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Smoke and Key

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  459 ratings  ·  190 reviews
A sound awakens her. There's darkness all around. And then she's falling...

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she's dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Entangled Teen
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  459 ratings  ·  190 reviews

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Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Before I begin let’s just have a moment to appreciate the cover on this one, two thumbs up for the creator it’s probably one of my favorites so far this year. Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton is a young adult fantasy read that is one of those that has a bit of mystery and a bit of romance in the mix too.

The story begins with a girl falling into a mysterious dark cavern and not knowing where or even what she is. She meets a boy named Smoke who begins to explain that she is dead and has fallen out o
Umairah | Sereadipity
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Plot: 4/5 Characters: 4/5 Writing: 4/5

Smoke and Key was a creepy yet intriguing novel that captivated me from the very first sentence.

The book was about a girl who was dead but fell down from her grave into a mysterious world called 'Under'. She didn't know why she was there, she didn't have any memories of her life before Under and she couldn't even remember her own name. The only possession she had on her was a key, so she called herself Key. All the other residents of Under were named after t
Melanie (mells_view)
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
“I suppose some things don’t have a proper explanation. They just are.”

You guys. Smoke and Key is such an amazing read! It’s like this suspenseful historical YA paranormal with a magical morbid feel to it. A genre mouthful I realize. While reading I kept thinking if The Wizard of Oz & the movie Clue had a love child in the early 1900’s and gave birth in a magical graveyard, then this book would be that baby. There’s a smidge of romance, but Smoke and Key is a highly plot driven story. We are fo
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
4.5 Stars!
If there is one thing I love more in this genre than anything else, it is originality and Smoke and Key is packed full of it.

It is utterly unique and utterly engaging. From the very first creeptastic chapter I was hooked and couldn't wait to read more.

I absolutely loved the imaginative world of the Under. The characters, the setting, how it all came about slowly through memories and trials. Truly this story was so well done and so irresistible and hard to put down. A truly imaginative
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star-reads
3 Stars!!

Smoke and Key begins with a girl falling out of her grave into a dark bottomless pit. As she struggles to come to terms with where she is, she starts to meet a group of others who share her fate and with no knowledge of what caused them to fall below into what they call "under".

She comes across a boy claiming to be no one, which makes her head spin. He then tells her that's she's dead. But she cant be dead. She sets off to uncover the secrets of the past with the hope of finding l
Schizanthus Nerd
“You’re dead, darlin’. This isn’t hell, but it’s the next best thing.”
She hears a voice imploring her to wake up. She falls and finds herself surrounded by dirt. In Under she meets a group of strangers whose bodies are in different stages of decomposition. While they can all remember general knowledge they do not remember anything personal from their lives. Each awoke with an item that was buried with them, an item that helps their owner decide their Under name.

The girl who wakes at the begin
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Death, lost love, walking corpses, corsets, propriety, falling from graves, curious momentous and magic.


The spooky Historical Romance that your Gothic little heart was searching for.


Smoke and Key was just as beautiful, dark, sorrowful and mysterious as I’d hoped it would be.
Kelsey Sutton is Queen when it comes to ingenious and creatively mind-bending YA plots. She brings fantasy to life and completely astounds me with her imaginative ideas for books. Countdown clocks to death in Garde
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Smoke and Key is an interesting mysterious read and I know my review isn’t going to do it justice. It’s set in a dystopian world and has a tainted edge. It’s dark and has a twist.

Imagine waking up in a place close to death. Everyone has lost their memory and your body feels undead. The name given to you links to the object given to you in your new skin. Key is new to the dystopian world but she’s also different. She is the start of the cracks. Everyone has a story but nobody can remember how it
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Smoke and Key was better than I expected it to be. It was like all of Tim Burton's movies were combined into this book (or that was the feeling I was getting - deal with it). This also sort of spoke to my own super dark soul because I just loved everything about it.

Enter a world, where dead people are kind of alive. Kind of like zombies.. but not really. They are alive in the form of their body that they died in - sounds ki
Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

The Buzz

I first read a Kelsey Sutton book when I first started as a book blogger. It was an intriguing premise, well executed and enjoyable. I loved the fusion nature of the story between slice of life, mystery, action and light romance. When I read my next Sutton book I really fell hard for the characters and was totally sucked into that mystery too. When I learned she had another standalone out I knew I HAD to read it... and now I considered
ʙᴇʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.
Smoke & Key was probably the most Tim Burton-ish book I've ever had the pleasure to read. (I listened to Corpse's Bride OST while reading this and geez, it really set up the mood!). It starts with a dead girl waking up in her grave and falling into 'Under', a world where some Dead people live but not in ghost form but in body, exactly as they died, some even already decomposing (Basically, think of Burton's Corpse Bride). No one had memories of their former lives so they name themselves with pos ...more
Kelsey Sutton
Feb 04, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Update on September 12th, 2018:

The truly incredible Salome Totladze sent me the completed character portrait I commissioned from her. I can't stop staring at it. She got Smoke and Key so right.

Smoke and Key
Sarah (thegirltheycalljones)
Err... I don't know, mate. I picked it up completely oblivious it was mainly romance. For my defense it was one in the morning and I didn't have my glasses on.

The main idea is great, imo, and this book would have benefited from being less romance and more mystery. Now, don't get me wrong as there is quite a lot of mystery around but even the mysteries are romance-related, so...
Overall, I had the feeling of something that could have been. Something - if explored deeper, taking its time to create
Erin Arkin
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
I was intrigued when I read the summary of Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton and that seems to be the trend with her books. I find that her stories have an interesting twist that grabs my attention and so far, I haven’t been disappointed.

