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Ask the Dark

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  596 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Ask the Dark will keep you up all night, and its flawed, real hero will haunt your day. I wish I’d written it.” —Michael Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Gone and BZRK

Billy Zeets has a story to tell. About being a vandal and petty thief. About missing boys and an elusive killer. And about what happens if a boy who breaks all the rules is the only person who ca
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published April 7th 2015)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  596 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Billy Zeets finds out that his family is losing their house. His dad has been recently hurt and can no longer make the mortgage payments so the bank is foreclosing in 3 months. His older sister tells Billy he needs to do something. I mean don't all older sister's who refuse to get a job to help with anything tell their younger brother's to find a way to keep the house?

I don't much like sister-girls character.

What does dad do? He is depressed so I will give him that. He just starts to want b
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

“Isn’t that funny? All that stealing and never going to school. It’s what made it so you were outside a lot, seeing things nobody else saw. Hidden and secret things.”

This book is about to turn YA right on its ear.

Ask the Dark is Billy Zeets’ story. Literally. What you read is what he is telling into a handheld digital recorder. It’s the story of some missing neighborhood boys, and how Billy became an unlikely hero. It’s a
A dark young adult book told from the perspective of Billy Zeets. Billy is 14 years old and he comes from a family with financial struggles. Billy takes on all sorts of odd jobs in order to help his father save the house from repossession. While on a job, Billy makes a discovery that leads him to suspect a local man is responsible for a series of murders of young boys. Instead of contacting the local police (with which he's had a few run-ins himself), Billy decides to try to gather as much infor ...more
Told in the innocent voice of a young teen, a tale of loss, poverty, accidental heroics, and the truth of his feelings, the voice and heart of Billy Zeets come to life in through the eyes and heart of the main character. Ask the Ark by Henry Turner is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking as Billy recounts his life and events since the day he made a deathbed promise to his dying mother. Once a troublemaker, Billy has always been looked down upon by his peers as well as many adults who know of h ...more
I don't ever really read this genre, but I enjoyed Ask the Dark! I really liked the way the main character told the story!

Edited to include full review.

*I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for my honest review*

First Thoughts

I hardly ever read this genre, but I was delightfully surprised with Ask The Dark. I enjoyed how Henry Turner captured the voice and personality of Billy Zeets. I especially liked the way the story was told: Billy Zeets talking into a recorder and telling the story
Apr 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am the minority regarding this book. I thought this book was going to read like a horror story but it barely kept my interest or even kept me from falling asleep. No intrigue, no real scary moments, uninteresting characters, and tons of use of the "f" word.

After a while of reading this book and seeing that it was taking a long time to draw out to the murders and disappearances of the other boys, I skipped all the way to the last 4 chapters of the book. I read them to see how the story ended a
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this novel on NetGalley. I didn't know what to expect but I really enjoyed this book. I especially liked the way it was written in the voice of young Billy. The story was great and so were the characters. It would have been easy not to like Billy but from the beginning of the book you can't help but cheer for him and want to adopt him- or at least help him.

Great book by Henry Turner. I can't wait to read more by this author.
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Argh! I wrote the wrong title in my previous attempt with this book--How do I fix that?)

ASK THE DARK is one of the most gripping and compelling books out there. (actually will be out there)--not only did I have to know who the killer is but I had to discover how Billy figures it out and how he saves the victims. This is one of the creepiest books I have ever read.


So often in crime books, I'm screaming at the characters to just go to the police. There usually is some flimsy reason
Kerri (Book Hoarder)
Yay, nabbed this on Netgalley!! Hope it's good :)


Finally read this months later, and oh, I enjoyed it!

I have a weakness for dark and gritty YA, I have to admit. In this weird way, because the first time I read The Hunger Games I actually wasn't sure that I could finish it, yet I love books like this...

This was the perfect time of year to read this book, and I quite enjoyed it. Billy Zeets used to be a hellion of a child - until his mother died and he turned over a new leaf, determined to
Feb 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, ya
Billy is a 14 year old boy who is constantly in trouble. Ask the Dark is his retelling of the ways that he redeemed himself and his family for the whole town to see. This is Billy’s story.

