Book Reviews

Book Review: The Devouring Gray

** WARNING: This review is full of spoilers **

I went into this YA horror/fantasy novel with fairly high expectations after so many reader friends recommended it. It starts out amazing, set in a small town in upstate New York and has a very Riverdale vibe including mysterious founding families and their secrets. But unfortunately nothing related to the mystery ever felt ever fully formed. The “beast” and a turquoise hair person is teased (adnauseam) and while a lot of the story was atmospheric and interlaced with creepy descriptions, a lot of it was…blah drama between families, and introspective circles as the characters struggled to accomplish anything.

This, unfortunately, is one of those YA books that could have been solved so easily from the beginning but is conveniently… ignored <<rolls eyes>>. If somebody would’ve shown Violet her ritual (literally ANY of her friends could’ve done this) she would have had her powers from day 1 and that would’ve been the end of that.

I have to add while the first 1/2 to 3/4 of the book was overall good/interesting, it wasn’t until the last few chapters that I almost didn’t finish. The whole amnesia bit with Violet is OVERDONE in fantasy and YA and frankly, is exhausting. Was that somehow supposed to be the climax?!
I give this book a 3 star rating mostly due to the fact that I love Stranger Things and the author’s descriptions and YA tone were very well done. The story itself felt dragging at times, and the premise is nothing special. If you’re into a darker, horror YA, I recommend you check it out.

Book Reviews

Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

As this is one of my first book reviews, I wanted to start it out with a bang! Sadie is, hands down, one of THE best books I’ve read in years.

For those of you who haven’t read it, I’ll give you a brief (spoiler free) summary. Sadie takes place in a rural town in Colorado. It’s told from dual narratives, beginning with a radio podcast reporter named West McCray who does pieces on small towns in rural America and overhears about Sadie’s disappearance following the death of her thirteen-year-old sister. The other point of view is told from nineteen year old Sadie, who’s mother was a drug addict and was forced to raise her younger sister in the single wide trailer they shared. As if her life couldn’t be any worse, she also suffers from a severe speech impediment However, she’s bold, and headstrong, and is determined to find her sister’s killer and so embarks on her journey.

Several things fascinated me about this book including how Sadie is seemingly one step ahead of the reporter as the story progresses. The author does a phenomenal job showing the impossible odds Sadie faces as she’s impaired by her difficulty communicating (she has a terrible stutter). In a classic—tear your heart in half scene— Sadie struggles to ask a waitress at a diner to identify a man in a picture. At first, she’s ignored, than treated like she’s mentally handicap. Finally they lie to her, berate her, insult her, and tell her to leave as they’re worried she’s “up to no good.”

The exact scene is later mirrored as McCray arrives at the diner. He proceeds to interrogate the same cook and waitress. Being an adult, white, cis male, from the “big city”, surprise surprise, he’s treated completely different. They’re courteous, honest, and more than obliging to answer his questions.

It’s as raw and real as it is disheartening.

The remainder of the book follows a similar pattern until you’re nearly in tears as Sadie, desperate to communicate, struggles every step of the way.

I gave Sadie a five stars on Goodreads, and highly recommend anyone looking for a dark thriller revolving around the stereotypes people face everyday and the impact it has on their lives. It’s an intriguing, well thought out tale told in such a unique way, that it allows it to portray the very real power imbalances in today’s society.