Review: You’re Next by Kylie Schachte

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★★½

Jimmy Patterson Books | 2020

Opening Hook: The first rule of teenage fight club is…

Main Character: Full of rage and vengeance

Plot Twisty-ness: Lost in the page count


Well, once again a YA thriller and I just do not get along. No one is fucking surprised.

I really don’t want to sit here and write a big negative review for this novel because it’s an LGBTQ+ rep YA that lots of kids will flock to and enjoy and feel represented in. So I’ll keep it short and sweet.

For me, this book just didn’t work. I didn’t really like it. I was relieved when it was over. And if I hadn’t been listening to it on audio, I would have DNF’d it. At the most, I’ll call it a mixed bag of good and bad pieces. But at the other end of the spectrum, I’d say the writing was subpar (but that might be because of my old age,) over-dramatic and the plot was way too convoluted.

And I think we can all agree this is just way too long. It’s nearly 500 pages and I have no idea why. There is literally no reason for that kind of nonsense. The base plot didn’t require that many pages and it literally destroyed the pacing. I chalk this up to it being a debut novel. The pattern seems to be that first-time authors don’t know when to fucking cool it on detail and plot lines.

This could have been trimmed down by 100 pages, making it more streamlined with pacing that doesn’t lag. Someone get a good editor STAT.

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Review: Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1) by Maureen Johnson

A girl from Pittsburgh came to Ellingham Academy and she wanted to see a dead body. She got her wish.

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★★

HarperCollins | 2018

Opening Hook: Youtube is a talent now, I guess

Main Character: Not a unicorn

Plot Twisty-ness: Like Hanson, it’s in the Middle of Nowhere


As you may have picked up by now because of all the not-at-all subtle clues I keep dropping that goes something like: “I hate YA thrillers!” and “I’ve never read a good YA thriller!” or “Please stop recommending me YA thrillers because I don’t like them!” – I am not a big fan of YA mystery/thrillers.

I’m not sure why I keep reading them other than the plot summaries and beautiful covers continue to reel me. I’m so goddamn naïve. “This one will be a good one!” I think to myself about a book I will end up not liking at all 🤡

Is that the case with Truly, Devious?

Umm…

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I’ve had my eye on this novel for a while mostly because of the goddamn plot summary. A private school famous for a decades-old unsolved kidnapping/maybe-murder suddenly sees a new murder and the possibility that the original Big Bad, know as Truly, Devious, is back to wreak havoc on the students and faculty of Ellingham Academy once more.

As concise as I wrote that, it’s actually a lot more interesting than what the plot turned out to be for my tastes. I typically hate private school shit. That setting is just an excuse to allow children to not have any real parental supervision like they would/should so they can do shit most teenagers would never fucking do. And I think I’m too old for that shit.

But, whatever. You all know I’m a grumpy reader.

Continue reading “Review: Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1) by Maureen Johnson”

All The Books I Hated In 2020!

It’s that time of year again!

For my first post of 2020, I’m going to stick with the tradition I’ve fallen into at Here’s the Fucking Twist over the last three years, and use my inaugural post of the new year to complain about all the books I read last year that were disappointing, rage-inducing or just straight-up garbage.

Speaking of inaugural though, let’s take a moment to collectively unclench our assholes because TRUMP IS OFFICIALLY FUCKING GONE TODAY.

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I’m having a moment of existential crisis, because what am I going to do without that spray-tanned dumpster fire to entertain/scare/enrage me every day while I binge watch American news?! I’m hoping whatever mental energy I devoted to (read: had stolen by) Cheeto Mussolini and these last horrific four years, will now be freed up to focus on reading and running this blog. But hey, maybe it’s a smoother transition to just become fully obsessed with not dying in a global pandemic, instead of just 50% focused on that? We’ll see. So many choices for my life!

Honestly, 2020 was a hard reading year for me. I’m sure some of you can relate. So many outside forces were stressing me THE FUCK OUT and I couldn’t concentrate on anything that required significant brain power. March to September basically saw me unable to get out of my pajamas, watching reality TV and doom-scrolling on Twitter. But, after today, I have a good feeling about 2021!

