The November Girl

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Nov 2017

Member Reviews

I enjoyed this one but it was definitely different.  I'm not sure what I was expecting going in and maybe that is the approach everyone should take as Kang has created a very unique story that is not only beautifully written but also kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next for these characters.  If you are looking for something that is out of the ordinary, consider checking this one out.
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It was an enjoyable read, with great characters and an interesting concept.
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I absolutely loved this book! The writing is poetic, original and robust. The characters are unique and the plot is also something I have never read before. I don’t think you understand, I read so much it is rare for me to find a book that actually feels fresh and new. Lydia Kang did it for me. This book is dark and twisty and whimsical all at the same time. It is bold and tortured and I am pretty sure it was made just for me.  I would definitely recommend this one, just be aware there is a lot of heavy content so I would suggest only older teens and adults.
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This book was absolutely fantastic!
I loved the story behind it, the characters were so well done. Can't wait to read more by this author
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'The November Girl' is a truly original young adult novel unlike anything I've read before. The description had me eager to read this book and the world that the author wove inside its pages was magical. She brought it to life with detailed descriptions and vivid imagery - I felt like I was right on the island with Anda and Hector. The main characters - Anda and Hector - were fantastic. They were different in so many ways, but they were also the same in a lot of respects. They complemented one another and it made their connection intriguing. I liked watching their relationship grow and change throughout the story. It's basically the heart of the book itself, when it comes down to it.

Another thing I want to mention is the author's choice of writing style. The story is told in the first person, in Anda and Hector's perspectives, in alternating chapters. I am a huge fan of the first person POV and was so happy the author decided to use it for this story. I absolutely loved getting to know both Hector and Anda on a personal level throughout the novel. We get to really see inside their hearts and minds, and I think that's a really special connection for the reader to share with a narrator. It made them both feel more realistic to me and easier to identify with from the start.

I do have to admit that I was quite confused for a large part of the story. I couldn't (and still kind of can't) wrap my mind around who or what Anda is supposed to be. The descriptions of her are fantastic, but it wasn't enough to give me a finite definition of her character. I know that might not make sense, but if you read the book I think you'll understand. Because of this confusion on my part, the overall plot was a bit unclear as well. Overall, the story made sense and I could easily follow the story line. The story was well written and full of details and interesting happenings with both Anda and Hector. Other than my confusion about Anda, I really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it for readers looking for something fresh and completely different than anything else out there.
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I was so intrigued by the premise here, the concept of Anda and what Hector is dealing with. However, this fell flat. I felt like I turned up in the middle of this book. As if the first part, where I really get to know these characters, where I would have learned to care about them, was left out. I wanted more from the two points of view. I wanted to know these characters more, empathize with them, but I never knew enough to empathize with Anda and then Hector’s story seemed truncated.
The writing was also something I had difficulty with. It was almost too atmospheric and it put me off, it pulled me out of a story that calls to be written with a touch of the dramatic, a sense of mist rising off a lake. The writing felt almost overdone, as if the author couldn’t grasp what it wanted to do.
For having such a great premise, a unique take on water spirits and a promise of an original fantasy and an adept hand at dealing with abuse, self harm, and more, The November Girl disappointed me and felt plotless and unmoored.
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The November Girl was a haunting and mesmerizing novel. If you are looking for a unique and romantic YA book involving magical realism, then I would definitely recommend this book! My only complaint is that it was a bit slow at times. The characters were incredibly complex, I adored getting to read about them. Also the writing was so atmospheric. I cannot recommend this enough!
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Gorgeous and haunting. The ending was ambiguous but hopeful.
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The November Girl by Lydia Kang was a truly unique and masterfully will written story. It really got my in the feels!  

The story was beautiful, the writing, beautiful and the descriptions... out of the world! I could see myself there, on the island. It was, I can't even being to tell you how much I love this book! Written in split POV (one of my fav) I got to see into the minds and heats of Hector and Anda. It gave you a better understanding of their feelings, apprehensions, and it helped me connect. 

There is so much I can say, but at the same time it's hard because telling you anything will spoil this timely love story. So though this review is short, I covered what I wanted to see, to convoy my feelings that you need to read this book. You will fully understand what I'm talking about, one you get your hand on this so to be classic. 