This story starts at the end. Billy is some sort of hero for what he did, and so he proceeds to tell us the whole story. Kids have been disappearing and there is a curfew to try to keep everyone safe. Billy is a rule breaker, and a juvenile delinquent. He vandalizes and breaks in and steals from his neighborhoo
Linda Strong
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
14-year-old Billy Zeets is an unlikely hero. He's been a petty thief for several years, committed vandalism, skips school, essentially breaks all the rules.

He's angry that his mother died. His father is unable to work and so depressed he's barely alive. Billy's older sister is also acting out in unhealthy ways.

It is Billy's voice who tells us his story. Boys are going missing ... and being murdered. Billy's dream is not for himself .. it is something for his father. The reward for catching this
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Good story about a teenaged boy who fights the darkness in himself by turning his life around to help his family and his town catch a serial killer. Billy, the main character and narrator of the story, describes how he put all the pieces together and figured out who the killer was. I was initially put off by Billy's narration but I got used to it quickly because the story flowed so well and kept me occupied. It's definitely a book for mature young adults because of the serial killer aspect of th ...more
Feb 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-for-review
Definitely an interesting read because of the narration. You get used to it quickly and I was intrigued that we saw the whole story through Billy's eyes. I did have a hard time keeping track of some of the side characters. I appreciate how the purpose of the story was for Billy to solve the mystery and get the police to believe him based on his past, but I was hoping for more of a mystery for the reader.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
Ask the Dark is a fabulous read for a first novel. Although Ask the Dark is dubbed Young Adult, I found it fascinating. Billy is a troubled teen with past brushes with the law. Before his mother dies, Billy promises her to change his bad ways. Trouble starts when young boys begin disappearing. The body of one boys is discovered by Billy, and Billy decides to discover who the killer is. Told through Billy's voice, I found this to be a very powerful novel. Highly recommended.
Christian - Curious Quill
Short summary of the book:
Billy Zeets lives in a small town with a dark secret. Young boys have been going missing, and their bodies are not always turning up close to home. The town is filled with missing posters and absolutely no leads. Enacting a curfew and accusing an innocent are the only two things that the authorities have accomplished.
Billy is just trying to live his complicated life. Once a notorious thief, he has turned his life around in order to honor his mother’s dying wish of
Janie Johnson
I received this book through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This is a debut novel of the author and I was a little hesitant about that at first. This is a mystery and also classed as YA, but I am not sure as to why it would be YA because the language used in this books was pretty bad.

In this book we have a boy named Billy Zeets who has been less than perfect in the eyes of those in the community. Billy does not have a clean record, he has been know for stealing and trashing the com
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I hate dialect writing. It didn't work this time either. The "scuse my language" felt forced and off. I read it to the end because it was easy but it was like eating stale chips, they're not good but your too lazy to get up and get some good ones.
Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method)
[I received an ARC of this book.]

Not bad for a first book, but not exceptional.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal Response:
I thought Ask The Dark was a pretty good book to read. This was the first mystery book I had read in a while and I actually enjoyed. I usually don’t enjoy reading that much but this book had me hooked. The author did a great job of keeping you interested in the book. I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next.
Plot Summary:
Billy Zeets lived in a small town with a secret. Some young boys had gone missing and their bodies showed up far away from their home. The disappe
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went into this book not knowing anything about it and I have to say it did not disappoint! I truly loved every aspect of this book, the characters, the plot, the twists and turns, and the ending was everything and more. It was fantastic! Who knew the process of obtaining a fruit shop could be so difficult?
This is a YA thriller that initially sounds very promising - a good serial killer story is always appealing, But unfortunately, its execution really makes it a difficult read. The way it is written makes for a real hurdling block for connecting with any of the characters, let alone for the narrator. The vernacular style may feel authentic, but its grammatical errors make it a tough read. Maybe as an audiobook, this will be more successful, but to just read it really detracts from it being engagi ...more
Feb 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2015
I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review.

