Cover Image: Something Kindred

Something Kindred

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

- SOMETHING KINDRED is like Jas Hammonds x Courtney Gould, and I loved it.
- This is a book about relationships between women and how generational trauma can affect them. I loved all the women in this book, and watching them grapple with the choices they had made in their lives.
- These relationships dovetailed so beautifully with the exploration of small town life; how something can feel like home and be stifling at the same time. The imagery and feelings it evoked will stay with me for a long time.

Was this review helpful?

Not entirely what I expected, but I loved it. And to be fair, the "magical realism meets Southern gothic" tagline is relatively accurate. Something Kindred is a queer coming of age story about how how the past intersects with the present, whether through generational trauma, grief, reconciliation, and more. But it has a paranormal twist and a romantic subplot as well! It's a quieter, more thoughtful book than I anticipated and is at once a slow burn and a fairly quick read.

This follows Jericka, a bisexual young woman returning to her hometown for the first time since she was a young child. She's always been with her mother who flits from place to place, but now her grandmother is dying of cancer and they are returning to help care for her. But old hurts and old secrets rear their head in this haunted small town. Meanwhile, Jericka is working on a photography portfolio for art school, is uncertain if she wants a future with the boyfriend she left behind, and befriends a girl who is a bit of an outcast as a lesbian who says she can see ghosts.

I think I was expecting this to be more of a paranormal story than it was. Those elements are there, but they're really a vehicle for talking about grief, hurt from the past, and what it looks like to forgive and move forward in a healthy way. It's a deeply emotional and beautifully written book, filled with flawed characters who still have a lot of love to offer. I was a fan. I received a copy of this book for review via NetGalley, all opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Is this a ghost story? No. Not in the way people want a ghost story. This is a coming-of-age story about a young woman discovering her bisexuality and the meaning of home and family. Yet, the town is haunted with echoes, ghosts stuck in the town of Coldwater. Not everyone can see them. Only a few can, and those ghosts are filled with sadness, which makes others feel that sorrow and despair.

As Jericka prepares her photography portfolio for Parsons, she struggles with finding a topic to shoot until she decides to photograph the echoes.

But all of this is such a small part of the story. The main part is Jericka's relationships with her estranged grandmother, her father (whom she hasn't seen since she was 4), and his new family, her mother (who carries a secret that could destroy her relationship with her daughter), and her new friend Kat.

This book focuses mostly on family relationships and the need to run away, far away, from the people that hurt you. There are generations of people that leave Coldwater and the pain this small town causes. But this book also focuses on mending those past hurts and letting go of the past.

All in all, I think this is a great book to give to a young woman preparing to leave home for college or a new life, especially if they're running from a lot of pain. Speaking from experience, there are some rifts that can never be mended. Sometimes, the healing comes at the end of someone's life. There are even those instances where there is no forgiveness and the trauma shapes us and our decisions to stay away from the places that brought us our greatest despair.

Coldwater represents that pit of sadness that will never be fixed. But there are people who choose to make the best of things and create a home in that place because it's where they found their peace. A hometown is different for everyone.

The author did an excellent job diving into these themes, working out the suffering inside to find peace in the things that haunt them...the echoes.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this story it had just the right balance of family and every day teen issues It was also not too long and I liked how the town was depicted. Ciera Burch has a very unique voice.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this story. I liked that this story was a family drama/gothic story. The way that the story knits together all of this town and family mythology is really intriguing. This was an emotional read, with discussion on generational trauma, but with a supernatural and gothic spin.

Was this review helpful?

When I started this book I was expecting a gothic horror novel but I think this book was just more of a family dynamic drama that included some romance.

However, even though it wasn’t what I was expecting it was still a very good book. It held my attention and I thought the book had a great message about family and forgiveness.

I definitely look forward to more from this author.

Was this review helpful?