Happy Reading

-E.A. Walsh
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I will update this when my full review goes live on my blog. This book was insanity. I always felt like I was going to get lost of confused by the utter craziness that was going on but I didn't and that surprised me. I usually don't like magical realism books but this one had a more paranormal element to it plus a romance that kept me entranced. 

4.5 stars
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Book Review
Title: The November Girl
Author: Lydia Kang
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Thriller
Rating: ****
Review: This is the first Lydia Kang book I have read but I have heard many good things about the Control duology (if that’s what it’s called) so the opening chapter of the November Girl was interesting. We meet Hector who is running away from an overbearing uncle although there seems to be more going on than we are privy to. He is running to Isle Royale which will be deserted for the winter and therefore the perfect place to hide until his 18th birthday, however, while on the ferry to the Isle he catches a glimpse of a strange girl standing on the shore and the superstition and rumours surrounding the November witch have him slightly on edge and possibly imagining things. However, in the next chapter we meet Anda, who is staying with her father on the Isle, but he must leave her behind in November as she is part of the lake, whatever that means. When Hector arrives on the Isle he sees her again and though she runs away from him, he is resigned to the fact he will be sharing the Isle for a little while, however, given the way Anda speaks about herself, he may be in more danger on the Isle than he realises. 
There is also a very mysterious element of the novel in the form of an unknown person only referred to as her, she is a voice Anda hears inside her head and this voice is telling Anda to get rid of the boy before November comes or she will deal with him. We soon learn the kind of life that Hector wants to leave behind, and it is one that haunts him every night in his dreams, although he does make a schoolboy mistake when he leaves his supplies unattended and they get raided by a fox but there seems to be something more dangerous at work on the island. While both are on the island, their interactions with each other are short and shouty most of the time but they show each other small kindnesses. When Anda can now longer contain the power within her and gives into the storm, Hector is right there trying to stop her although he isn’t aware of the gift and the voice resents this, fearing that Hector is taking Anda away from her and it seems to be causing now end of problems for the boy, he just puts it down to weather and coincidence. 
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel Hector manages to drag Anda from the storm’s grip despite how hard it tries to hold onto her and he finds himself forming an unconscious kinship with this strange girl hiding upon the island just like him. So far, the book is really fast paced, and I am hooked just waiting to see where things go for Hector and Anda and Kang’s writing is beautiful and really easy to read making the book seem to fly by. The more time Anda and Hector spend together the more he realises she isn’t a normal girl, but instead of shying away from her, he finds himself oddly attracted to her.  I really liked the romance in this story it is a slow burn and it is only now we see the first kiss which was brilliant especially since Hector and Anda seems to really like each other. 
As we cross into the second half of the novel Hector gets to witness what Anda is and he is so terrified that he flees leaving her behind, but he is sick from being in the water for so long. Anda on the other hand feels his absence like a weight upon her and soon after she goes to find Hector, to bring him back. We also learn that Anda’s mother is a witch and she had several sisters who were driven mad by denying their half nature, despite this Anda refuses to fall into the same state if it means losing Hector. Earlier than planned Anda’s father returns and tries to convince Hector to leave but he won’t go without an explanation and he gets one. After learning the truth of what Anda is Hector wants nothing more than to save to make her human which just isn’t possible she can’t deny what she is. I have the feeling that despite the warning from Anda’s father and seeing what she is capable of, Hector isn’t going to just leave her behind.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, we see the real decisions that both Anda and Hector must make and for them that means saying goodbye and holding onto the hope that they may meet again. In the end, there isn’t what I would call a happy ending, but it is promising, and both have had the time they needed to figure who they were and what they wanted from life. Overall, the November girl was a thrilling, quick read and for me, a great introduction into Kang’s writing so I will definitely be reading the Control duology as soon as I can.
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Here are 4 reasons why I think The November Girl was a brilliant read:

THE DIVERSITY: I think we’re all about that diverse life when it comes to picking out books to read, and that was definitely one of the reasons why I decided to pick up The November Girl. Hector is a 17 year old Korean and African American kid who wanted to escape the claws of his abusive uncle so he travels to an island to hide until his 18th birthday aka until he’s finally free.

Anda is the daughter of the lake which makes her this magical creature with a human side. She sinks ships and eats the souls of the dead for a living. In November, she’s the most dangerous which is why she’s called the November Witch. For that reason, the island is abandoned in that time. I believe she is Asian as well, but correct me if I'm wrong!