Though the pandemic is seemingly worse then ever, and I am stuck in an endless time-loop of being in my house doing the same thing every fucking day, I do think we’re heading towards better times.

So, while I head into 2021 with optimism and hope, let’s take a look back on all the books I read last year that did nothing to distract me from the hellscape of real life and only added to the negativity.

I read this shit so you don’t have to, friends! Let’s gooooooooo!!

Continue reading “All The Books I Hated In 2020!”

Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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★★★★

Wednesday Books | 2019

Opening Hook: You know when you get shipped to the woods so you don’t steal someone’s husband?

Main Character: Raging Feminist Buzzkill

Plot Twisty-ness: Doing magic mushrooms


First of all, every time I look at that cover, for a split second I see a vagina. It looks like the cover of the Vagina Monologues or something to me. Remember that shit? Anyway, I’m not sure if that’s on purpose because of what this novel is about or if my brain is officially fried, but here we are.

My vagina is a YA novel cover.

This book was a trip. It’s not perfectly executed, but it’s right on the cusp of being something perfect so I’m focussing on that.

The plot is literally so 👏 fucking 👏 good. If you’re like me – a raging feminist – you’re going to want to read this.

Basically, we’re in some M. Night Shyamalan The Village shit where girls are banished to live together at an isolated camp in the wilderness during the year of their 16th birthday. This is their Grace Year. The reason being, once a girl turns 16 she comes into the “magic” powers that all women hold over men that will end lives, destroy marriages and steal husbands away.

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Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

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★★★★

Margaret K. McElderry Books | 2020

Opening Hook: False confessions as a pastime

Main Character: Twinning with a missing local

Plot Twisty-ness: Definitely thought LSD was involved


Okay, first of all, can we all take a moment to appreciate how much fun it is to say the author’s name? KIT FRICK. Saying it brings me so much joy. Or maybe pandemic lockdown is seriously getting to me. But, her name is like a little something extra to go with a really good book.

YEAH, I SAID.

It’s a YA mystery that was actually good! And no, I didn’t hit my head or get high while I read it. I’m as shocked as you are. (Lockdown is definitely getting to me???)

I mean, it’s not as if I never like YA novels, but it is a 1:10 ratio. There’s got to be something really different, honest or grounded about a YA mystery for me to get into it.

I Killed Zoe Spanos is all three of those things.

It’s set in the Hamptons but doesn’t heavily rely on that Hamptons’ vibe to move the plot, which I appreciated. It’s not gimmicky or cartoonish in its depiction of that Hamptons lifestyle, and it easily could have been. Frick put her focus on the main character of Anna Cicconi – how she felt, what she was doing, where she came from and how she viewed the world around her – to bring the setting to life.

And the vibe ended up being dead on.

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Review: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus

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★★★

Delacorte Press | 2019

Opening Hook: Jamie Lee this Prom Queen ain’t.

Main Character: A Murderino Nancy Drew.

Plot Twisty-ness: Boiled chicken without seasoning.


Ughhhhhh…

Here we are again. Welcome to yet another edition of “Krystin tries to read YA!”

Aside from Undead Girl Gang, which I totally fucking loved, I feel like I’ve been trying for 84 years like that lady from Titanic to get into YA mystery/thrillers and it’s just one disappointment after the next.

That’s not to say that the books aren’t good. Okay? Calm your energy. I’m not here to shit on your genre of choice. In almost every case, it’s has been an “it’s me, not you” situation. I am just not the right audience for this genre.

I wish I was! I would love to relax with a YA thriller because the R-rated shit can get to be a bit too much. Being constantly inundated with the most heinous plotlines can warp a person who also watches too much news. This planet is a dumpster fire. Yes, I see a therapist regularly, thank you.

I feel like a YA thriller would really help me unwind. Alas, of the 55 books on my “young-adult” Goodreads shelf, I have like 3 of them.

THREE.

