they publish.Review Date: 11/14/19Publication Date: 02/18/20
    more
  • Bkwmlee
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsA family of 4 goes on a trip to the island of Saint X, but tragically, only 3 return. A beautiful teenager on the cusp of womanhood goes missing, her body later found in the depths of the sea, her death a mystery. Two men accused of a murder, arrested but later released due to lack of evidence. Strangers who happened to be on the same island at the time, who had only a few brief interactions with the deceased, yet their lives are changed forever. Decades later, a chance encounter 4.5 starsA family of 4 goes on a trip to the island of Saint X, but tragically, only 3 return. A beautiful teenager on the cusp of womanhood goes missing, her body later found in the depths of the sea, her death a mystery. Two men accused of a murder, arrested but later released due to lack of evidence. Strangers who happened to be on the same island at the time, who had only a few brief interactions with the deceased, yet their lives are changed forever. Decades later, a chance encounter between a young woman wanting to find out the truth behind her sister’s death and a middle-aged man formerly accused in the case, turns into an obsession — two people whose lives are forever intertwined as a result of what happened on that island so many years ago. This is the premise of Alexis Schaitkin’s debut mystery thriller novel Saint X , the name of a fictitious island in the Caribbean where the rich and privileged go to have a good time. On the surface, this may sound like a murder mystery with the ultimate objective being uncovering the truth and pursuing justice....but the story is so much more complicated than that. Truth be told, this is not your typical crime thriller-themed novel in the sense that the themes it explores run deep — grief, obsession, family, sisterly devotion, class, privilege, the pursuit of the truth, etc. The mystery surrounding the death of Alison Thomas is a main focus of the story, yet at the same time, it can also be said that the story isn’t really about her death, but rather, the aftermath of it — specifically the far-reaching impact that her death and the events leading up to it has on all the characters. This was one of those books where, once I started reading, I found it very hard to stop. It wasn’t just the compelling plot that held my attention, but also the writing, which was lyrical and descriptive, but not overly so. One of the things that impressed me the most about the writing were the lush descriptions of Saint X and what life was like on the islands, descriptions that felt so realistic to me that I was absolutely shocked when I found out from the Author’s Note at the end of the book that Saint X was not a real place. I also appreciated the way the story was structured, with the narrative alternating between Alison’s sister Claire and one of the men once suspected to have been involved in Alison’s death, Clive Richardson — aside from that though, there were also perspectives from other characters interspersed throughout that, despite being very brief, were effective in giving further insight on the impact of those events.I don’t want to say too much more, as I don’t want to ruin the story for those interested in reading this one. However, I will say this — if you’re looking for a book that is unique, inventive, and different from the typical thriller, but still possesses a highly propulsive, captivating plot, I would definitely recommend picking this one up. I would not be the least bit surprised if this book were to become a hugely popular read when it comes out next year (in February 2020)! Received ARC from Celadon Books as part of Early Reader program.
    more
  • Brenda -Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Some books are just meant to be discussed and Saint X is one of them. It is a book club gem with so much to talk about. Celadon Books gifted the Traveling Sisters copies of this book club gem to read and discuss in our group. Overall we struggled with the wordiness of the book that distracted us from the story, however, by reading it in a group, each of us picked up on different things and brought them to the discussion. Saint X is a detailed character study with a mystery layered in. It's a Some books are just meant to be discussed and Saint X is one of them. It is a book club gem with so much to talk about. Celadon Books gifted the Traveling Sisters copies of this book club gem to read and discuss in our group. Overall we struggled with the wordiness of the book that distracted us from the story, however, by reading it in a group, each of us picked up on different things and brought them to the discussion. Saint X is a detailed character study with a mystery layered in. It's a slow burn and takes some patience here with just how wordy it is. The story is told through a few different characters with each bringing some details to the mystery. There is a bit of dancing around there and I struggled with keeping my reading groove going. For this busy reader, it slowed down the story for me and I lost some patience. I wasn't sure what to pay attention to or not, however, the thing is every detail adds to the study of the character here. This is where our discussion became valuable as I picked up on some different things that I missed in the "dancing details." The real strength of the story here for me is the two settings used in the story. The luxury resort adds complex and complicated dynamics here with the characters as themes of class, race and obsession are explored. I loved how that added tension to the serene atmosphere of the island. Now I have to admit I am getting a little tired with the whole "privilege” storylines out there that are starting to feel a bit stereotyped to me. Well here is this story Alexis Schaitkin takes a look through the setting of the beautiful and serene luxury resort, and we see "different people" brought together who are not so different but who are people living their lives. They are bonded together by a tragedy that takes place on the island and then they go back to living their daily lives as they deal with the tragedy in different ways. The ending didn't come together as well as I hoped it would with one of the reveals that felt it was used for shock value, however that was not how all the Traveling Sisters felt. For them, they didn't see it as shock value. I suggest giving this a try and see where you fall with the ending. I especially recommend for Group reads.For Norma, Lindsay and my review you can find them on our bloghttps://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/2...
