I had a looooot of feelings about this book – actually, about how people have reacted to this book. So, I’m going to get a rant out of the way. Feel free to skip this paragraph if you don’t like rants. People told me it was going to be absolutely horrible, that no self-respecting horror fan would enjoy it, that it didn’t fit the horror genre, so on… alright. Lemme tell y’all something. I’ve been obsessed with horror movies AND books since I was five years old, roughly? I had a blast reading this book. Do not run around telling people that they are no longer horror fans if they enjoyed this book. Are we clear? YOU DO NOT GET TO BELITTLE PEOPLE FOR THE BOOKS THEY ENJOY. Just… stop that, it’s gross as hell and immediately ruins any credibility you’ve ever had in the blogging world.
Okay, rant over. On to the review.
→ what i liked ←
– diversity: our main character, Makani, is biracial, and one of her best friends is trans. We get to take a little time to explore the complicated nuances that come along with being biracial and being at times pulled between your cultures, and we also get to see how accepting highschoolers are capable of being in regards to trans friends. It’s good stuff. On a lesser note, our love interest has pink hair and refuses to let anyone belittle him for being “the straight guy with pink hair”.
Just as it was rude and invasive to ask him about his genitalia or sexual preference, it was equally rude and invasive to ask her about her ethnicity. It was the sort of information that should only be volunteered. Never asked for.
– sex positivity: while I don’t recall there being any sex scenes whatsoever in this book, there is definitely mention of sex, and it’s handled in a really responsible way. Makani and Ollie never feel any need to “justify” how quickly their relationship turns physical, which I loved, because frankly, we need more books that demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with healthy sexual appetites. Also, there are several references to safe sex, with talk about condoms and the like, which we definitely do not see frequently enough in YA!
– the murders: of course they’re not terrifying – this book is riding the line between YA contemporary and YA horror, so if you expected nightmare fodder, you should probably reevaluate your own genre-specific expectations… – but they are fun and bloody and a little unique (no spoilers but there’s a scene where a guy’s skull is literally cracked open and his brain is stabbed to mush, and if you don’t find that fun, I dunno how to help you).
– the romance: like I said, this book is definitely straddling the line between horror and contemporary, and there is a very prominent running theme of romance throughout the contemporary side of it, but it’s totally precious. Ollie is such a sweet and adorable love interest and, honestly, if Perkins ever announced a spin-off standard contemporary title about these two moving forward in their lives, I’d pre-order the hell out of it.
→ what i didn’t like ←
– the killer: again, no spoilers, but the killer’s identity did not surprise me at all, and worse yet, when their eventual motives were revealed, they were lackluster at best. This is definitely where I felt that Stephanie’s horror novice-dom showed itself the most. The thing is, I know Perkins is a life-long horror fan, so she’s probably aware of the tropes and such, which made me think while reading the book that I have a sinking suspicion she downplayed this entire plot point to make it more accessible to her contemporary fans? I might be looking too far into things, but that’s genuinely my suspicion.
→ final thoughts ←
All in all, was this book perfect? Absolutely not. Was it terrifying? Hell, no. But as someone who has painfully low expectations for the complete disaster that is the YA horror genre in most cases, I was so pleasantly surprised by how fun this book was. I could barely put it down because it was just so easy to lose myself in! I could see myself rereading this in the future to fulfill my “cheesy teen slasher” cravings.
I’m actually reading this right now!! I’m about halfway through and I’m honestly loving it. It’s not perfect, but it’s a super fun read!! I need to get my hands on more YA Horror like this.
Awwww, yay! I can’t wait to hear your final thoughts on it! I really wish more YA horror was like this book. I feel like so much YA horror is either way too mild, or it takes itself so seriously that it ends up trying too hard, but I thought Perkins was solidly in the camp of “I know I’ve never written horror before so I’m just gonna have fun with it and do the best I can”, haha
Horror is a genre I don’t often read, but this sounds like something I might like. Great review and excellent rant.
Thank you so much! I would honestly totally recommend this one for anyone who wants a horror read but doesn’t usually get into the genre, because it felt super approachable to me.
Good to know! Thanks.
I loved your rant. I am amazed at how people take their opinions and turn them into fact. “I didn’t like it so there’s no way any real horror fan would like it”. That just means you think your opinion is law. Great job! I enjoyed your review and think it was very well done.
Thank you so much! I felt bad ranting and almost didn’t post it, but it really hurt my heart, some of the things people were saying!
That rant was spot on! I’ve also always really loved horror since I was young but that doesn’t mean I can’t like this book and shouldn’t be judged if I do! (I haven’t read this book yet.) I thought your review was wonderful! Thank you for not bashing it for not being scary. I mean come on people, it’s a YA horror. Obviously it’s not going to be scary like say a book written by Stephen King. You gotta judge the book based on its genre.
Thank you! <3 I almost didn't post the rant because I was honestly nervous people would fuss at me, but now I'm glad I did since it seems like some people really related to it. But yes, exactly! You can't expect a YA horror – especially from an author who usually writes cutesy contemporary romance stories – to terrify you… be realistic!
this review is so great (including the rant)! it’s seriously SO ANNOYING how people bash others for liking/disliking something they feel the opposite about. and i love the sex positivity stuff too! your review seems like i’m going to like this book. 🙂
Thank you, Theo! 😀 I really appreciate the support. I hope you enjoy it if you pick it up. I was honestly so stoked about how sex positive it was. I’m so tired of seeing sex-shaming in YA and things like this are just refreshing. No spoilers, but there’s a scene where they think they’re going to get chastised, and instead the guy’s brother is just like, “… you guys ARE using condoms, right?” LOL I was so proud <3
Very excited to read this now after reading your trusted take on it. Thanks a lot!
Awesome! 😀 Thank you so much for the kind words, and I hope you enjoy it!
i love your rant!!! you are soooooo right! i could say the same, but you totally said what there is to say! 🙂 i’m really glad, that you enjoyed this book and had fun while reading it. that’s how it’s supposed to be! 🙂
Hahaha thank you! 😀 I almost didn’t post the rant part and now I’m so glad I did!
no! it’s important to also post rants!! otherwise the situation won’t change!
Very true <3
I saw Perkins when she was touring for Isla, and she was talking about working on this book, but since it came out all I have seen are TERRIBLE reviews. Glad to see its not that bad. I trust your reviews, so I might have to actually try this one!
Awww, thank you, Deanna! That really means a lot to me. 🙂 If you do check it out, I hope you enjoy it!
oh hell ya!!! i just skimmed this b/c i haven’t read the book yet but now i’m hyper to get to it (sans dumb killer stuff)
Hahaha yaaaay! I hope you enjoy it!
Reblogged this on The Biblioanthropologist.
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