C.G. Drews's Reviews > Iphigenia Murphy

Iphigenia Murphy by Sara Hosey
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bookshelves: contemporary, read-2020, young-adult

This story felt like a cry of light in dark places. It's about abuse and homelessness, and it's really really heartbreaking to read at times. Also I think it handled a lot of very dark topics well -- like it's hard to capture messy people doing messy things, really get into their heads, and show the reader how a cruel world can shape you into something you don't even want to be; but how you can also reclaim yourself. There were just so many good themes 🥺 like healing for yourself, no one else. Like women supporting women. Like !!! loving UR DOG because that's truly what's important in this life.

[characters]
Iphigenia carefully takes a backpack, her skateboard, and her walkman, buys some camping supplies, and disappears into Queens park to live. No one looks for her, because some girls just go missing and no one cares. (Cue my heart; shattering.) She wants to find her mum (who maybe was last seen in this park) but she also has to get out and away from her horrible family and her stepbrother who assaulted her. Like those first chapters are so taut with the terror of literally camping in a park where anyone and anything could get you, and I felt that in my bones.

Iffy was an amazing character, the kind that is sort of feral and broken and defensive and timid to start off with, but she honestly has this incredible arc. I soared with her.

Then we have Corinne, who Iffy meets in the park, and these two girls 😭 they were just THERE for each other, even though both were a mess of traumas. Corinne is trans and running away from an abusive boyfriend, and they have such acceptance for each other. They also meet Anthony who is just sort of floating and aimless. Turns out Anthony is SOFT. And GENTLE. (And yes the romance is instalove. I think it felt realistic for Iffy to fall so fast for the first person who was kind to her, buuuut it also felt just like good ol' YA instalove.)

Then there's the stray dog, Angel. The true love of all our lives!!! I love that she was there for Iffy and they just became each other's world. (I cannot handle books where the dog dies...so just saying sad things happen but no dog death.)

There are broken characters in this book that you will break with. But the bad ones are just disgusting and slimy and aRGH. So basically the characters will make you feel everything, all at once.

[the story]
The style is very very literary, so often the chapters are just slow and meandering explorations of Iffy's life. The book is like, barely 300pgs but it did feel long because of the style. I think it made Iffy's life realistic, not glamourous. But it did make for a slow book.

But there's lots to hook you in: will she find her mum? will evil people attack her in the park? will Angel, the dog, be ok? is this all Iffy's life will be?

I also think it's a very good critique of how society ignores homeless people and struggling kids and finds ways to justify "not getting involved". And the heavy topics were talked about factually but not graphically.

A quiet YA contemporary, that unfurls the story of an invisible girl who takes charge of her own destiny amidst her deep, deep pain.

There are some girls that nobody looks for. Turns out, I was one of those girls.

"They knew, Corinne. Maybe they didn't know everything. But they knew. And they didn't protect me."
I heard Corinne sigh. "Yeah. I think it's like that a lot, Iffy. I think that' s how it is a lot."
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Quotes C.G. Liked

Sara Hosey
“Me?" I looked up and grinned back. "Nobody loves me. So, I'm doing okay."

"You look a little worn out, if you ask me.”
Sara Hosey, Iphigenia Murphy

Sara Hosey
“I probably didn't need to worry so much. There are some girls that nobody looks for. Turns out, I was one of those girls.”
Sara Hosey, Iphigenia Murphy

Sara Hosey
“I wondered if other people had to work so hard to try and seem normal all of the time.”
Sara Hosey, Iphigenia Murphy

Sara Hosey
“On the couch that was also my bed in the apartment I'd lived in all my life, I sat, sucking my thumb, thinking of the terrible things he'd said to me, using them to ignite a small fire, to get myself warm and moving, to get myself gone.”
Sara Hosey, Iphigenia Murphy


Reading Progress

December 29, 2019 – Shelved
December 29, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
March 7, 2020 – Started Reading
March 9, 2020 – Shelved as: contemporary
March 9, 2020 – Shelved as: read-2020
March 9, 2020 – Shelved as: young-adult
March 9, 2020 – Finished Reading

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