Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Iphigenia Murphy by Sara Hosey!
This is one of those books that feels like a cry of light in a dark place. It’s about abuse and homelessness, and it’s gut-wrenching to read at times. I think it handled a lot of very dark topics well. It captures messy people doing messy things, it really unpacks how horrible circumstances can turn you into a monster or a survivor. There were just so many good themes 🥺 like healing for yourself, no one else. And women supporting women. And !!! how above all else, DOGS ARE PURE AND MUST BE PROTECTED.
You can stop by my instagram for the INTL giveaway 😍and I have a survival kit below!
There are some girls that nobody looks for. Turns out, I was one of those girls.
a story of running away
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. The first chapters are so taut with the terror of camping in a park where anyone and anything could get you, and I felt that in my bones.
Iffy was an amazing character, feral and broken and defensive and timid to start off with, but she honestly has this incredible arc. I soared with her.
I also loved 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. Both women have such acceptance for each other. They later meet Anthony who is just sort of floating and aimless. Turns out Anthony is soft and gentle. 🥺 the romance is very fast, but I felt it made sense for Iffy to fall hard for the first boy who was kind to her.\
And we can’t forget the true wonder of the book — ANGEL. The stray who Iffy takes in and protects with fierce love. (No the dog doesn’t die!!)
There are broken characters in this book that you will break with. And the bad characters are just disgusting and slimy and will fill you with rage. So basically the characters will make you feel everything, all at once.
“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.”
the story it told…
The style is very very literary, so often the chapters are just slow and meandering explorations of Iffy’s life. Which felt realistic too, because Iffy’s life is realistic, not glamourous. She doesn’t luckily run into answers the first day in the Park. She spends a lot of time coming into herself. And there’s so much to hook you in: will she find her mum? will evil people attack her in the park? will the dog be ok? is this all Iffy’s life will ever 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”, justifies how they look away. The harsh topics were talked about factually but not graphically.
Iphigenia Murphy is a quiet YA contemporary, that unfurls the story of an invisible girl who takes charge of her own destiny amidst her deep, deep pain.
Iphigenia Murphy runs away to Queens Park in 1992 to stay while she looks for her mother. She packs her supplies, she begs, she steals, she makes it work. She survives.
Pretty sure the 3 things every human needs to survive is shelter, food, and WiFi. So start off with that sHELTER. (Apparently there was no easy WiFi in 1992 😫 rating of 0 stars to that year. I’m not super good at setting up tents but I HAVE done it once. It also blew away and when I took bag out of it. 🤔
But keep it safe! Iffy keeps pockets of food stored about the park in marked locations. She buries it and hides it in trees, which is really genius. If she’s robbed, she’ll still have food to retrieve.
Iffy is the BOOKWORM OF OUR HEARTS. She takes some books with her, but she also buys cheap throwaway ones from the library bins. Trashy romances. Classics. Children’s books. Camping is the ultimate time for comfort reads. She had Watership Down (which she leant to Anthony!!) and I haven’t read that one so I do need to.
I’m skipping building a fire because I’m bad for it (RIP warm food) so I’ll just bring a torch and get used to cold beans in a tin. Good thing marshmallows taste fine raw.
this is hard because if you’re constantly on the move, pack LIGHT. So only a few clothes will work and a sleeping bag. It was summer for Iffy, so at least she didn’t need to rug up. But she had her dog for warmth. And she let her rage fuel her and keep her warm.
Look PUT THIS IN YOUR BAG, because survival is hard alone. Every noise in the dark is terrifying, every choice you make alone feels like you’re lost in vast darkness. Find a dog like Angel. Find a friend like Corinne. Stick together 😭Protect each other. LIVE.
Thank you to MTMC Tours for having me!
Iphigenia Murphy by Sara Hosey released from Blackstone Publishing on March 10th.
Running away from home hasn’t solved Iphigenia Murphy’s problems. In fact, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll catch up with her. Iffy is desperate to find her long-lost mother, and, so far, in spite of the need to forage for food and shelter and fend off an unending number of creeps, living in Queens’ Forest Park has felt safer than living at home. But as the summer days get shorter, it all threatens to fall apart.
A novel that explores the sustaining love of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and the indelible bond of family, Iphigenia Murphy captures the gritty side of 1992 Queens, the most diverse borough in New York City. Just like Iffy, the friends she makes in the park–Angel, a stray dog with the most ridiculous tail; Corinne, a young trans woman who is escaping her own abusive situation; and Anthony, a former foster kid from upstate whose parents are addicts–each seek a place where they feel at home. Whether fate or coincidence has brought them together, within this community of misfits Iffy can finally be herself, but she still has to face the effects of abandonment and abuse–and the possibility that she may be pregnant. During what turns out to be a remarkable journey to find her mother, will Iffy ultimately discover herself?
Sara Hosey holds a PhD in American literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is an associate professor of English and Women and Gender Studies at Nassau Community College. Her book, Home Is Where the Hurt Is: Media Depictions of Wives and Mothers (McFarland, 2019), looks at representations of the domestic in popular culture. Sara grew up in Queens and now lives in Sea Cliff, New York, with her partner and their children. She is working on a second novel.
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tell me some books you’ve read lately that have really HIT HARD in the feels?? and is this one on your tbr?