Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Book Reviews: The Bad Ones + My Throat an Open Grave


I recently read The Bad Ones and My Throat an Open Grave.  Check out my thoughts on these two young adult horror/fantasies below.  Spoiler alert: these were just average reads for me.

*eARCs provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  I am an Amazon and Bookshop.org affiliate so I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase through one of my links

The Bad Ones
Pub Date: February 20, 2024 (Flatiron Books)
Genre: YA Fantasy, Horror
Setting: Illinois, small town, present day
*Check out content warnings here

Book Links:

Also by this author:  The Hazel Wood; Our Crooked Hearts

Book Blurb (Goodreads):
In the course of a single winter’s night, four people vanish without a trace across a small town. Nora’s estranged best friend, Becca, is one of the lost. As Nora tries to untangle the truth of Becca’s disappearance, she discovers a darkness in her town’s past, as well as a string of coded messages Becca left for her to unravel. These clues lead Nora to a piece of local folklore: a legendary goddess of forgotten origins who played a role in Nora and Becca’s own childhood games...


I read Melissa Albert’s Hazel Wood series a while back and I liked those books so I was excited to read her latest young adult fantasy.  I was really intrigued by the premise of this book- four people vanish from the same small town in one night, the main character’s best friend is one of the people that goes missing, and there’s this strange town lore involving a creepy childhood game.  It sounded like a book I would really enjoy.  While I did like Albert’s writing, I thought the story was not that memorable.  To be honest, I read this a month ago and I don’t remember much about it.  I do remember I was left with many questions by the end and I was not a fan of the ending.  Also, the characters seemed really young.  I think younger teens would enjoy this book.  Unfortunately, this book was not for me.



My Throat an Open Grave
Pub Date: February 20, 2024 (Page Street)
Genre: YA Fantasy, Folk Horror 
Setting: Pennsylvania small town, present day
*Check out content warnings here

Book Links: 

Goodreads | StoryGraph | Amazon | Bookshop

Also by this author:  The Devil Makes Three; Not Good For Maidens

Book Blurb (Goodreads):

Labyrinth meets folk horror in this darkly romantic tale of a girl who wishes her baby brother away to the Lord of the Wood. Growing up in the small town of Winston, Pennsylvania feels like drowning. Leah goes to church every Sunday, works when she isn’t at school, and takes care of her baby brother, Owen. Like every girl in Winston, she tries to be right and good and holy. If she isn’t the Lord of the Wood will take her, and she’ll disappear like so many other girls before her.


This book started off strong.  The main character, Leah’s, baby brother is kidnapped and taken by the Lord of the Wood.  Leah has to get her brother back and no girl has ever returned once leaving the town.  This small town is led by these religious zealots and the whole vibe of the town is creepy af.  I was definitely getting The Village vibes in the beginning of this story.  I was hoping this would be a mysterious, horror-filled book, but it ended up being way too romance/crush/googly-eyes heavy and I just didn’t care what happened to any of the characters by the end.  There were some paranormal moments that I liked, but overall, this was a disappointing read for me.  I do think a fantasy loving teen or fans of Labyrinth will devour this book though.



Thanks For Reading!

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