Monday, August 28, 2023

Young Soul Readers -- August 21, 2023

On August 21st, Young Soul Readers met to discuss My Dearest Darkest, by Kayla Cottingham. With five members attending, they rated this novel a 3.25 out of 5 stars.

This debut novel introduces readers to the isolated town of Rainwater and its main attraction—Ulalume Academy, a prestigious prep school with an arts focus that pianist Finch Chamberlin wants to attend more than anything. However, on the way back from her final audition, Finch gets into a car crash that kills her parents and that should have left her for dead. But something monstrous, ancient, and terrifying, wouldn't let her drown. Finch doesn't know why she woke up after her heart stopped, but since dying she's felt a constant pull from the school and the surrounding town of Rainwater, like something on the island is calling to her.

Three months later, she’s an Ulalume student but still suffers serious aftereffects from the accident. She’s in the same year as Selena St. Clair, the leader of an exclusive clique on campus and a girl who is already out to get Finch after an earlier misunderstanding. However, when Finch and Selena are paired for a crucial performance project, they must come to terms with the burgeoning feelings that arise between them. Selena St. Clair sees right through Finch, and she knows something is seriously wrong with her. But despite Selena's suspicion, she feels drawn to Finch and has a sinking feeling that from now on the two will be inexplicably linked to one another.

When Finch, Selena, and the popular girls stumble upon a mysterious and alluring power in the tunnels beneath Ulalume, they accidentally summon a carnivorous creature of immense power in the depths of the school. It promises to grant every desire the girls have kept locked away in their insecure hearts―beauty, power, and adoration―in exchange for a price: human body parts. But as the cost of their wanting becomes more deadly, Finch and Selena must learn to work together to stop the horror they unleashed before it consumes the entire island. Blood, gore, and drama make for a spooky success.

The members thought the book started out a little leisurely. There were some parts, like some of the relationships for instance, that felt unnecessarily added that didn’t influence the story. But once the group of girls found the creature, that’s when it started to get more interesting. From fingernails to human bodies, there was quite a bit going on at every turn that will have readers at the edge of their seats. The ending was satisfying, but it did leave the members with some unanswered questions. Overall, it was an adequate read. 


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