Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (★★★★☆)
Flynn’s debut novel is a somewhat predictable thriller starring damaged narrator Camille Preaker, a journalist who returns to her hometown — and her even more damaged family — to report on a missing child and a recent child murder. Super dark and incredibly disturbing, Sharp Objects is not for the faint of heart. Trigger warnings for cutting, suicide, child murder, animal abuse, child abuse, and pretty much everything in between.
Vox by Christina Dalcher (★★★★☆½)
Described as The Handmaid’s Tale for a new era, Vox takes place in a horrifying near future where women are limited to 100 words a day. Similar to Atwood’s tale, Dalcher’s America turns downright dystopian when it’s taken over by an ultra religious political party, with women quickly losing the right to work, read, or own property. While a little rushed toward the end, I had a hard time putting down this cautionary tale, which draws very obvious parallels to our current political climate.
the mermaid’s voice returns in this one by Amanda Lovelace (★★★★☆)
The third and final poetry collection in the women are some kind of magic series is here, and comes complete with individual poetry from 13 of Lovelace’s peers. While I enjoyed this collection — which once again delves into Lovelace’s painful past — I found it to be the weakest of the three, with the witch doesn’t burn in this one, followed closely by the princess saves herself in this one being my top two.Read More »
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager (★★★★☆½)
The suspenseful follow-up to Final Girls tells the story of Emma, another survivor of trauma (Sager’s forte). 15 years after the disappearance of her Camp Nightingale cabin mates, Emma returns to the hoity-toity summer camp to learn what happened to Vivian, Natalie, and Allison all those years ago. Perfect for fans of psychological thrillers, Sager’s latest novel will keep you guessing (and screaming) until the very last page. Adapt this for the big screen, please and thanks.
I Am Not Your Final Girl by Claire C. Holland (★★★★☆)
This debut collection from Claire C. Holland combines two of my favorite things: feminist poetry and fictional final girls. Written in response to the 2016 election and the #MeToo movement (among other unfathomable goings on in the world), Holland’s poems explore the perspective of 40 female horror film survivors throughout the decades. Deeply unapologetic, this debut collection is a fitting tribute to final girls and the society that shapes them.
You by Caroline Kepnes (★★★★★)
Kepnes’ debut thriller is an incredibly disturbing novel about obsession in the social media age, including the unhealthy fixation we have with curating our own online personas. Full disclosure, I should not have enjoyed this dark and deranged novel told in the second person as much as I did. And I especially should not have been rooting for the charming, literary loving stalker/kidnapper/murderer the entire time. But here we are. Insert Sorry Not Sorry joke here.
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas (★★★★☆½)
Everyone’s favorite smutty couple is back in this lengthy novella that bridges the gap between ACOWAR and the next — as of yet untitled — book in the ACOTAR series. While it was great to hang out with all my friends again, I think Maas spent too much time setting tiny things into motion for her next trilogy (wasn’t there enough of that in ACOWAR?) when all I wanted was 200 pages of Feysand fan fiction.
Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau (★★★☆☆½)
I had high hopes for Dividing Eden, a young adult novel whose premise promised to focus on an epic, backstabbing rivalry between two royal twins fighting over one throne. Unfortunately, the rivalry was far from believable thanks to a main character who suddenly becomes a murderous monster after one five-minute conversation at a party. It’s not really character development if it develops from nowhere.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (★★★★☆½)
Michelle McNamara is the queen of compulsively readable true crime. Sadly, she suddenly passed away before she could finish the first (of what should have been many) nonfiction books, leaving the novel to be finished by her two researchers. Despite this setback, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark still feels like a mostly complete look at the rapist and serial-killer McNamara dubbed the Golden State Killer. And a unique glimpse at the true crime author who was obsessed with discovering his identity.