Release Date: May 24th 2011
Buy It: Book Depository
After 16-year-old Lark is murdered, she, her childhood best friend Eva, and Nyetta, a girl Lark used to babysit, find themselves facing hard truths about their lives and seeking a way to move on.When I picked up Lark, the premise intrigued me, but when I heard mention of a "ghost" I guess I was thinking it was more like an emotional ghost than an actual ghost of the girl. It's not. This definitely has a paranormal twist to it. Still, it's the sort of twist, that like Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, manages to be creepy rather than contrived. It's just enough to leave a haunting feeling behind.
A lot of Lark's creepiness is due to Porter's writing and imagery. I love the idea of these girls trapped in trees, and it stayed stuck in my mind long after I finished the book. That said, there was something that stopped me from falling completely in love with the novel. I was interested in Lark, the way she pushed herself so hard, doing gymnastics on a damaged knee, I could emotionally connect to her ambition and drive. The way she worked herself dry. And Porter managed this connection, even though Lark was dead. But somehow, when it came to Eve and Nyetta, the connection wasn't quite there. At times, they felt like more of a ghost than Lark did.
The other issue with Lark is that in a way there didn't feel like there was much of a story. There were feelings and ideas, and those resonated with me, but it's a very short novel and I wanted a little bit more out of it. I'm not sure if the length is to blame for this short-coming, but I did feel like perhaps with a longer book Porter would have had more opportunity to develop Eve and Nyetta as characters at least.
Lark is a dark, creepy, and wonderfully written novel, but ultimately I found some of the characters lacking, and the overall result was one that didn't quite hit the mark. Still, Porter has captured my interest enough that I'd be interested in picking up another novel by her in the future.