Disturbing. Dark. Addictive.
Sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner fears she is losing her mind. When her family move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, Amanda hopes she can leave her haunting memories behind: of her sickly Ma giving birth to a terribly afflicted baby; of the cabin fever that claimed Amanda’s sanity; of the boy who she has been meeting in secret…
But the Verners arrive on the prairie to find their new home soaked in blood. So much blood. And Amanda has heard stories – about men becoming unhinged and killing their families, about the land being tainted by wickedness. With guilty secrets weighing down on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or within her soul.
The opening to this book really impressed me. I’ve been reading a lot of ‘lighter’ YA lately in an attempt to get through all the books I borrowed from the library (I have a problem… I’m working on it). So when I received this in the post thanks to MaximumPop! Books, I was totally psyched. Firstly, because this book has been on my ‘wish list’ for a while now, and secondly, it’s that time of year, you know? This felt like the perfect Halloween read.
Hoo boy, I wasn’t wrong.
The first few pages shocked me and grabbed me and I was hooked. I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting that to happen, I mean, I’ve read the blurb! But still, this book got me good.
It’s a short read, and I think that works both for and against it. The pace is quick, but I felt like I needed more time to really sink into Amanda’s character. The relationships between family members, however, were beautifully done. I thought the connection between sisters Emily and Amanda was especially well-writ.
The ending of this book floored me. Let me say, if you’re not into blood or horror than maybe (only maybe), you won’t like how this story works towards its conclusion.
Also, let me just say- it’s not set in the present day. This was neither here nor there for me, but I was expecting it to have a contemporary setting and I was surprised, not unpleasantly, to find it set… some time? Sorry, I’m not that clued up on American history to pinpoint it exactly. I did muse that it could actually be an alternative reality… it’s possible.
*tells overactive imagination to go back under its rock*
I wouldn’t call this book ‘scary’, but then I don’t scare easily from books. I think it’s because of how much control I feel I have as a reader, in general. I can scan, skip, re-read. Not like a film where you’re completely at the director’s mercy. There are some scenes within these pages, however, that I would call ‘haunting’ and they’re going to stick with me for a long time.
This book is graphic, but my gosh it is good. Clever penmanship.
Concept – 5/5
Plot – 3.5/5
Ending or Twist – 5/5
Overall – 4/5
(received from MaximumPop! Books for an honest review)