THE CHARACTERS + THEIR RELATIONSHIP: I was a BIG fan of the characters in this novel! Both of them were really unique and special in their own way. While Hector and Anda don’t speak when they first “interact” with each other, they seem to have a mutual understanding and silent agreement with each other.

Hector was struggling to survive while camping in the woods with barely any food and the constant blast of the cold wind, but Anda made sure he was okay! She’s connected to the island so she can control nature and the weather (yeah, she’s cool like that XD) so she kept him from freezing to death.

They both started to take care of each other as the story went on and it was lovely to see how their relationship progressed. They actually interacted and spoke to each other and I found myself liking these characters more and more. Their relationship was so CUTE and they slowly but surely begun trusting each other. They both brought out something new and different in the other and it was so good to see that 
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I feel really bad when I can't relate to a book. I think a lot of times it's more me than the author. I couldn't even connect to any of the characters and I can't even remember there names. I gave it a star because I thought the plot was a lot different than books I normally would read. And another star because like I mentioned above I really don't think it was the authors fault that I was just not feeling anything for the story.
I still am happy I requested and was approved for this book.
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The November Girl is beautiful and yet dark a and eerily haunting story. I felt both a warm and cold embrace as I found myself falling into this tale that kept me second guessing myself not only with Hector but also with Anda as well. I would often stop reading so I could close my eyes and envision what Anda would look like and many times I scared myself because I could see her raw power as she was a force to be reckoned with. Hector brought out the motherly side of me and I just wanted to put my arms around him and reassure him that he was safe. -YA/NA Book Divas
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tw: mention of child abuse, self harm (you will see it and hear about it) 

"I am made of storms and corpses, of granite and paper-white birch. Trinkets and morsels of food haven't comforted me since I was a child.  I'm not the one who needs to be kept safe. It is everyone else."

There are many unique things about this book, the writing, the setting, the characters, this entire book is unique. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat. You think that you know what's going on but you don't. Also this book is an emotional coaster from beginning to end.

The main characters are complex. Hector, half Korean and half African American, is running away from his home life and ends up on Isle Royale where Anda has lived all her life. She was born of the lake and makes November Storms. Anda is also a witch but she different from what a normal witch would be. Anda struggles with her true nature and she is unlike any character I've read before.

The ending was perfect for a standalone. The November Girl is one of those books that makes you think long after you have finished the book. The writing is lyrical and atmospheric and I was transported to Isle Royale with the author's words. Hector's love doesn't cure Anda, but they help each other in order to find their true self.
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The November Girl by Lydia Kang is a compelling and haunting supernatural tale that is beautifully told and envisioned. Featuring a unique and compelling heroine and a powerful story, The November Girl is like nothing I have read before. 

Anda is a daughter of the Lake, torn between her human side and the powerful, controllable urges she has to be the November storms; sinking ships and revelling in the death that empowers her. Every November Anda embraces more of her nature, slowly loosing comprehension of what it is to be human and to feel, until one day a sad and lonesome boy comes to the island where she lives and awakens thoughts and feelings in her she thought long gone. Seventeen year old Hector is on the run from his abusive uncle, hoping to hide out on Isle Royale for the winter until he turns eighteen and can legally live by himself. All he has to do is survive a few months alone; only he soon realises that he is not as alone on the island as he expected to be. Hector is no stranger to violence, something that runs through Ana’s veins, but as the strange but beguiling girl and the sad boy with secrets spend time together, is the connection they share enough to keep Anda on dry land? Or will the call of the Lake be too strong?

The November Girl is a truly unique and unexpected novel. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this before, largely in part because Anda is such a different and incomparable character. Beautifully told, The November Girl unfolds through Hector and Anda’s varying POV’s with Anda’s voice extremely eerie and compelling—a highlight of the book in my eyes. 

Anda is an odd mix of ferociousness and childlike wonder and innocence. Her haunted voice portrays a strange kind of hopelessness and incomprehension as she wars with her brutal and often uncontrollable nature. Though half human as well, her inability to care for her human side or even understand what is was she needed came across as oddly endearing and the sweet. It was adorable watching her try to offer small gestures to Hector while not fully comprehending or understanding the why of things. And yet she was also vastly intelligent and capable. It was a strange mix but deeply intriguing.  

