I’d just like to preface this review by saying it’s no secret I love New Adult. I love to read it and I love to write it, and it makes me sad to see so many people putting it down (although thankfully this is happening less and less). I read two amazing NAs in a row (first Noelle August’s Boomerang, and then Upside Down), and I feel like I’m going to be holding every other NA book up to the standard of these two books from now on. Not comparing, but I feel like these books have set a new standard for what this category needs, and what could possibly help more people take it seriously as a category. The world needs books like this, with realistically flawed people finding their footing, finding their path, finding love, finding themselves.
Okay, now my actual review… ;-)
From the moment I saw the gorgeous cover for Upside Down, I was intrigued. When I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read the book. I love ‘destination’ books and I haven’t read many books set in Australia.
There are so many things to love about Upside Down, but I’ll start with Talia. She’d dealt with so much, and yet she managed to stay strong (even though she’d probably argue with that), and hold onto her humour. She was struggling with OCD, grief, guilt, and so much more. I loved how neurotic she was. I don’t have OCD, but I’m definitely obsessive and deal with anxiety, so I related to a lot of the things she thought, said, and did. A lot of the time her inner dialogue felt like it was coming from my own head, and I loved that feeling of connection and understanding. Her family alternately broke my heart and made me ragey. Her mom was a real piece of work and needed a serious reality check. Both her parents had their own not-so-healthy ways of dealing with grief, and Talia was left on her own. They were so wrapped up in themselves, they didn’t notice how much she was suffering, and my heart broke for her because of that.
Bran wasn’t your typical leading man. I loved that he didn’t make apologies for who he was. He was a bastard and he knew it. He didn’t sugarcoat things, he didn’t say pretty words for the sake of it. He was a conundrum - could be the world’s biggest jerk, but he liked to cuddle. Sexy as hell, but also vulnerable. I wasn’t sure I was going to like him, and while there were a few times I wanted to throat-punch him, I ended up loving him.
I appreciated that Talia and Bran’s relationship happened slowly. From their first snark-tastic encounter to their tentative friendship to the OMG SO HOT sexytimes to them trying so hard to let their walls down and let each other in. It was push-and-pull from beginning to end, a mostly slow burn with bright flashes of what their relationship could be if they’d just let it happen. I loved it. I also appreciated that Talia didn’t turn into a vapid airhead when Bran was around. I’m so tired of seemingly strong heroines turning into spineless jellyfish the minute a hot guy looks shows interest.
Holy mother of GAAAAAAH, Lia Riley can write sexytimes like nobody’s business. Seriously. I almost needed a cold shower or six. And not only were they incredibly sexy, they were realistic and honest, which was so refreshing. I’ve read so many sex scenes that either made me cringe or shake my head, but these were perfect. There were several sexytime scenes, but they weren’t gratuitous; they had a purpose and they fit with the story, which made me enjoy them even more.
Lia Riley has a really unique writing style. I can’t quite pinpoint what’s so different about it or why exactly it stood out so much, but I noticed it from the beginning. It was simple but beautiful, and it definitely helped with connecting to the book and the characters.
Upside Down is everything New Adult should be. It has romance, humour, genuine emotion, and characters that are well developed and realistic, all wrapped up in a beautiful, vivid setting. Australia came alive for me as much as Talia and Bran did. I’m eager to find out what happens with these two next in Sideswiped. (less)
When I read the synopsis of Gates of Thread and Stone, I was really excited. Plus, I mean, that cover is just so beautiful and eye-catching,...more4.5 stars
When I read the synopsis of Gates of Thread and Stone, I was really excited. Plus, I mean, that cover is just so beautiful and eye-catching, right? Between the cover and synopsis, I had extremely high hopes for Gates of Thread and Stone, and I’m thrilled to say it lived up to my expectations. This book drew me in from the first page and held my attention right to the last page. It was gripping, exciting, mysterious, and well written, with a tightly woven, inventive plot.
I really liked Kai. She was feisty, smart, and strong. She loved her brother fiercely, and would do anything to make him happy and make life easier. She was a believable teenager - at times insecure, uncertain, selfish, impulsive - definitely flawed, and I loved that. We didn’t see much of Reev, Kai’s brother, but from Kai’s thoughts and memories of him, plus the few glimpses we did get, you were able to get a good sense of the protective, loyal older brother who would do anything to keep his sister safe.