    more
  • Jon Nakapalau
    January 1, 1970
    This book reminded me of The Pledge by Friedrich Dürrenmatt: it is razor sharp and forces you to walk a tightrope over justice and obsession. Claire is a seven year old girl when her older sister (Alison) disappears on a family vacation taken on the Caribbean island of Saint X. She is found dead a short time later - two resort employees are initially arrested, only to be released due to lack of evidence. Years pass - then Claire has a chance encounter with one of the men who was initially This book reminded me of The Pledge by Friedrich Dürrenmatt: it is razor sharp and forces you to walk a tightrope over justice and obsession. Claire is a seven year old girl when her older sister (Alison) disappears on a family vacation taken on the Caribbean island of Saint X. She is found dead a short time later - two resort employees are initially arrested, only to be released due to lack of evidence. Years pass - then Claire has a chance encounter with one of the men who was initially arrested: looking into the abyss it looks back at her - and soon all the questions become pieces of a puzzle that was was never 'cut' into the right pieces. Alexis Shaitkin's debut novel is scary good - she is on my 'reading radar' from now on!
    more
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    [3.5] Saint X pulled me in immediately. It opens with a privileged family's Caribbean vacation that turns nightmarish when Alison, the college-aged daughter, is found dead. Unfortunately, most of the novel, about Alison's sister's search for "the truth" feels as languid as a beach vacation. I often fell asleep while reading it - but I was intrigued enough to keep coming back to it. The dense, middle pages are filled with memories and backstory about Alison and veer into a character study of [3.5] Saint X pulled me in immediately. It opens with a privileged family's Caribbean vacation that turns nightmarish when Alison, the college-aged daughter, is found dead. Unfortunately, most of the novel, about Alison's sister's search for "the truth" feels as languid as a beach vacation. I often fell asleep while reading it - but I was intrigued enough to keep coming back to it. The dense, middle pages are filled with memories and backstory about Alison and veer into a character study of Clive, a hotel worker whose life was changed by the police investigation. Finally, the last 75 pages grabbed me again and I was wide awake until the end. This is an ambitious, uneven novel with big themes about class and privilege that feels like a debut. With patience, it is a rewarding read.Thank you to Celadon Books and MacMillan Publishers for the ARC.