Something Kindred at its heart is a complex family drama with gothic elements mixed in. Butch weaves in the town history and lore with generational trauma making this an emotional read. Those parts were meaningful to the development of Jericka. Overall, a good coming of age novel with a supernatural twist.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

SOMETHING KINDRED is a quiet coming-of-age novel that packs a powerful emotional punch. It's a bit of a love story, a bit of a ghost story, and a bit of a small-town story all rolled into a tale about three generations of strong women who tend to leave their families behind. They feel stuck in their hometown life--and the echoes of their past--and struggle to feel free and independent after choosing the road more traveled. A lot of modern authors like telling their stories with multiple POVs, but I'm glad SOMETHING KINDRED shunned that trend. As much as I'd have loved to read the story from the main character, Jericka's, mom and grandma's perspective in addition to Jericka's, keeping the novel in single POV made it a far more powerful bildungsroman novel. Go, Jericka, go!

SOMETHING KINDRED joins the ranks of great summer YA books like THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY, THE ATLAS OF US, and ARISTOTLE AND DANTE that turn those lazy, sweaty days into memories and events of a lifetime. I highly recommend it for the teen in your life who is more into real-life drama and issues than dragons or magic.

Was this review helpful?

Something Kindred kept pulling me back in again and again even though there was something very eerie about reading this book. The imagery in these pages is done so well that the feeling of being on edge stays with you as you read. Jericka, our main character, dragged back to her mom’s hometown in Maryland, is forced to confront ghosts of the past that don’t belong to her— but also they do. The sins of the mothers are definitely reaped by the children. I appreciated the representation of Jericka’s anxiety, specifically the way her racing thoughts and things she wanted to say were choked up in the face of the adults she needed to speak with. That felt very authentic and resonated with a teenage me.

This is a story about coming home & creating a home. It’s beautifully done.

Was this review helpful?

I read this twice to give a proper response, I feel that it was not quiet for me. It was an interesting book with lots of promise but I don't typically like small town books, it feels over done. The few things that would set it apart like the characters themselves did make it a 3 star though.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Netgalley and Macmillan for the advanced copy!!
This was a great coming of age book! We really got to follow Jericka discover more about herself and this small town she never got to experience. I love a small town setting. Coldwater was no exception, it felt like a character in the story.
There is a paranormal/ghost element to the book. I was expecting the ghosts/echos to be more included but the scenes they were in were very interesting.
At its core this books explores self-discovery at the pivotal age of 17/18 when you’re not sure what is next or where you will go. Ciera Burch displayed that so well through all the characters and their different journeys.
I loved the small town moments and coming age aspect and definitely recommend this one!

Thanks again to Netgalley and Macmillan for the advanced copy!

Was this review helpful?

The characters were all complex in their own ways, they were all unique. Nothing really felt like a trope even when it was -- I feel like I was fully enveloped by Coldwater, like I've stopped there before on a road trip or something. It has that perfect Southern Gothic vibe to it. Especially in the middle section of the book, there's a great push and pull between characters with authority -- we (and Jericka) don't know if her Dad is lying about not keeping in touch with her, or her mom abandoned her, or if her grandma abandoned her mom and Uncle Miles -- everyone has a believable and relatable story, all of which are at odds with the other. It brings up a great moral dilemma for the reader, whether we think that Jericka should still trust and/or love them anymore. There are complex relationships galore in this book -- I don't think there's a single conventionally-related character in the main cast (or the whole book for that matter). That alone makes this book a complete standout -- its approach to unconventional family dynamics is something that we really don't see too much, and it was dealt with in a very compassionate way.

If the book were just a complicated family drama with a little bit of romance, I think it would have been a Hard Yes for me. However, there is a supernatural element to it -- "the echoes," which are the ghosts of a group of women who were burnt alive in Coldwater a long time ago. I understand the thought behind correlating the echoes with the complicated relationships that Jericka has (and ultimately her realization about them at the end), but I feel like it wasn't fleshed out enough. The scary sequences were rushed, and I feel like I forgot about them altogether throughout the book. If there were more direct scenes with the echoes sprinkled throughout, it would feel more weird and otherworldly, but it didn't really feel like it made much sense. 

Also it really irks me that the camera that the person on the cover is using is not the camera that Jericka uses in the book. She specifically used a Nikon SLR that she got from her Gram, and the person on the cover has a Super 8 camera...

Was this review helpful?