Then there was Avan. Oh Avan. *swoon* I loved him. I loved the will they/won’t they pull between him and Kai, and the slow build of anticipation toward the possibility of something beyond friendship. I alternately sighed and squealed every time they touched, especially as the story went on and things were so uncertain. They had each other when everything was falling apart and even though there were moments I wanted to knock some sense into Kai, I loved these two together.
The world building in this book was fantastic. I was fascinated by the Labyrinth and the world beyond, and was able to picture it all clearly. The whole thing had a dark and creepy post-apocalypse vibe to it. I loved that this book was different from anything I’ve read.
I’ll admit, part of me was hoping this would be a really strong standalone. Up until close to the end I thought it might be, but by the end, I knew there would have to be a continuation. The ending was bittersweet, but I’m hopeful it will get worked out in the sequel, and since I loved these characters so much I’m happy to get the opportunity to see them again.
Gates of Thread and Stone is a fast-paced adventure full of magic and romance. I think this book will appeal to a lot of readers, whether you like fantasy, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, or romance. Gates of Thread and Stone has a great concept, and Lori M Lee executed it with finesse. I highly recommend this one.
Last year I read and loved Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut, Forever, Interrupted. I knew she was a talent to watch out for, so I was excited when I learned about her second book, After I Do. One of the things I loved most about Forever, Interrupted was how brutally honest it was. Reid wasn’t afraid to tell it like it really is, and I loved that. I was pleased to discover After I Do was told with that same candor and wit.
After I Do was a different kind of love story. We go into it immediately seeing the cracks in Lauren and Ryan’s marriage. Most stories are about how a couple comes to be, not how they fall apart and deal with the aftermath. I appreciated the original perspective of this story. Despite being the same age as Lauren, I didn’t think I’d be able to relate to her, since I’m single and have never been married. I was surprised when I found myself nodding along to a lot of the things she said/thought. I felt like I got Lauren, and considering how little we actually have in common, I’d say that’s a pretty great accomplishment on the author’s part.
Lauren had a strong voice. One of the things I loved about her (and this was one of the main things I loved about Forever, Interrupted as well) was how she said things that most people probably think but are too afraid to say out loud. Some of these things were shocking, hilarious, and embarrassing, but they were all so true, which made me connect with her even more. Despite the serious subject matter, there were moments of humour and levity that were perfectly timed. Even though there were a lot of great messages packed into the pages, I felt like the book didn't take itself too seriously, if that makes sense.
Lauren’s journey of self-discovery wasn’t easy. There weren’t any lightning-bolt moments or major overnight revelations, it was slow and painful and messy and complicated and beautiful. In other words, it was realistic. Lauren's family was incredible; they were definitely one of my favourite aspects of the book. There aren’t enough books with healthy portrayals of family, but Reid nailed the dynamics between Lauren and her siblings and mother.
After I Do is a story about the fragile, complicated, and often-chaotic nature of love, life, and family. I felt like I went on Lauren’s journey with her; I felt her heartache, her uncertainties, and her triumphs. I laughed and cried and came away feeling like I’d learned a few valuable lessons about life. Taylor Jenkins Reid has a magical way with words. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. (less)
Servants of the Storm is a creepy, atmospheric southern paranormal mystery. I don’t usually read many scary novels, because I’m a total weenie when it comes to being scared. I was drawn in by the cover and synopsis of this one though, and I’m glad I made an exception.
This book was gruesome, twisted, disturbing, and heartbreaking. The first chapter was absolutely horrifying, and it sucked me in instantly. When Hurricane Josephine rips through Savannah, it leaves chaos, devastation, and death in its wake. One of those deaths was Dovey’s best friend, Carly. In the aftermath of the hurricane and the loss of her best friend, Dovey basically has a psychotic break and has to go on mind-numbing medication. She spends the next year living in a fog until she sees Carly and decides to go off the medication so she’ll know what’s real and what not.
I liked Dovey, even though I never really connected with her. I loved that she was a loyal friend and wanted to figure out what was going on so her best friend could be at peace. As much as I liked her, I wanted to shake her on numerous occasions; she was constantly putting herself in dangerous situations. She was impulsive and sometimes downright stupid. Also, most people would have been horrified and traumatized by the things she saw, but at times she barely had any reaction.