The story begins with an unknown character falling and finding herself in a place where she has no recollection of who she is, why she is dead (yes…dead), and what the key around her neck means. Everyone who has fallen to Under has one identifier and as the main ch
Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)
Reread in final audiobook version in 2021 (review for eARC below)

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kelsey Sutton sucked me right into Smoke and Key.
I thought Smoke and Key would be a fascinating murder mystery set underground with the dead. But as I got in the story, I discovered I was so so wrong. From early in the novel, Sutton sucks me into the world of Under. Key wak
Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
Book provided by Entangled Teen for review. RTC
Lili  Marcus
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story opens with a dead girl who fell down from her grave into a world called Under. She has no recollection of her past or why she fell down. She didn’t even know that she’s dead. The only thing that connects her with her past is a key in a chain around her neck, so eventually she was named Key. As everyone else in Under, she’s named after the only possession she has with her. In Under, she met Smoke, Doll, Journal, Ribbon, Tintype and others. All of them had bodies that looked like they al ...more
Raven_Blake (dreamy addictions)
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars!
Same Review Also Posted On My Blog: Dreamy Addictions

*eARC received from the publisher Via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Smoke And Key is a stand-alone novel written by Kelsey Sutton. It was a very unique read set in historical time period. The concept of the book was very dark and intriguing. I loved the mystery aspect in this book, but as for the romance part I’ve mixed feelings about it. Other than that, this was an engaging read and I really enjoyed
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**You can see this full review and more at Book Briefs:**
Smoke and Key is a young adult paranormal by author Kelsey Sutton. First off, I have to just point out how crazy beautiful the cover is. I was immediately drawn in because of it, but then the mysterious summary really hooked me. I had to know what Smoke and Key was all about. And talk about starting the book off with a bang. The first chapter was completely creepy and spooky and set the stage for a haunting and myste
Stay Fetters
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
"You’re dead, darlin’. This isn’t hell, but it’s the next best thing."

It’s no secret that I’m intrigued by all things dark and morbid. (I know! Shocking!) The afterlife is something that I sit and ponder about from time to time. No one really knows what happens when we die but I like to think we get reunited with loved ones. Kelsey gives us another look at what may happen to certain people in the afterlife and it’s wild.

A girl wakes up disoriented and in the dark. She fell through a hole in the
Julia (ten_thousand_books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kira Simion
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Was it unique? No. But was it enjoyable? Yes.
Did the romance have to have a triangle? No, definitely rooted for the two without that extra tidbit and it just made me sad when the other guy was left out because who wants to be on that side at the end of that?
Will I remember it? Vaguely. I enjoyed the murder mystery because it had more than just running around finding a killer. They were also trying to find themselves and, though not as deep as I thought (but is fantasy like this supposed to be?),
Nicole M. Hewitt
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction. Also on the blog is a list of Kelsey Sutton's Top Ten Addictions!

One woman’s choices in life follow her into the afterlife … and she can’t escape the consequences without unraveling the truth of her past.

What Fed My Addiction:

Creepy and atmospheric.
The book takes place Under, which is a creepy afterlife that’s literally under the graveyard. All of the characters show signs of their deaths–often quite gruesome–and th
Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
Flash Book Review: A dark, atmospheric afterlife story with a dash of romance. Exactly my kind of weird.


I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley from the publishers at Entangled Publishing, LLC. Trigger warnings: death, body horror, eye horror, violence, blood.

When Key falls into Under, a world of dirt and forgotten objects, she has no memory of who she is or why she’s dead. All she has is the scar on her back and a key around her neck. All the residents of Under are named for the objects th
 Vanessa  B. ♡
Smoke and Key is one of the books that I am not quite sure how to rate. I settled for 3 stars.

The book begins with a girl falling from her grave to what is called Under. There she meets other people that experienced the same thing and she discovers that no one remembers anything from their previous lives, not even their names. A boy informs her that she should pick a name and that the rest of them has chosen theirs from an object they found on them. He is Smoke she is Key. As the story unfolds K
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

This is one of those books you just wish you had time to read sooner. Unfortunately we will never read every book we want to, but I'm so glad I found the time to get into this one, because I adored it. It had like a Coraline vibe to it; our main character wakes in a grave, only to fall through the earth into a dingy kind of hell below. Named only by the objects they possess, Key must work out why she's the only one with me
J. Greene
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I rather enjoyed this unique fantasy. It was unlike anything I've ever read and it's a book I won't soon forget.

Key is in under. Under Earth? In hell? In between hell? We're not sure. But she's just fallen from her grave into another world. She's dead and the only clue she has to her former life is a key that lies around her neck.

The "Under" world was an intriguing yet scary and beautiful place. This in-between world with dead people living and not breathing was one I found very thrilling. I ado
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ahh I really loved this book! Has a Tim Burton feel to it! I was instantly captivated and had to know what would happen next. Very quick read and lots of fun!
Isabelle | Nine Tale Vixen
I received a review copy through YA Bound Book Tours. This does not affect my rating or opinions. You can find my blog tour post here.

“You’re dead, darlin’. This isn’t hell, but it’s the next best thing.”

The premise and setting of this book are so unique, and it really comes through; Under is super creepy, with kind of a Tim Burton-esque cast, and I personally didn’t find the descriptions too graphic (YMMV). For me this was definitely the biggest draw, and I’m also intrigued by the idea of disti
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Thoughts:

Smoke And Key was a unique story. It begins with "Key," hearing a voice urging her frantically to "Please wake up." She finds herself lying down in darkness, and starts to panic when she realizes she is trapped inside of a casket. As she tries to break out by hitting, kicking, and screaming, she finds herself falling to down below. She soon learns that she is in a place where nobody has memories of their names, or their pasts; including herself. Instead, everyone refers to themselves
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Kelsey Sutton is a young adult and middle grade author. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She recently earned a master's degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not wr ...more

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