    more
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    Claire’s older sister, Alison, disappears while on vacation on the stunning island of Saint X. Her body is found a few days later, and two men are charged. There’s not enough evidence to hold the men, so they are let go. The murder remains unsolved afterwards.Claire is now an adult living in NYC when she crosses paths with Clive Richardson, one of the suspects in her sister’s murder. From then on, Claire decides she has to know the truth, and she is determined to get it from Clive. In the Claire’s older sister, Alison, disappears while on vacation on the stunning island of Saint X. Her body is found a few days later, and two men are charged. There’s not enough evidence to hold the men, so they are let go. The murder remains unsolved afterwards.Claire is now an adult living in NYC when she crosses paths with Clive Richardson, one of the suspects in her sister’s murder. From then on, Claire decides she has to know the truth, and she is determined to get it from Clive. In the process, she becomes attached to him.Saint X is a powerful and emotionally-charged story. It plays on all your emotions, and I love that. There are multiple important themes here and so much for readers to discuss. In this book we come to know Allison as the different characters’ voices offer insights about her, and we search for the truth right alongside her sister who mourns her loss. It’s beautiful, it’s tense, and it’s definitely a book not-to-be-missed!I received a gifted copy from the publisher.Many of my reviews can also be found on instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
    more
  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    January 1, 1970
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/Saint X is the story about a family of four who goes on their annual Christmastime holiday to a tropical destination and return to their lives in New York City with only three members. More particularly . . . . What is known about the night Alison disappeared: At approximately 8 p.m. she met the blond boy by the swimming pool, a fact confirmed by an elderly security guard named Harold Moses. They went to the staff parking lot and Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/Saint X is the story about a family of four who goes on their annual Christmastime holiday to a tropical destination and return to their lives in New York City with only three members. More particularly . . . . What is known about the night Alison disappeared: At approximately 8 p.m. she met the blond boy by the swimming pool, a fact confirmed by an elderly security guard named Harold Moses. They went to the staff parking lot and smoked a joint together. At 8:30 p.m., the boy arrived at the hotel bar without Alison. At approximately 10:15 p.m., Alison returned to the parking lot, where Edwin Hastie and Clive Richardson picked her up in Edwin’s car, a 1980 Vauxhall Astra, eggplant in color, and the three of them drove across the island to the Basin. They spent two hours at a local watering hole called Paulette’s Place, where my sister was seen with the two men, smoking pot and drinking rum and dancing. Several patrons at Paulette’s Place confirm that she departed with the men at approximately 12:45 a.m. At 1:30 a.m., a police officer named Roy Cannadine pulled the Vauxhall Astra over on Mayfair Road for erratic driving. Only Clive and Edwin were inside . . . . I know it’s against the “rules” to quote from a not-yet-published book, so please note the above may change/not even be in the final version, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the pink elephant in the room that is automatically going to make many readers' minds go to . . . . And that is absolutely okay because obviously the jumping off point of this book is truly “ripped from the headlines” – just don’t expect the end product to be some Nancy Grace titillating twisty turny over-the-top type of thriller. If that’s what you’re looking for, there’s a solid chance you will end up becoming a “wrongreader” like so many others (myself included – times infinity, sadly). Same goes for . . . . For readers of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. First, because I’ve never read Fates and Furies so I have no clue (but it did receive a lot of stinky ratings from my friends), and second because THE GIRLS???? That thing was a turd and it is nothing like this. Nope. This is the story about the people affected most by the disappearance/presumed death of Alison – even years and years and years after the fact. It’s a story about how one event can change lives forever. It’s about grief, and a bit about obsession (but again, not in some sort of tabloid television type of way). And if you really feel the need to compare it to another author? Make that author be Ivy Pochoda because if you like the way she delivers a story there’s a good chance you’ll like this too. The blurb is right about the ending, though. It comes out of left field and makes you have some unexpected feels. For those looking for shock and awe? Readjust your expectations and give it a go because this is real good. ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!!
    January 1, 1970
    Emotionally-charged, descriptive & powerful!SAINT X by ALEXIS SCHAITKIN is a slow burn psychological tale that often meanders. It has quite the interesting and fascinating premise though but didn’t always possess my full attention. I think this is my very first book that I found myself wanting to skim as I was getting a little impatient at getting to the climax of the novel. The pacing was extremely slow at times and I definitely got a little bit annoyed with all the extremely wordy and long Emotionally-charged, descriptive & powerful!SAINT X by ALEXIS SCHAITKIN is a slow burn psychological tale that often meanders. It has quite the interesting and fascinating premise though but didn’t always possess my full attention. I think this is my very first book that I found myself wanting to skim as I was getting a little impatient at getting to the climax of the novel. The pacing was extremely slow at times and I definitely got a little bit annoyed with all the extremely wordy and long passages. The writing in itself though was quite lyrical and beautiful but it wasn’t quite enough to make this a thrilling or exciting book for me to read. I was interested and engaged enough though that I needed to know how the story ended.ALEXIS SCHAITKIN delivers quite the interesting character study, thought-provoking, powerful and well-written story here that had extremely long chapters, was a little bit overly descriptive and dense to make this a fully enjoyable novel for me. I think the author totally excelled with how exceptionally well-developed and portrayed these mostly unlikeable characters were though. I also thoroughly enjoyed the true crime atmosphere to the storyline and loved how we got an inside look into how all the pertinent characters were affected by this tragedy at the end of each chapter.Expected on sale date: February 18, 2020* This was a Traveling Sisters read Norma’s Stats:Cover: Love this beautiful cover!Title: Intriguing, effective, and a fitting representation to storyline.Writing/Prose: Well-written, lyrical, beautiful, wordy, and overly descriptive.Plot: Interesting, thought-provoking, emotional, powerful, meandering, and a little monotonous at times.Ending: Hmmmm, I’m not exactly sure what I think of this ending. Did it give me all the answers? I think so. Did it satisfy me fully and do I really care? Not really.Overall: I think there is definitely lots to talk about with this one and I think the reading experience would have been so much better if I had read this in a group environment. I think it would make a great book club book. Would recommend it!I received a gifted copy from the publisher as well as a digital ARC through NetGalley.This review can also be found on Two Sisters Lost in a Coulee Reading book blog:https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com/
    more
  • Mackenzi
    January 1, 1970
    I am well on my way to reading everything Reese Witherspoon recommends.