Servants of the Storm was filled with great descriptions. You could see the decay, smell the rot, see how post-Josephine Savannah had turned into a place of squalor, dark shadows, and sinister beings. Everything was easy to picture, which often added to the creep-factor of the book, because a lot of the things that happened were so horrific.
I wouldn’t say there was ‘a romance’ in this novel. There were hints of romance, and a kinda-sorta love triangle, but Dovey was so focused on her mission, nothing ever really developed romantically. I liked Baker and Isaac a lot - each of them had great qualities, and they were good to Dovey. I appreciated that it didn’t turn into one of those stories where the heroine is deeply immersed in the action and mystery one minute, but then it turns into a soppy romance where she can’t function without the boy’s help. Dovey maintained her independence, and while one of the guys was often with her, it wasn’t because she needed them.
Overall, Servants of the Storm was a compelling read. It had a great concept, and I think Dawson did a good job executing it. As of right now, I’m not seeing on GoodReads that there’s a sequel, but after the total mindf*ck ending, I sure hope there is! Be sure to give this book a chance if you like eerie, twisted paranormal or horror stories with lots of mystery.(less)
Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend was a fast-paced, funny comedy of errors about the ultimate revenge and trying to make amends for past wrong doings.
This book was compulsively readable. Even though I was pretty sure I had things figured out from the beginning, I stayed up until 2am to finish it because I just couldn’t put it down, and I had to know what happened. And even though my guesses were right, there was still a feeling of shock when everything was revealed. Finn weaved a tight story full of laughably horrible situations, accidents, and sticky situations.
One downside to the story for me was that I didn’t connect with the characters. I liked Gemma, but for some reason I just couldn’t connect with her. It felt like she never went past being the girl who was trying to make amends. We didn’t get to know much about her beyond her horrific behaviour as an 11-year-old and how she was trying to make up for it now. We didn’t get to know much about any of the other characters either, so it was hard to connect with them.
Then there was the ending. Gah! We don’t often see cliffhanger endings in contemporary stories, but it worked for this book. Things could play out in a number of ways in the next book, and I’m curious to see how everything gets resolved, and what fresh drama Finn will come up with for her characters.
If you’re looking for a quick, highly entertaining contemporary story with a summery setting and plenty of teenage drama, give Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend a try!(less)
I’ve always loved Peter Pan and anything even remotely related to Neverland. I love the idea of a magical place where children go when they don’t want to grow up. I never thought I’d be able to accept anything where Pan was made out to be the villain, until this past season of Once Upon a Time. They took the legend of Peter Pan and turned it on its head in the most amazing, sinister, heartbreaking way, and I loved it. That, and Captain Killian Hook from OUAT, made me even more interested in all things Neverland. I jumped at the chance to read Alias Hook, a story that seemed to turn Neverland and its inhabitants into characters that were familiar in one way but also completely new.
I loved Alias Hook from the first few pages. Beautifully written, compelling, and completely captivating, this book - and Captain James Benjamin Hookbridge - stole my heart in a completely unexpected way. Narrated by Hook himself, the well-known ‘villain’ of Neverland, we get to see his side of things. I was surprised by his patience and kindness, his humour and intelligence. I never thought I’d be even remotely okay with Peter Pan being portrayed as a villain, but Jensen wrote this book in a way that made it completely plausible. I sympathized with Hook at every turn, and desperately wanted him to find a way to defeat that horrible, insolent, spoiled little brat Pan. (Side note: Don’t get me wrong; I still love Peter Pan in general, but I was able to separate my lifelong view of him as a capricious, harmless youngster for the sake of this particular story).
Throughout the book, I felt like I was right there with Hook. I would imagine writing a story set in Neverland would be pretty daunting, but Jensen did a fantastic job. The setting was lush, and the characters leapt of the pages. I loved that so many different aspects of the original story were worked into the book and had their own unique spin - the mermaids, the fairies, the Indians, Hook’s crew. This book made me laugh, made my heart ache, made me swoon, and it even made me cry. It was sexy in ways I didn’t expect, and I loved that.
