3 of 5 stars.
This tale of supernatural possession subtly evokes an eerie ambiance in its mixed use of speaker pronouns. The first person narrator is ungrounded, only using we/us pronouns when referring to the whole gang of three girls. But when speaking of any particular girl, she/her is used leaving the identity of the speaker in question.
Mini, Caroline, and Ronnie are all female Korean adoptees into American white families. Their age and personality commonalities draw them together at a event gathering for Korean adoptees. When one gets hold of a black magic spell to summon their mothers, they are surprised when a single entity emerges claiming, chastising and nurturing them all. This spirit of a dead mother gets into their heads and uses their voices and bodies against each other . . .
The clear distinctions between the three protagonists is nicely rendered. Caroline is the careful pleaser. Mini acts more rebellious than she is. Ronnie’s the cool chick with a dark, secret. None, singly or as a group, deserve the title’s admonishing.
“Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying” appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror: 2015 edited by Paula Guran and published by Prime Books. It first appeared in Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales, eds. Kelly Link and Gavin Grant (Candlewick), and Tin House #61.
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