**Disclaimer: I received a free early access copy of The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this opportunity.
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould is a young adult novel. I would classify it as a horror book or perhaps a paranormal mystery. The book is about two young girls, Logan and Ashley, who become caught up in a mystery as teenagers in the town of Snakebite are disappearing and the two decide to team up to solve the mystery. I rated it five stars on Goodreads. It is set to be published on August 3rd, 2021.
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
Courtney Gould’s thrilling debut The Dead and the Dark is about the things that lurk in dark corners, the parts of you that can’t remain hidden, and about finding home in places―and people―you didn’t expect.
The Dark has been waiting for far too long, and it won’t stay hidden any longer.
Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.
Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.
I absolutely loved The Dead and the Dark. I picked it up intending to just read a little bit before bed, but I ended up staying up til 2 am reading it because I really needed to know what I was going to happen next and who had done what. I made some guesses about what happened and while I got some things right, it was never quite in the way that I expected.
I loved the way the story unfolds. We get both Ashley and Logan’s perspectives, and they each have a really unique take on the story and on the other as the two girls start getting to know each other. The other interesting thing was that you get the perspective of this mystery entity every so often and it uses terms like “the host”. I found those sections extra intriguing because they really added to the tension and the suspense in the story. It was really interesting to me.
I liked the description of the tension of the small town and how the arrival of Logan and her family really shakes things up. It’s clear that this town is a little bit backwards and homophobic, and it was handled in a realistic way. It was interesting to learn about the different personalities in the town, and to see how the tension increases as more teenagers disappear.
I really enjoyed the dynamic between Ashley and Logan. They don’t seem to get off on the right foot and that sort of continues for awhile. There’s some good banter between the two of them, and I really liked the contrast between their characters. I also liked watching them grow as characters and get closer.
I felt that the story was really well written and I really enjoyed the way that details were revealed. The setting was really well described and created really good images in my mind. The issues were handled with sensitivity.
Overall, I just really loved this story and how compelled I was by it. I highly recommend that you check it out when it releases on August 3rd.