Alias Hook is a fairytale for adults. It’s for those of us who never stopped believing in magic, and maybe even still indulge in a game of make-believe from time to time. I fell head over heels in love with Hook, and I never wanted his story to end. This book touched me deeply, and got its hooks firmly in my heart (heh heh, sorry I had to!). If you enjoy fantasy, romance, adventure, and magic, Alias Hook is a must read. (less)
Lucy Clarke’s debut novel, Swimming at Night, was one of my favourite reads of 2013. From the moment I finished reading it, I was eager for Lucy’s next book, and I was excited when I found out about A Single Breath. Lucy has a knack for writing stories that are beautiful, haunting, and memorable.
I was a bit wary when I discovered this book was told in third person present tense, something I’m not normally a fan of at all. I usually find it jarring, and I end up feeling separate from the story, sort of like an outsider looking in. That being said, Lucy Clarke is such a fantastic storyteller, I never found myself outside the story. A Single Breath captivated me within the first page, and I felt like I was right there with Eva as she went on her emotional and physical journey.
I really liked Eva. I found it easy to relate to and sympathize with her. She loved her husband very much and was happy with her life, but when Jackson died and the truth about his past started unraveling, I really felt her confusion, hurt, and anger. It was alternately heartbreaking and inspiring watching her grieve for Jackson. With each new revelation about his past, I wished I were there to hug her. I loved the roles her best friend, Callie, and Jackson’s brother, Saul, played in the story. They were both good to and for her, and I thought they were strong secondary characters.
A Single Breath isn’t a mystery novel, but there’s a mystery woven throughout the story. I found myself constantly wondering what was going to happen and what the next shocking revelation would be. There were little hints throughout, and even when I figured out a couple things, there was part of me that was still shocked when the truth actually came out.
A Single Breath is another must read from Lucy Clarke. Set against a beautiful Tasmanian backdrop, this is a story with a lot of real, deep emotion, a quiet romance, and memorable characters. I’m excited to see what Lucy Clarke comes up with next. (less)
I’ll admit that when I read the synopsis of My Soon-to-be Sex Life, I was equal parts shocked and curious. I thought it takes a lot of balls (in a good way) for an author to write a book like this, since sex + teenagers often equals controversy. I was curious how the subject matter would be handled, and while I didn’t love this book, I appreciated the overall message.
Charlie is a fiery, sarcastic, smart-mouthed teenage girl on a mission to lose her virginity. She has all the pieces to the puzzle, she just can’t quite figure out how to get them all together. When her mom checks herself into rehab and sends Charlie to live with her grandfather, her plans gets derailed.
Besides the humour, the thing I liked best about this book was how realistic Charlie was. She was far from perfect, she made mistakes, she did and said stupid things. She was completely believable. Nobody at that age has things figured out, especially when dealing with as much as Charlie was. I liked her best friend and her mom’s best friend, and thought they were nice additions. Eric was just okay for me. Their relationship fell flat for me, and I just couldn’t get invested in it. I wasn’t completely sure what either of them saw in each other. My favourite relationship was the one between Charlie and her grandfather. They were a great match - each of them said what they thought, and the snarky conversations they had were hilarious.
This book sort of felt like a bunch of random events thrown together. Some of them made sense, some of them not so much. There were a few things that were never really explained. Why did Charlie’s mom hate her dad so much? Why was Charlie in such a hurry to lose her virginity? Those were two main plot points, but they were never explained.
Overall, My Soon-to-be Sex Life was cute and funny. It fell flat for me in several areas, but Charlie’s spunk and sass made up for a lot of it. If you’re looking for a book with unique characters and an atypical storyline, this book might be for you.(less)
I read (and loved) The Great Gatsby in high school, so when I heard about Sara Benincasa’s Great - a modern day retelling of The Great Gatsby where the characters were teens - I knew I had to read it. While I ended up with some mixed feelings about this book, I thought it was overall a good attempt at retelling a well-known classic.
I loved how Benincasa worked in all the Gatsby characters, but with a twist - Naomi as Nick the narrator, Jacinta as Jay Gatsby, Delilah as Daisy. I thought it was really clever. Naomi lived with her dad during the year, but spent the summers with her mother (a Martha Stewart type) in the Hamptons. She leads a regular life with her dad in Chicago, but in the Hamptons she has to live up to her mother’s standards by dressing a certain way, acting a certain way, and being friends with the ‘right people’. Naomi was against it all at first, and didn’t want to be part of the superficial lifestyle lead by everyone around her, but she slowly got sucked into that world.