  • Nursebookie
    January 1, 1970
    Saint X by Alexis SchaitkinThis is an incredible debut novel by Alexis Schaitkin, a master storyteller. Schaitkin weaved successfully the multiple point of views in telling this story, a deeply harrowing story of how people’s lives were affected by a mysterious death of a young woman vacationing with her family in the Caribbean Island of Saint X. The story centers around Claire who was only seven at the time when her sister Alison disappeared and days later was found dead. Two men were Saint X by Alexis SchaitkinThis is an incredible debut novel by Alexis Schaitkin, a master storyteller. Schaitkin weaved successfully the multiple point of views in telling this story, a deeply harrowing story of how people’s lives were affected by a mysterious death of a young woman vacationing with her family in the Caribbean Island of Saint X. The story centers around Claire who was only seven at the time when her sister Alison disappeared and days later was found dead. Two men were questioned but soon released for lack of evidence. Alison’s death affected the family so much that they had to move and start new to Pasadena, California. Many years later, Claire finds a job in New York and as fate would have it, takes a cab driven by Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. Claire obsessed with finding the truth about her sisters’ death and in the pursuit starts to learn the truth about her who her sister really was and how Alison’s death affected much more than just their family. Schaitkin’s brilliance was her writing style that I loved on how the prose and descriptions brings you into the story and to the characters’ most intimate thoughts. The detail made for a wonderful audio experience as well. The psychological perspective of those that have gone through a tragic death was spot on. The difficulties of how life just seems to stands still, the difficulty of moving on and finding that closure were all addressed so beautifully in this story. The ending for me was emotionally charged and powerful. One of my most favorite conclusions that I have read. I highly recommend this book for the thought provoking issues that were addressed such as race, wealth, and privilege to name a few. This was a well written book that I highly enjoyed very much and one that I would recommend to read!
    more
  • Elle Rudy
    January 1, 1970
    This has been one of my most anticipated 2020 releases for quite a while! The cover is what first drew me in, but the blurb is what hooked me. (Somehow I was able to win a raffle for a physical ARC of this on BookishFirst and like a week later get my several-months-pending request approved on Netgalley for a digital copy as well. I don’t know what higher power decreed that I must read this, but she seems very powerful and I am loath to disobey her.)In the winter of 1995 we meet the Thomas This has been one of my most anticipated 2020 releases for quite a while! The cover is what first drew me in, but the blurb is what hooked me. (Somehow I was able to win a raffle for a physical ARC of this on BookishFirst and like a week later get my several-months-pending request approved on Netgalley for a digital copy as well. I don’t know what higher power decreed that I must read this, but she seems very powerful and I am loath to disobey her.)In the winter of 1995 we meet the Thomas family, consisting of Alison, Claire and their parents on a family vacation in the Caribbean. Very quickly you get a feel for the family dynamics and mood of the trip. There’s a significant age gap between the sisters, the family comes from wealth and privilege, etc. Their parents act as most people who can afford luxury resort holidays do: searching for a vague sense of ‘authenticity’, but unwilling and unable to accept accommodation less than they’re accustomed to. When Alison disappears and is discovered several days later, there’s an added layer of outrage. This type of thing just doesn’t happen to people like them. To girls like Alison.But it feels like that’s all we hear about, doesn’t it? Perhaps I’m not the only one who noticed several beats of this story line up with some we’ve heard before. The first one that comes to mind is Natalee Holloway—missing 18 year-old American girl, one white & two non-white suspects, Caribbean island vacation—but there’s one huge difference so far: (view spoiler)[a body (hide spoiler)]. The Natalee Holloway case is one of the most dissected investigations I can remember being flashed all over television, and with some of the fewest concrete answers. That’s the one thing I wanted going