Three Summer Thrillers: Forget Me, Welcome to the Dark House and Feral

If you read my March series on Thrillers and Killers, you know that I'm a huge fan of mysteries and thrillers.  So today I'll be reviewing three scary, thrilling and/or creepy summer YA books...

by Holly Schindler
To be published on August 26, 2014
by Harper Teen

Source: e-ARC from the publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew. But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.  But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….
My take: This was a book that, for me, didn't quite achieve its full potential, but I definitely think it is worth a read if you're looking for a YA thriller with a very high creep factor. The book begins with a brutal attack on Claire, the main character. Then, just as Claire and her father have moved to the town of Peculiar to start over, a girl is brutally murdered in that town, an attack that's narrated by the victim in a sort of out-of-body POV, like Lovely Bones

The town of Peculiar is seriously creepy. The place is overrun with feral cats, there's a ghost in the high school basement, and there's just an overall spooky vibe. The more I read, the more I really got into the story, and was full of theories about what was going on. 

My only problem with the book was that, after all that build-up, I found the ending a little disappointing. (Highlight for mild spoiler.) I was hoping that Claire would be an unreliable narrator of the crazy -- or dead -- variety and was not all that happy with the explain-it-all-away kind of ending. I also thought there'd be more connection between Claire's attack and the murder. Also, I wanted the cats to be evil...(End Spoiler.) But still, I think this one is worth a try if you enjoy dark, suspenseful books that really keep you guessing. If you've read this, let me know what you think!

Welcome to the Dark House
by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Published on July 22, 2014
by Disney-Hyperion

Source: ARC giveaway at ALA

Synopsis from Goodreads: For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams. And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now. Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting. Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.
My take: This book gave me pretty much what I was expecting: a fast-paced, campy, mildly scary story of a bunch of kids trapped in a replica of a movie horror house. There are seven kids trapped in the house, six of whom (!) are POV characters, and all of of whom are a particular type. The multitude of people to keep straight had me a bit confused at times and also prevented much character development, but the story moved along at a brisk pace and the scares were fun but not too much -- like a trip to a neighborhood haunted house.

The other thing that came as a surprise was the cliffhanger ending. I'm thinking that this must be the first book in a series or duology, so just don't go in expecting all the creeps to be unmasked at the end, Scooby Doo style. I'd recommend this book for fans of light, entertaining YA horror.

Forget Me
by K. A. Harrington

To be published on August 7 
by Putnam Juvenile

Source: bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: On the three-month anniversary of her boyfriend Flynn’s death, Morgan uploads her only photo of him to FriendShare to get some closure—but she’s shocked when the facial recognition software suggests she tag him as "Evan Murphy." She’s never heard of Evan, but a quick search tells her that he lives in a nearby town and looks exactly like Flynn. Only this boy is very much alive. Digging through layers of secrets and lies, Morgan is left questioning everything she thought she knew about her boyfriend, her town, and even her parents' involvement in this massive web of lies.
My take: Forget Me was pretty good as YA thrillers go. I loved the premise -- Morgan thinks her boyfriend, Flynn, is dead, but when she uploads a photo of him to a Facebook-like site, the photo is tagged as being of another guy who looks exactly like Flynn. The story slowed down a bit as Morgan chased down this mysterious guy, but Morgan's best friend Toni was fun and entertaining and the book's setting -- a down-on-its-luck Northeastern town -- added a lot of extra atmosphere. I don't think that the book pushed all the possibilities raised by this premise to the maximum, and the romance wasn't 100% my thing: (highlight for spoiler) the main character's boyfriend dies and after three months, she's all ready for a new guy -- one who looks just like him.(end spoiler) But all in all, I enjoyed this one. If you remember my post on author pen names, K.A. Harrington is Kim Harrington, author of the Clarity series, and also of The Dead and Buried.


  1. Welcome to the Dark House's ending was kinda strange for it being a stand alone, which makes me think there might be another book too. I just finished Feral and I liked it. :)

    1. Agree-- I think that somewhere I read that there was at least one other book. Feral was creepy -- just wish the creepiness had extended all the way to the end.

  2. Too bad Feral had a disappointing've made me curiuos about Welcome to the Dark House though! Glad to hear that Forget Me is a good story, even if it could have done more.

    Great reviews!

  3. Just finished Welcome to the Dark House and really enjoyed it. The ending got me too because I had so many questions that didn't get answered but I read that the author said there would be a sequel out in Summer next year :)

  4. Glad you enjoyed them for the most part. I don't do a lot of thrillers but if Dark House is a little lighter maybe for me.

  5. I'll be reading Forget Me since I do like that author. The other two I'll probably skip. I don't do really creepy if I can help it and then I wouldn't like so many POV's either. I wasn't sure about them before, so thanks for the reviews!

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

  6. I really wanted to read Feral, it looked so good, too bad for the ending!
    I also wanted to read Forget me, but just reading about the romance I know I won't like that part, so, maybe I'll skip it.
    Great reviews, Jen!
    Lis @ The reader lines

  7. Great reviews Jen! I'm really interested in Welcome to the Dark House, it looks great! And I love Laurie's other books so I'm excited for it. Sad that Feral has a disappointing ending!

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

  8. The problem with thrillers is that they have to go all out to avoid feeling disappointed. Most don't. I'm still looking forward to some of these!

  9. I have all 3 of these on my tbr. I thought Welcome to the Dark House was a stand alone, so maybe I'll wait until the next one is out before reading this one. I'm going to try and get Forget Me from my library.

  10. Feral is the only one I have read of these and I agree about being disappointed about the end bit. But I still enjoyed it pretty well. I'm always on the fence about thrillers and horror but sometimes they work well for me.

  11. I haven't heard of Forget Me but it sounds so interesting! Now I really want to read it!

  12. Kind of bummed about Feral, but excited to read the other two! I love books like these! They just make me happy!

  13. Scary / thriller / horror shouldn't make me happy, but sometimes I just need to read one :)

  14. I normally don't read too many thrillers, but it's fun to read them from time to time, especially when I want to take a break from the books I'm usually reading - dystiopia, contemporary and paranormal.

    Thanks for sharing.

  15. I don't usually read YA thrillers but I was looking forward to reading Feral. I think I will still read it but now I'm more excited to start Welcome to the Dark House. I love its premise! Great reviews, Jen!

  16. This post was definitely made for the likes of me. I LOVE and adore thrillers. They're my crack, so it was so exciting for me to read this post and to extend my TBR three books farther :P In any case, I have feral as an eARC, so I have no problems getting to that soon. But Welcome to the Dark House! Forget Me! I'm totally getting these books. I'm so excited already! Haha!

    Faye at The Social Potato

  17. Cool! Will have to check these books out.

  18. I love creepy books, but I'm not sure any of these are for me. I much prefer when the creepy comes out of nowhere, sneaks up on you, ya know?


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