I’m skipping Booking Through Thursday this week because I am on my way to Wisconsin for a nice week-long family vacation up north, and I have another book review ready to go! I read a library copy of Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist recently; I have previously read Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In.
One day a middle-aged man named Lennert finds a baby abandoned in the forest, halfway buried in plastic and dirt. He takes her home and he and his wife Laila raise the baby hidden from the world in their basement. Lennert and Laila (and their adult son Jerry) quickly discover she is a highly unusual, mysterious, strange child, and has a strikingly beautiful, perfect singing voice. After a violent event occurs, Jerry takes the girl to Stockholm, renames her Theres, and enters her in a televised singing contest (a la American Idol), where she is discovered by another troubled girl, Teresa. Theres and Teresa form a terrifying and cultish bond that becomes a dark force of reckoning.
Little Star was a pretty fast read for me, despite its 500+ page length. The premise was sort of similar to Let the Right One In—troubled and strange adolescent duo find each other, wreak some havoc, weird pervert adults, etc. so fans of Let the Right One In will be on familiar territory with Lindqvist’s latest. Little Star reminded me a bit of Stephen King’s Carrie, too, except in an age of cyber-bullying. Theres is a truly bone-chilling character, and Teresa is sympathetic. Not that she’s innocent, oh no—just that I think Lindqvist captured the essence of an outcast trying to find a way to fit in—a teenager not fully thinking through consequences and taking her life and those around her for granted—very well.
The first half of Little Star is great—fast paced, some good shocking moments, and an interesting backstory for the family. However I think that breaking the narrative up between Theres and Teresa’s stories made parts of the book drag somewhat—Teresa’s life story isn’t nearly as compelling as Theres (she’s an otherworldly sort of creature or something, while Teresa is pretty much a normal angsty emo young teenager). But I see why this technique was necessary. But once the girls finally meet and get up to some mischief, the book picks right back up for a pretty disturbing conclusion. Not as strong as Let the Right One In, in my opinion, but a great horror read nonetheless. Recommend!
Read from June 30 to July 7, 2013.