Reviewed by Valerie Dorsey
This story is set in 1980 and that time is very nostalgic for me. Brought back a lot of memories from my childhood, playing with the Ouija board, taunted Bloody Mary in the bathroom mirror, and Mad Dog 20/20. The girls of Denton Street are about to graduate High School, whole lives ahead of them, when things go terribly wrong!
Underlying everything that happens in this story, I feel is loss. The towns main employer, the Mill, is closing, jobs are lost. The girls are losing their childhood, they are becoming adults, and there seems to be a breakdown of all that is supposed to be normal. Loss of hope, loss of control. All the Rust Maidens wanted and needed was a choice!
Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street.
It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh.
As rumors spread about the grotesque transformations, soon everyone from nosy tourists to clinic doctors and government men start arriving on Denton Street, eager to catch sight of “the Rust Maidens” in metamorphosis. But even with all the onlookers, nobody can explain what’s happening or why—except perhaps the Rust Maidens themselves. Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart.
Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens—and her own unwitting role in the transformations—before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.
Received a BS degree in Marketing from Indiana University 1982. Have worked in the retail business for the last 19yrs. Raised 4 children, 3 have graduated college. I love animals and reading. Reading has become as much a part of my life as eating! If it’s not done a couple times a day, I feel starved!