Hello, friends. I have an actual column now with an actual name! Welcome to Books Before Boys: A Queer Reader’s Literature Review, featuring me, an aroace girl who escapes into fictional love stories despite not wanting one of her own.
I’m back with another oddly specific review compilation: two books, very different in tone, but somehow, they fit together weirdly well. Unfortunately, I don’t know of many more books that can fit this criteria, but maybe try These Witches Don’t Burn; I’ve heard good things!
The Dead and the Dark — Courtney Gould, Aug. 3, 2021
Fun fact, I was approved for the review copy of this book all the way back in February, and it literally took me until now to get to it. I was scared; I’d been going through a phase where thrillers really freaked me out. But after I finally read a few last month, and with the publication date of this book looming, I knew it was time.
When Logan first comes to her dads’ hometown, the one they’d left after facing the town’s endless homophobia, she knows immediately that something paranormal is going on. Meanwhile, town resident Ashley has been seeing her boyfriend’s ghost after he went missing. The two of them team up to figure out what’s going on, and they quickly discover a little too much about the town … and themselves.
The Dead and the Dark is unlike any book I’ve read before. Maybe it’s just because I don’t read a lot of paranormal thrillers — this is, I think, the only one I’ve ever read — but it so perfectly encapsulates all the vibes I expected. It’s a small town with a lot of mysteries; it’s creepy, but also has some really sweet moments. It balances threads of family, queerness and the paranormal, and I was enraptured.
Do look up content warnings before you dive into this book; they can be found on the author’s website.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Lost Girls — Sonia Hartl, Sep. 14, 2021
I first heard about this book when Sonia Hartl posted a Twitter meme about it. I think it might have been “how it started / how it’s going” with her original idea for the book in an old tweet and the book deal announcement. I’ve been excited for it ever since.
Holly has been 16 years old since 1987. She was turned into a vampire by Elton, who promised her a life of immortality and love, but now, 34 years later, he’s dumped her. When Holly meets Rose and Ida, two vampires who were also lured in by Elton, they ask Holly a favor: kill Elton before he turns his next victim. Holly’s not too sure about this plan … until she meets the girl Elton is targeting.
I mean, this is everything you could possibly want in a vampire book. Fun revenge story, gratuitous violence, some classic debunking of vampire myths (though nothing quite on the level of the sparkly vampires in Twilight). And the main cast of girls are literally all queer. I simply think this book was incredible.
The Lost Girls is a very quick read (my digital copy was about 250 pages), and it’s perfect for anyone living through the Twilight renaissance. I can’t wait to hold a copy of this book in my hands.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Page Street Kids for responding to my ARC request incredibly quickly; no, seriously, it took less than a week.