I had a soft spot for Jacinta, just as I did for Jay in The Great Gatsby. Despite coming across as very sophisticated and worldly, she had this innocence and naivety about her. She was so desperate for people to like her, and she wanted to please people at any cost. She had a sweet, childlike quality to her that made it hard for me not to like her.
Benincasa did a great job of modernizing a classic. I liked that technology played a big part, showing how it can be a wonderful thing or a person’s downfall. As someone who read and loved The Great Gatsby, I enjoyed watching how things played out, and how Benincasa twisted the original in a creative and compelling way while still holding true to the heart of the story.
Ultimately, Great is one of those books that’s sort of fun and frivolous. I love really dramatic reality TV, and that’s what this book felt like a lot of the time - lots of drama and intrigue, people with more money than brains, broken hearts, broken friendships, lies, and betrayal. Not a whole lot actually happened until toward the end of the book, but it was mostly a fun ride getting there. Retelling such a well-known classic - one that’s had several movie adaptations (the Paul Rudd as Nick version is my personal favourite) - was ambitious, and I think Benincasa did a really good job. As a retelling, it has a lot of appeal, but I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I weren’t familiar with the original. (less)
I really enjoyed No One Needs to Know. Olivia and Zoey were both complex characters, and I enjoyed their separate stories, and also how t...more3.5-ish stars
I really enjoyed No One Needs to Know. Olivia and Zoey were both complex characters, and I enjoyed their separate stories, and also how their lives intertwined. There was a part of me that knew I should be upset because cheating isn’t okay, and a love triangle involving twin brother and sister should be weird, but…I just couldn’t get too upset over it. I knew it was wrong, and I wouldn’t condone it in real life, but somehow it worked for the purpose of the book.
Olivia and Zoey weren’t what they seemed - to each other or to themselves. They were stuck in the roles they thought they had to play, for whatever reason, and didn’t know or think they could be anything different. They seemed like the typical snotty rich/mean girl, and the ‘charity case’ with a chip on her shoulder. And while they did fit into those roles at times, they were both so much more. They learned a lot about themselves and each other through the course of the book, and I really enjoyed watching their growth. I loved seeing how they surprised each other, and how that surprise turned into admiration and then something more.
No One Needs to Know had a bit of everything. There were sweet, touching moments, funny moments, romantic moments, moments that made me mad (usually on behalf of one of the characters), and moments that made me nod my head in approval as I watched the girls evolve. This book won’t be for everyone - I’ve already seen people saying they had major issues with the love triangle - but I found it entertaining and compelling. (less)
One Man Guy had me laughing from the first page. It was a really cute, different coming-of-age and coming out story.
Alek was funny, smart, sarcastic, and for the most part, he knew what he wanted. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for the things he believed in, which I liked. His parents were pretty old school and he had a seemingly perfect know-it-all brother he had a lot to live up to, and while he tried his hardest, he also wanted to have a normal life with some fun and some of the things he wanted. He was realistically flawed, making him easy to root for.
There were some really great aspects of this book: diverse characters, a unique LGBT storyline, and New York City. I really enjoyed learning about Armenian culture and food. I liked how Alek’s heritage was a big part of the book because it was such a big part of who he was. I loved that this wasn’t a typical LGBT story. A lot of the LGBT books I’ve read seem to have similar storylines, mostly best friends suddenly discovering they have feelings for each other. The coming out process is either really easy or super angsty, but One Man Guy was somewhere in between, and I liked that. Everyone’s coming out experience is difference, and I thought Alek’s journey of self-discovery was realistic and well done. As for New York City…I love books set there. One Man Guy wasn’t actually set there, but Alek and Ethan ventured into the city a few times, and I felt like I was right there with them.
When I found out Alek was only 14, I had reservations about reading One Man Guy. I love YA and most of the books I read are YA, but 14 is a bit young for my taste. It’s a long time since I was 14, plus my nephew is almost 12, which isn’t that much of a difference, and I don’t like thinking about my nephew dating (even though he does) and getting serious, and maybe doing some of the other things characters do in books. Most of the time, it was hard to believe Alek was that young, and at times when I remembered he was only 14 I would shake my head. I know kids are advanced these days, but it felt inconsistent because Alek would act like a sullen 14-year-old one minute and then he’d act much older.
