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