Author Lydia Kang has created a bewitching and dangerous island home for Anda. The harsh and vast nature of the storms that raged and Anda's connection to them was highly alluring. The icy, winter wilderness Anda and Hector fought to survive in was ferocious and I was entranced by the danger and wonder I found in equal measure in Kang's words. 

Anda was magic and power brought to life while Hector was escaping from true, brutal pain that should be incomprehensible, but seems to be more common in today's society than I wish it was. The blend of the magic and realism was perfect and the harmony of the story flowed wonderfully. It was just a truly captivating story from beginning to end. 

Lydia Kang has created something different but strangely beautiful within The November Girl. Haunting, powerful and moving, this story will draw from it's reader every emotion and leave them with a deeply satisfying feeling of hopefulness.
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The synopsis seemed so different and interesting and I couldn't wait to read this book! I was going into it with high expectations and I was not disappointed.There are so many things that I love about this book!I really enjoyed the relationship between Anda and Hector. I liked how similar they were but at the same time different.I liked that the pace of the story wasn't fast but not slow either. It was fast enough to keep my attention and I kept wanting to find out what would happen next! This was a beautifully written fantasy with complicated characters who you just can't help but like.
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Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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!

CW: self-harm, violence, death, child abuse

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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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.
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Hector has one plan, and that is to escape his misery and live out on an abandoned island for a few months until he is 18 and free. But the island is not as abandoned as he anticipated. Instead, a strange girl-beast was left behind and he feels compelled to help her. But what he doesn’t know is that Anda is not just a girl, but instead a creature of great power and destruction.

Yes, I was lured in by the pretty cover and the author, and the synopsis was mysterious enough to intrigue me. Once I started, I can 100% say that I had no idea what would happen next, I could never predict the turns that the story took or the outcome in any way. This could easily be a fairytale, but not one of those happily ever after kinds we have come to expect, but the original Grimm style fairytales full of death and horror and hardships. There was also a clash of real life with fantastical elements, and the questions of whether those elements should ever intersect in life. Oh and don't forget the forbidden romance between two people who should probably never have even met. The writing at times felt like poetry, full of beautiful imagery that ultimately described death.

The story was dual narrated by Anda and Hector, alternating voices at chapters. This was a really unique read since there are really only 2 characters in the story period- a few passersby but for the most part just these two alone or together, unlike most books that have tons of characters thrown in along the way. Anda and Hector are both so broken but in such different ways, but experience equally powerful transformations during the course of these pages.

Hector only knows hurt and rejection, and even Anda makes the connection that Hector was happier with her and her oddities than any home he has had.

"You taste much better than rocks," she says before exiting the store and walking into the sunshine.

Thank God for that.

He has never been able to fit in- either too American and dark skinned, or not dark skinned enough- he feels like he has never belonged or been wanted and it made my heart hurt for him. He was such a caring, giving and considerate person (pretty much the definition of self-sacrificing) even though he never had that care given to him. I felt the urge to hug him so many times or at least step in when he was self-harming, but I could only sit back and watch the world unfold.

Anda is not really a person- at one point she might have been, but her humanity has been cast aside for storms and death, the things that feed her not-human soul. Through Hector she slowly regained her humanity and what being a person really means.

She blinks at me. Apparently, logic is some orange-winged creature she's never met before.

She's a huge mess of inconsistencies and confliciting pieces. Just when I get a good view of her, like a kaleidoscope, she turns and the image transforms into something completely different.

Is it odd that I was fully aware that she was a murderer yet I was still interested and cared about her- can you hate nature that needs cycles for rebirth? There are times in the book that we literally see her murder people and yet she was sympathetic and curious- like a small child or wild creature needing to be tamed. There was a moment where Hector thought she looked like she wanted to eat him, and I kinda agreed with him. But still I found her to be so compelling, the most interesting of characters. I kept questioning whether I wanted her to be "normal" or to give into her nature because it was needed for the island and life (as seen by the words of Hector):

Decomposition and fertilizer and Simba and the circle of life, whatever.

​I have been wanting to read Lydia's books for a while now, I even have purchased a few of her other stories and they are sitting here waiting for me, and if this is a fair representation of what she can write I am am very excited to read more of her work. I will admit that I feel like my heart was rippedout of my chest duriThis was such an emotional, complicated, darkly fantastical journey that I am glad I took and I highly recommend it.

I received this title for review purposes.
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