Despite enjoying the LGBT storyline itself, I didn’t really feel the relationship between Alek and Ethan. For some reason, I had trouble investing in it and connecting to it. I liked Ethan for the most part, but I would have liked to see more from him than just the gay skateboarder kid who liked music and NYC. I appreciated that he drew Alek out of his shell and made him take chances, but there’s a difference between drawing someone out and being a bad influence, and I could never quite decide which side of the line Ethan fell on. Also, some of the dialogue between the two was awkward, and the slang Ethan used was distracting at times.
Overall, I enjoyed One Man Guy. It was laugh-out-loud funny, mostly realistic, and at times touching. I would recommend it for fans of YA, especially those looking for a good LGBT book, diverse characters, and a unique storyline.(less)
Whenever I find out a book I truly loved is getting a sequel, I’m equal parts excited and wary. I adored Nantucket Blue, and hoped Ms Howland would write a sequel. I figured if she did write one, it would be from Jules’s perspective, since she seemed to have a story of her own to tell. When I found out my hunch about a sequel was right, but that it would continue from Cricket’s perspective, I was thrilled, but I’ll admit to being slightly worried. I was afraid Nantucket Red wouldn’t live up to Nantucket Blue, a book that broke my heart and stitched it back together again and made me swoon repeatedly.
I didn’t need to worry. Simply put, Nantucket Red was incredible. It was great to reconnect with Cricket, Jules, Zack, and Liz, and meet a variety of new, equally memorable characters. These characters were so real, I felt like I was right there with them, experiencing their triumphs, heartache, and mishaps.
There was so much to love about Nantucket Red. Besides wonderfully complex characters who experienced a lot of growth, the writing was fantastic, the setting was rich, and there was so much humour, romance, and heart. There were moments that had me laughing myself silly, moments where my heart broke, moments that made my heart soar, and moments of pure pleasure where I couldn’t stop smiling. I’ll admit to ugly crying toward the end - not because anything sad happened, but because I was so damn proud of these characters and their growth, and I was sad to say goodbye to them.
Cricket had some really tough life lessons to learn through the course of Nantucket Red - lessons about love, heartbreak, family and friends, and the sometimes-terrifying real life stuff that comes after graduating high school. I connected with her story so much because it felt so authentic. Cricket always knew what she wanted to do in life, she had goals, and she worked hard. I admired her so much for that. But when things became unclear and she had moments of doubt about a future that had always been certain, I wanted to hug her tight, and I always wanted to hug Ms Howland for creating a character like Cricket, who experienced the ups and downs, uncertainties, and fears that often come along with that time in a person's life. I kept thinking 'YES, this is real life, this is what it’s all about, it’s messy and frightening and you don’t always have the answers'.
There’s so much more I could say about Nantucket Red. I could gush for hours. It all comes down to one thing, though: read this book. This is contemporary YA/NA at its finest. It’s honest and real and funny and sweet and beautiful. These characters and their stories have a very special place in my heart, and they won’t soon be forgotten.
Dark Metropolis was not what I was expecting, but in a (mostly) good way. It was original, fast-paced, and wonderfully creepy.
The synopsis makes it seem like the book is Thea’s story, but Thea was only one of three main characters, the others being Nan and Freddy. Each of them had a major role to play in Dark Metropolis, and the story was told from all three of their perspectives. I thought this would get confusing, but it never did, and I actually enjoyed getting to see things from each of their points of view. While I liked all three characters, I never really connected to any of them, which made it hard to connect to or invest emotionally in the story at times.
While parts of the story felt like they were glossed over - world building and some plot points - the plot was overall very original. It was fascinating and horrifying at the same time. I liked the different magical elements and the consequences of the magic. We were thrown into the story without much back-story or world building; it had a 1930s feel to it, and yet at times it felt futuristic. The lack of world building didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the book because the plot was strong enough to make up for it, but I did find myself asking questions throughout the story and never really getting answers to some of them.
Dark Metropolis is full of twists, surprises, and magic. It was gruesome at times, and had an overall feeling of something sinister lurking on the next page, ready to jump out at you from the dark. I think it could have stood on its own as a standalone, but apparently it’s the first in a series. I’m curious to see what happens to Nan, Freddy, and Thea next. (less)