into this book, more than the Aruban shoulder shrug we got with her.Though it’s a little more complicated than that, as it turns out. This isn’t the story of a hard-fought battle for justice against some deranged killer. That’s probably where some other reviews were marked down a star; this is a novel, not a thriller. It’s built on the back of a mystery, but that’s not the route that Alexis Schaitkin decides to pursue. There’s an examination of trauma and how we respond to sudden loss. A lot of time is spent with coping and deciding if a person can really ‘start over’. We see how media narratives twist and bend someone else’s misfortune to fit whatever bill they’re trying to sell. People project themselves onto tragic figures and they immortalize them in ways that are different from how they really were.One of the subjects Schaitkin scrutinizes well is how race, privilege and prejudice can cast people into roles they don’t align with. You just can’t divorce one from the other in cases like this. One victim in one tragedy can ripple out and create new ones. The author doesn’t shy away from the unfairness of it all, she leans into it. In the same breath a victim can be scrutinized and blamed for her own death, but her alleged assailant can be villainized to the point where you are expecting to see him with fangs and horns. If you’re wondering if there’s some sort of conclusion, if the initial question is resolved, I’d say yes, at least in the ways that matter. There’s a lot left unsaid and seemingly unfinished, but that’s intentional. Not much in life gets a perfectly plotted ending where you have some touching last words, drive off into the sunset or solve the problem to immense personal satisfaction. “With the truth we will do what, become what? And in gaining the truth, what do we lose?”*Thanks to Celadon Books, BookishFirst & Netgalley for advance copies!
    more
  • Chelsey
    January 1, 1970
    (rounded up!)Claire’s life is defined by a vacation when she was a young girl and her sister was murdered, found in the bottom of a lagoon on a small island near their resort. As an adult, Claire has moved away from home to NYC where she has tried creating a life for herself. However, when she takes a cab one day and realizes it’s the gentleman accused (and proclaimed innocent) of her sister’s murder, Clive, her entire world comes crashing down. Claire alters her entire existence to find out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (rounded up!)Claire’s life is defined by a vacation when she was a young girl and her sister was murdered, found in the bottom of a lagoon on a small island near their resort. As an adult, Claire has moved away from home to NYC where she has tried creating a life for herself. However, when she takes a cab one day and realizes it’s the gentleman accused (and proclaimed innocent) of her sister’s murder, Clive, her entire world comes crashing down. Claire alters her entire existence to find out more about her sister’s unexplained death. For months, Claire follows Clive seeking clues in his behaviors and routines that will convince her that he killed her sister. “You see a mug shot on TV and think, ‘Him? But he has such a kind face. But his eyes are so gentle.’ Nannies drown children they cared for lovingly for years. Perfect couples become a husband who shot a wife. We see so little of people. We forget how much submerged darkness there is around us at every moment. We forget until we are forced to remember.”In an attempt to learn the truth, Claire strikes an unlikely friendship with Clive. At the same time, she delves into the mysteries of her sister by listening to diary tapes Alison had created during the last few years of her life. Clive’s kindness and underlying sadness causes Claire to question her long-held beliefs of the man while Alison’s self absorption and judgment alters Claire’s idolization of her sister. “In my parents’ version, Alison was buffed like a piece of sea glass, her edges and points worn away over time yielding to a pleasing smoothness.”Will Claire learn the truth? If she does, can the truth bring her peace?I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down. The writing was exceptional (power through the first chapter written in present tense!!!) and I loved the various platforms and narrators used to convey the story. The characters were extremely well developed and it was effortless to form connections. Thank you to BookishFirst and Celadon Books for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. I look forward to more work by this talented author.
    more
Write a review