Review | Dark Room Etiquette

Dark Room Etiquette comes out tomorrow!


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. 


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


  • Kidnapping
  • Survival
  • Trauma
  • Coping Mechanisms

Favourite Part

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


  • 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!

REVIEW | Radium Girls

Title: Radium Girls
Author: Cy
Release Date: 23 August 2022
Pages: 136
Format: E-ARC
Letter Better Publishing Services, Iron Circus Comics
Source: NetGalley

It’s 1918 in Orange, New Jersey, and everyone knows the “Ghost Girls.”

The proud holders of well-paying jobs at the local watch factory, these working-class young women gain their nickname from the fine dusting of glowing, radioactive powder that clings to their clothes after every shift painting watch dials. The soft, greenish glow even stains their lips and tongues, which they use to point the fine brushes used in their work. It’s perfectly harmless . . . or so claims the watch manufacturer.

When teeth start falling out, followed by jawbones, the dial painters become the unprepared vanguard on the frontlines of the burgeoning workers’ rights movement. Desperate for compensation and acknowledgement from the company that has doomed them, the Ghost Girls must fight, not just for their own lives but the future of every woman to follow them.

A stunning graphic novel retelling of the shocking and inspiring true story.


This graphic novel did a good job of giving an inside look into the lives of “Radium Girls,” a group of women in the early 1900s that were instructed to point the tip of their paintbrushes with their mouth when painting dials, thus leading to radiation poisoning.

It is very grim to read about the working conditions women had to endure, and it’s very frustrating that they were lied to about the inks, being told they were harmless and not to worry about applying the brush to their lips.

The illustrations within are fairly simple and I think that allows the story to make quite a big impact. There are two colours used, greens and purples. I’m not sure I am a fan of the used of coloured pencils, and think perhaps the illustrations would have looked even better had the crayons been blended together. As is, the colouring looks a bit unfinished/unpolished but I still overall enjoyed the illustration style.

I recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning more about this topic. Before reading this book, I didn’t know that these events happened and I feel like I learned quite a lot about both the events that took place and the importance of having conditions in place that protects workers from these sorts of occupational hazards in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing an e-ARC in exchange for a review copy. The expected release date is August 23rd 2022.


  • Educational: reviews the lives of working-class young women who suffered radiation poisoning from painting dials on watches with self-luminous paint.
  • Fighting for compensation/acknowledgement from the watch manufacturer company.
  • Occupational hazards in the workplace.


  • Emotional
  • Informative
  • Reflective


Numerical Rating: 3.6 stars

QOTD: What is the last children’s
book you’ve enjoyed? Let us know!