ARC Review of Keep This To Yourself by Tom Ryan

I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

One year after a serial killer terrorized the small coastal town of Camera Cove, Mac is trying his best to move on. He has just graduated high school, reuniting with some of his childhood best friends to dig up a time capsule. One member of the friend group cannot be there because Connor was the final victim of the serial killer that has not been caught.

After going home, Mac decides to finally open up a bag of comics that Connor had left on his door on a day that ended up being the last day of Connor’s life. In there, Mac finds a small note that tells him that Connor may have actively been investigating the serial killer.

Instead of moving on, Mac begins to investigate this. Under the guise of seeking items for a rummage sale, he begins to make contact with each of the victim’s families to search for clues that the police may have missed.

This was so good. YA thrillers have always tended to be a hit or miss for me, but the YA thrillers that are getting published within the last couple of years have all been outstanding. Keep This To Yourself manages to explore the obsessive nature of unsolved crime, the early beginnings of a romance, and the uncertainty of the summer after high school graduation. The main character is also gay, and it’s nice to read a thriller where that’s the case. (This is still a great rarity!)

If you have read Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig and loved it, you will definitely love this one. Similarly, if you have read The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas and loved it, you will definitely love this one too.

Keep This To Yourself comes out May 7, 2019.

Preorder links:

IndieBound

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

ARC Review of The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin

I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Dead Queens Club was pitched as Mean Girls meets The Tudors and as a modern retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives, except Henry is now a high school senior and it’s his six girlfriends.

There will definitely be readers that love this one. Unfortunately, I did not. The book struggled with two main things: characterization and pacing.

This is a very lengthy debut for a contemporary: 464 pages. If a YA contemporary is going to be this length, it needs to have excellent pacing. This story did not. At times, the story dragged out, and the death alluded to in the summary doesn’t happen until more than a third of the way through the book. When this character dies, it was treated as an “oh well, that happened” by the main character Cleves even though Cleves called that character one of her two best friends. The only exploration of grief from the loss of a friend is from Parker, Cleves’ friend. Parker is far more interesting and more hellbent on revenge, convinced that Henry was responsible for that death as well as two previous deaths, and that’s what drives the rest of the story.

As for the main character Annie “Cleves,” this is where characterization seems to be a particular struggle. In a throwaway line, we learn that Cleves was adopted and is Chinese. She has a sister who is mentioned only a few times and is almost never seen on page despite living together. Cleves is infatuated with Henry and is unsure of what she wants to do for college. She also is very much into breaking down the different standards for the female gender. And that’s about it. Her character is very one-dimensional, and I felt very apathetic towards her because the author never gave me much of a reason to be rooting for her or to even care about her.

If I had not been approved for the eARC, I wouldn’t have finished this.

So much potential but fell flat.