This month I did a pretty good job of sticking to my TBR list, reading four out of the six I had planned (I did at least make a start on the other two)! May started off a little slow but picked up towards the end, and I enjoyed each book I read which was nice.
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The story follows Samantha Reed who sits and watches the Garrett family next door every day. The Garretts couldn’t be more different than the Reeds, and after meeting Jase, Samantha is welcomed with a warm embrace into his family although she must hide him from her own. We follow Samantha and Jase as they fall in love for the first time, with each other, until tragedy strikes and Samantha must quickly make a tough decision.
This is a young adult contemporary novel, and while it isn’t typically a well loved genre of mine, I quite enjoyed this one. First of all, I liked how mature the main characters were for their age which made the story seem a lot more realistic. Though I did find it quite hard to warm to Samantha at first, as the story went on she became more likeable but I never fully invested in her. The relationship between Samantha and Jase was nicely paced and again, realistic. I particularly liked how Fitzpatrick didn’t shy away from the awkward points of a first real relationship which made a refreshing change! My Life Next Door is a quick and easy read – perfect for a Summer holiday!
You by Caroline Kepnes
You. Where do I start with You? Written in the second person, the story is told as if we are in Joe’s head, who is eessentially a physcopath. He becomes obsessed with student Beck after she comes into the shop he works in one afternoon and he stops at nothing to know where she is, who she’s with and what she is doing at all times. It was a pretty creepy read and quite uncomfortable in some parts – I would definitely describe this as a more mature read due to the nature of some of the scenes. I found that because of the style You is written in, you find yourself glossing over some parts of the books, that if you read in any other book you would be like “WHAT THE HELL!?”. You almost find yourself agreeing with Joe’s reasoning, which is definitely not ok! You is a brilliant thriller, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, creepiness and all.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
This was my first foray into the world of Gillian Flynn, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. Flitting between 1980s and present day America, we follow Libby Day, who hid in a cupboard while her entire family were massacred – her evidence put her brother Ben away for life. Libby is contaced by secret society the Kill Club, a local group obsessed with notorious crimes, and after offering her money in exchange for her help and information, Libby takes a look back into the case.
Written from three perspectives, we hear the story from Patty Day (Ben and Libby’s mum), Ben Day and Libby Day. I’m usually not a fan of mulitple POV stories but this was done very well; Ben and Patty’s perspectives come solely from the day of the murders while Libby looks back from the present day. Dark Places is, if you didn’t guess already, a very dark book. It deals with difficult themes like poverty, satanic cults, alleged sexual abuse, physical abuse and more, Reading from Ben’s POV was hard at times, as you could see him spiralling and some of his thoughts were very grim and it did make you wonder: Was he capable of killing his entire family?
I was completely sucked into this story and it kept me thinking and guessing right up until the end and I still didn’t manage to figure out what happened completely. It isn’t only a mystery, but a pyschological thriller as well I would say as it really does affect you. Dark Places is a twisted, yet bloody brilliant book. Well done Gillian Flynn.
Horrostor Grady Hendrix
Another horror/thriller story, but with a serious twist. Horrostor is set in an Ikea inspired superstore in America, called Orsk. Things are going terribly wrong overnight: furniture is being destroyed, writing is appearing on the walls and questionable substances are found on sofas. To try and find out who, or what, is causing the carnage, employees stay through the night, with awful consequences. I can’t really say much more without ruining the story, but let me tell you that this is one creepy book. Though the horrors do seem very unrealistic, I found myself so gripped to the story and I couldn’t guess what would be coming next.
I loved that Horrorstor was set out like a real Ikea catalogue; each chapter started with what looked like a product advertisement and description. Once the action got going, these products got more and more horrific which I found really added to the plot. The references to the stores day to day goings on brought a smile to my face too, as they were basically just talking about Ikea! From the wardrobes, to the layout, to the cafe, it was a really relatable read. I found myself picturing my local Ikea when I visualised the story. I’ve never read anything like Horrorstor and would definitely recommend it – in fact, my dad is already half way through and loving it!
Have you read any of these books? I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’m already a few books down in my June “to read” pile – I can’t wait to tell you what I think so keep an eye out for my June wrap up!