Review | Jackal by Erin E. Adams

Description

It’s watching.

Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward and passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the bride’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.

It’s taking.
As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: a summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart missing. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.

It’s your turn.
With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness.

(Goodreads)


Review

This book was one of my most anticipated books of the year. When October came around, I knew I had to use my audible credit to purchase it because I couldn’t wait for a hold from the library, and I definitely couldn’t wait for the next day to grab the physical copy. It was a cold, chilling evening, and I had to start this book that very night. And I’m so glad that I did.

Immediately, I was drawn into Adams’ world, intrigued to understand the mystery behind the missing girls and how our main character would unravel the mystery within. Given the engaging synopsis, how could I not? There was a slow build as the story progressed, which I enjoyed. There were themes such as social horror, racism, and classism that were horrifying but important to read.

As you progress, the story only gets better and better. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I was satisfied with the ending. I recommend reading the physical book as the middle of the book was a bit slow, and I think I may have enjoyed reading the hardcover copy even more. And I think this would have been a good one to tab, highlight, and write notes.

I highly recommend you pick this one up before October 31st, but of course, check out the content warnings and the themes. Horror readers: add this to your TBR.

Content Warnings

This Book in Three Words

Impactful, Atmospheric, Haunting

Values/Themes

  • Social horror
  • Missing girls
  • Racism
  • Classism

Favourite Part

The entire ending – you’ll want to hold until because that last quarter of the book was so chilling!

Feelings

  • Dark
  • Mysterious
  • Tense

My Ratings:

Writing Style: 3.5
Characters: 3.75
Plot Development: 4
Originality: 4.5
Engagingness: 3.75
Insightfulness: 4.5
Comprehensiveness: 3.5
Impactfulness: 3.5
Narration: 3.75

Overall Rating

Numerical Rating: 4 stars

QOTD: Do you enjoy reading
horror? Let us know!

Review | Dark Room Etiquette


Dark Room Etiquette comes out tomorrow!

Description

Sixteen-year-old Sayers Wayte has everything—until he’s kidnapped by a man who tells him the privileged life he’s been living is based on a lie.

Trapped in a windowless room, without knowing why he’s been taken or how long the man plans to keep him shut away, Sayers faces a terrifying new reality. To survive, he must forget the world he once knew, and play the part his abductor has created for him.

But as time passes, the line between fact and fiction starts to blur, and Sayers begins to wonder if he can escape . . . before he loses himself. 
(Goodreads)


Review

When I sat down to start this book, I knew a couple of things: this is about a sixteen-year-old kidnapped boy told that his former life was all a lie and that he needed to adapt to his new environment to survive. I thought I came prepared for the emotions I would feel along this journey – I was not.

First, the book is unsettling. Even before the kidnapping, I felt uneasy due to conflicting emotions. Sayers is a highly complex character; you see his weakness, strengths, and humanity. Presented as a teenager from an incredibly wealthy background, I appreciated how his privilege impacts his behaviour at school and with his family and friends.

Secondly, Sayers has to adapt to survive, and how he does so impacted me immensely. As the plot progressed, I could appreciate how a knowledge base and background research would be essential to write this story. The book presented some theories in psychology that impacted Sayers in the story, some he recalls later on.

Third, many characters were multi-dimensional – you could see a clear contrast between their personalities at the beginning and end of the book. In fact, some characters were almost unrecognizable by the end and others, such as Garrett, were static. Sayers’ personality experienced many changes; some of the directions his mind went brought me to tears.

Finally, I like that this was a story not just of the event – the kidnapping, but responses to trauma and the aftermath. Learning to cope in an abusive environment was Sayers’ key to survival. Sadly, the intense trauma he faced hindered him in some very unexpected and heartbreaking ways. At several points, I desperately wanted to plead with Sayers on what he should do – I can imagine other readers having the same response.

Please review the content warnings before reading this book. This book is such a memorable, emotional, and intense read. It is my first time reading the author’s works and I look forward to reading many more!

Thank you to NetGalley, Robin Roe, and HarperTeen for providing this review copy. All opinions are my own.

Content Warnings

This Book in Three Words

Tense, Survival, Adaptation

Values/Themes

  • Kidnapping
  • Survival
  • Trauma
  • Coping Mechanisms

Favourite Part

There are two friendships that forms later on in the book that I really loved to see.

Feelings

  • Dark
  • Emotional
  • Tense

My Ratings:

Writing Style: 4.5
Characters: 4.5
Plot Development: 4.5
Originality: 4.5
Engagingness: 5
Insightfulness: 5
Comprehensiveness: 4.5
Impactfulness: 4.5

Overall Rating

Numerical Rating: 4.5 stars

QOTD: Have you read any of
Robin Roe’s books? Let us know!