Overall, these books make me feel very much like…

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Booknerd Wednesday: My TBR’d YA Mystery-Thrillers! #YAWeek

I’ll be honest, I enjoy YA fiction, even though, I am no longer included in the targeted demographic and haven’t been for almost two decades a while. You know what, let’s not get into specifics about ages and dates. Those are all technicalities.

Sometimes I can feel a little bit weird when I have some interest in a YA books. A feeling of “I know I’m 30-something, but please don’t judge me for reading this” can wash over me from time to time.

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I try to let myself like what I like, but there is a sense that YA is my “guilty pleasure” because it’s really not intended for me. And sometimes it’s painfully obvious that I am not intended for it.

I can also feel a little bit weird in reviewing YA books, because usually if the book didn’t work for me it’s because the 16-year-old main character says/thinks something along the lines of, “I’m not child!” And I immediately think, “oh, yes you are young lady!

Or the 18-year-old who works at a grocery store part time is decorating her warehouse style loft apartment and it’s total bullshit because I didn’t buy my first piece of new furniture until I was 30 years old. That sense of utter and complete bullshit about how teenagers on their own would truly live annoys me because no one ever plays within the boundaries of real life, at least not of what I’ve read so far.

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Nevertheless, I remain dedicated to my search for an amazing YA mystery-thriller that I actually like; one that feels honest and genuine and manages to pull some punches on someone who is hard to please. (Me. That’s me who’s hard to please.)

In honour of #YAWeek, I’m going to be taking a look at what’s floating around my YA TBR pile; what books I’ve come across and thought, “yes, you could be THE ONE.”

Continue reading “Booknerd Wednesday: My TBR’d YA Mystery-Thrillers! #YAWeek”

Review: The Lies They Tell by Gillian French

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★★½

HarperTeen | 2018

Opening Hook: Rich people get lit (on fire.)

Main Character: A copy of a copy of a copy…

Plot Twisty-ness: Kiddie-rollercoaster levels.


I was really hoping this was going to be a sweaty, atmospheric summer thriller. But I only got one out of two from that list.

Depending on what’s important to you – the atmosphere or the thrills – you’re either going to love this or not.

Immediately upon starting this, I got a Revenge meets Gossip Girl meets Riverdale vibe. It’s got that “spoiled teens with no adult supervision in the Hamptons” thing going on.

It’s very rich versus poor. The pool owners and the pool cleaners. The Haves and the Have-nots.

The novel opens with a bang, so to speak, when the Haves suffer a tragedy the year prior – the Garrison estate goes up in flames, killing four members of the family. The only survivor is their teenage son, Tristan. The town is straight shooketh, casting blame and suspicion on the members of the Have Nots, because of course, the poor people want to kill the “elites.” Right, ‘Murica?

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Review: The Girl I Use to Be by April Henry

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★★

Henry Holt & Co. | 2016

I’ve yet to read a YA mystery-thriller that really works for me. I’m looking for logic. And if there can’t be logic, I’m looking for it to not take itself so seriously.

I picked up this book because April Henry is one of my youngest stepkid’s favourite authors. I have been asked, for what seems like years, to read her books. Which is super sweet that the kid wants to share that with me, but at the same time, I’m really bad at pretending to care about something.

But I’m going to have to act like I liked this as not to disappoint and emotionally scar this young person in my full-time care. I don’t want to be dismissive.

So at home: I LOVED THIS AND I CAN TOTALLY SEE WHY YOU LOVE THIS AUTHOR AND WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH ME.

But, here, which is technically my private space (that is also accessible to anyone with an internet connection), I did not like this.

Not because it’s bad. But because I’m the wrong audience for it. My brain is way too rational. I require a book to make honest-to-life-sense, unless it’s purposefully setting itself up to be campy.

The Girl I Used to Be takes itself too seriously.

I hate to say this, but I think my age stops me from being able to buy whatever shit an author wants to throw at me. Don’t worry about this illogical inconsistency, just enjoy. I CAN’T.

Continue reading “Review: The Girl I Use to Be by April Henry”