I thought the book was okay. I liked how this young boy tried to take care of his family and in the process solve the crime of missing boys.
This story is told through Billy and everything is told through his eyes and what is going on in the town. How he acts, how people portray him.
Billy is a young boy who comes from the "wrong" side of the tracks so to speak everyone in town knows who he is because he has found himself in trouble, or
Kristen Jett
Boys are going missing in Billy Zeets' town. And some of them are winding up dead.

Billy thinks he knows who the killer is - but he can't say anything. Who would believe him? He's usually on the wrong side of the law...and everyone knows he's desperately trying to make enough money to save his daddy's house. Who would believe him when there's 100K at stake?

But he does need the money. So he's going to prove this guy's the murderer. If he can. Can the boy who's always in trouble save the day?

This i
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-finished

Billy is known throughout his small town as a trouble maker. But now that his father told him they might lose their house, Billy is doing everything he can to make money in time to save it. That is, until boys start going missing.

Billy has his hand in a few odd jobs around the town, but has been so focused on saving his money that he didn't realize he had uncovered clues to who was kidnapping the boys. That is, until he is confronted by the kidnapper.

Ask the Dark will take you on a crazy j
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-fic
This book practically reads itself. I started it and then before I knew it, it was over. The voice is so unique and so believable, it makes me wonder whether this was a real person the author knew. I don't know how else you could come up with someone so convincing. This character is real and he has a voice that will get in your head. His observations were so honest and true, he's just one of those guys who gets it, even if the rest of the world doesn't get him. It only took a couple pages to get ...more
Maybe it’s because I lived in Los Angeles so long, but I find that filmmakers make great storytellers so I love reading their novels. The good ones have learned the art of cutting through all the superfluous stuff to get right to the heart of the story. Henry Turner’s debut novel, Ask the Dark, is a great example of that ability. It’s a novel about redemption which asks the question, “What would a teen who’s a known liar and petty criminal have to do to regain his community’s trust?” Ask the Dar ...more
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a YA thriller really a well-written and full of suspense. The story is narrated by a boy of 14 years old, grew up in a very difficult family: without a mother, an alcoholic father, a sister of only 16 years, pregnant and without a husband. His sister wants to sell the family home and Billy tries in every way to stop her. But to do so, he needs money. His thefts are not enough. When some boys disappear in the city, Billy begins to investigate. Maybe solve these cases will help him also to sa ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read--enjoyed it pretty well. I don't think it really pushed the protagonist far enough as THE BAD KID, given that the tension of the story sort of relies on his bad seed-ness. One touch I liked was how his accent was stylized--it was comprehensible and unique and unlike a lot of written dialect, it was not being used to belittle the character.

WARNING: the climax, taking its role as climax VERY SERIOUSLY, is extremely gruesome. Also probably avoid altogether if you don't want to read a bo
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many things to be said about being in the wrong place at the right time and the right place at the wrong time.That is what happens to Billy Zeets -a kid from the not so fortunate side of the tracks and sees things while out after dark that he shouldn't.He keeps thinking about them and puts two and two together and ends up being taken also and abused but also a hero for the strength he finds within himself to want to survive.Five stars for the book being also written in Billy's language ...more
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of a young boy named Billy who lives with his disabled father and sister. They are losing their home unless they come up with a substantial amount of money. In their town young boys are coming up missing and a body or two have been discovered. Our hero takes it upon himself to both pay off the family debt, buy his dad a fruit stand and at the same time solve the mystery of who is kidnapping and killing the boys. I was into it - I think this will be a big hit with teenaged boys ...more
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Henry Turner grew up in Baltimore Maryland, in Roland Park, an old neighborhood heralded, on a historical plaque outside its local shopping center, “The oldest planned Garden Suburb in the United States”. He went to public schools. He was always interested in storytelling in one form or another, and as a teenager he started making films with his brother and neighborhood kids.

Henry wound up making

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“Worst was this boy Billy Hill, he was in school with me. When the nun called out his name she done it last name first, so it come out Hill, Billy. Can you imagine that? Hillbilly.” 2 likes
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