I went into this book not knowing what to expect, just because I requested the galley so long ago and had forgotten what it was about, which made everything a delightful surprise! It's queer, it's spooky, it's honest and frank, and it's so satisfyingly put together. A compelling read!

One of the highlights for me was how real and deep each character felt, even the ones who didn't actually have much time on the page--and at the same time, Jericka's limited POV was so precisely written that I shared her sense of outsider-ness. The tension between her present, moving back to a tiny town she doesn't remember, and her past there that she's just discovering, was perfectly balanced for me. And what a great combo of deeply reality-based interpersonal problems within Jericka's family, and sad and creepy emotionally-based supernatural happenings introduced by her new friend/crush Kat! I was so delighted when both of these elements started to connect, pulling together throughlines of home versus freedom, and processing trauma and grief through art.

Also?? It's very hard to write honest and difficult conversations between people who have deeply hurt each other. I often find them too perfect and astute, or too trite and stereotypical. Burch has found the sweet spot, for me anyway, where each difficult conversation feels real and emotionally charged but also doesn't drag on. Characters are honest about their complicated feelings, and nothing is solved perfectly, but it gets better.

Was this review helpful?

I was expecting this book to be creepy and scary, but it wasn't and I loved that. It was more of a coming-of-age story, confronting the past, grief, and leaning into the unknown.

I liked following Jericka on her path of self-discovery and learning about a town and its people she didn't know. Even though this book was less about the ghosts in the town and more about the cycle of generational trauma and Jericka figuring out who she is and what home feels like to her.

The pacing was a bit off in some parts, but the way this book made me feel and how it made me look at my own life and relationships, overshadowed that. I will being reading more of Burch's work in the future.

Was this review helpful?

{3.5 stars}

Thanks to Farrar, Straus & Giroux for gifted access via Netgalley. All opinions below are my own.

Read this one if you enjoyed We Deserve Monuments but wish it had ghosts. But not a lot of ghosts, just a few mentions of them and only two scenes with them. It’s a good story about forgiveness, grief and finding your truth. Not as spooky or historically impactful as I was hoping for though.

Was this review helpful?

This is a spellbinding family drama mixed with a bit of romance. I felt like this was less southern gothic and more magical realism.

This story includes all the feels. There is grief, love, and even betrayal. While this coming of age story was well done and beautifully written, I still felt a little disappointed that it wasn't more like it's advertised. Less ghosts, a lot more family drama...

I still really enjoyed this one, though.

Out April 2, 2024!

Thanks, Netgalley and Publisher, for this Arc!

Was this review helpful?

SOMETHING KINDRED is, first and foremost, a story of a girl and her family. Jericka and her mother move to Coldwater, Maryland to take care of her dying grandmother--the one who abandoned Jericka's mother thirty years ago. Thus ensues a strained relationship between the three women as more family secrets are revealed in the town of Jericka's birth. I really enjoyed seeing Jericka navigate this new experience, and it's lightened a bit by her romance with Kat, as well. The book is advertised as "Southern Gothic" and while there is a bit of a ghost story, I wish we'd seen a bit more of it. Like I said, this was mostly a family drama, but in the cover and the synopsis, I was expecting a bit more of the "gothic" element, especially because it is deeply rooted in the town's history. Overall, this was a solid read and I'd recommend it if you're looking for a quick but powerful coming-of-age story with a touch of a ghost story.

Was this review helpful?

This book was unexpected. But in the best way, the writing and the pacing were the great. The set up and the commentary really drew me in and left me with much that I’ll continue to think about regularly. It wasn’t overly creepy or dark, but it was a nice balance of everything. I think there could be something here for everyone.

Was this review helpful?

I was expecting this story to be spooky and creepy, but that was so not the case. This book dealt with family traumas, coming of age and the spirits played a minor part in the story. As far as the writing goes I did enjoy it and found the pacing to be good as well.

CW: death, cancer

Was this review helpful?

This book provides a scathing commentary that I have not been able to stop thinking about. I think the supernatural Southern Gothic is a great way to describe it, but the supernatural elements are a bit more subdued and quiet if that makes sense. This book really made me think, and I will seek out Ciera Burch's work in the future!

Was this review helpful?