Read this book with the lights on!
Now, this is a horror book! I’m taking another quick ARC break, to try to get in as many Halloween books as I can, and I was ready for something scary. YA horror is pretty popular right now, which I love, but I’ve found a lot of the books to be more creepy and gross as opposed to creepy and scary, which is the combo I’ve been looking for. Well, let’s just say that I made a big mistake of starting this book at 9 pm because this was finally the scary horror book I’ve been waiting for.
This is a story about a group of three girlfriends that are spending their summer vacation together. They live in one of the most haunted towns on earth, that regularly sees ghost hunting teams putting microphones in their faces. When a new girl comes to town, they instantly friend her but things take a sharp turn when they find out what her father does for a living. He was sent there to decide what should happen to the mine, the mine that most people blame for all the town’s paranormal activity and which has been sitting vacant since an explosion that killed many. While his studying of the mine seems to make it more powerful, the girls soon realize that to save themselves and maybe even the whole town, they must expose the mine’s secrets once and for all.
This is Ames debut and I was pretty floored by that. Her writing is excellent and it completely sucks you into this book. Not only was I totally creeped out, but I also knew I could not stop reading this book until I was finished. Like the mine that has its hooks in the town, this book had its hooks in me and there was no way I was not going to keep turning every page.
I’ve been reading as much YA horror -especially if it has sapphic characters- that I can get my hands on the past few years, but this was the first time I felt actually scared while reading. This reminded me of watching a scary movie where you want to hide your eyes behind the blanket just until the next scene. The setting of the mine was this terrifying character in itself. It was so well written about how it smelled and the heat and how it made the characters feel that I kept feeling wicked claustrophobic just sitting on my couch. This book definitely messed with my head, but in the best sort of horror entertainment way.
The characters were really great. The only one I didn’t connect with that much was the girl who moved into the town later. I liked her, but I felt more connected with the other three since they had an older bond. This book is in first person, so you have the biggest connection to Clem, but the other two friends had very unique voices so I didn’t miss not being in their POV. There was a tiny, baby sapphic romance starting. Clem has feelings for one of her friends and you see something very slowly developing. It was just enough to be cute and to give such a suffocating book at times, a breath of fresh air.
TLDR: An excellent debut and a well-done YA horror book. I have not felt this scared and creeped out reading a horror book in a few years. There is a tiny sapphic romance that is cute but it’s not a big part of the story. The characters are great and the mine is one of the spookiest characters I’ve read in a while. This book really delivered on its promises and it makes me excited to think of the kind of impressive book career that Ames has in front of her. Read this book with the lights on! 4.50 Stars.