I hope everyone’s week is going well!
If you’re anything like me, you’re still super fascinated every time you have to write “XX/XX/2023” on something, and simultaneously freaked out that a whole month has already gone by! However, the good news is there are still 11 months left in the year to read as many books as we want!
Speaking of which, this weekend I read In Nightfall by Suzanne Young and had some pretty strong feelings about it. Let’s dive into it!
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Publication Date: March 28, 2023
In the quaint town of Nightfall, Oregon, it isn’t the dark you should be afraid of—it’s the girls. The Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this propulsive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Treatment.
Theo and her brother, Marco, threw the biggest party of the year. And got caught. Their punishment? Leave Arizona to spend the summer with their grandmother in the rainy beachside town of Nightfall, Oregon—population 846 souls.
The small town is cute, when it’s not raining, but their grandmother is superstitious and strangely antisocial. Upon their arrival she lays out the one house rule: always be home before dark. But Theo and Marco are determined to make the most of their summer, and on their first day they meet the enigmatic Minnow and her friends. Beautiful and charismatic, the girls have a magnetic pull that Theo and her brother can’t resist.
But Minnow and her friends are far from what they appear.
And that one rule? Theo quickly realizes she should have listened to her grandmother. Because after dark, something emerges in Nightfall. And it doesn’t plan to let her leave.
What I liked about the book:
1. I liked the sarcasm and the relationship between Theo and her brother Marco. It was genuine and believable.
2. I absolutely adored Nonna, especially after she told Theo her history in the town! She was a total badass.
What could have been better:
1. I was definitely lured by the cover and blurb on this one. Given The Lost Boys and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry version) were two of my favorite movies when I was younger, I figured this would be a slam dunk.
What I didn’t figure was the book would feel like someone took The Lost Boys and made it into a Mad Lib for the author to fill out. It was especially hard to ignore in the first couple of chapters that this was a gender swapped, shot for shot remake of the film at times. Instead of the references being a “cool! I get that one!” they were very…cringy. Maybe if I hadn’t just watched the movie 2 weeks ago, I wouldn’t have caught as many of the comparisons and my thoughts on this would be a bit different?
However, I also didn’t feel there was much Buffy the Vampire Slayer-ness to it other than fighting a bunch of vampires in a prom dress. Perhaps I’m missing something because I’m over 20 years late watching the television show, but I honestly don’t think so.
2. I liked the podcast and mystery ideas within the story, but I didn’t feel they were utilized to their potential. I didn’t really understand what the point was of her even listening to the first episode of the podcast focusing on the town if she had already met the podcasters and formed a relationship with them. I also didn’t understand why they mentioned episode two would drop and then that never went anywhere.
I felt like this was a check-the-box exercise in throwing a podcast into a story, which I’ve seen a lot more of recently. Other than perhaps trying to create a vibe reminiscent of Serial for murder mystery books or trying to show characters as relatable by listening to podcasts, I’m not sure what the theory is behind including this trait now and rarely do I see it executed well.
3. Unfortunately, the book didn’t really get exciting for me until the big reveal we all knew was coming at around the 70% mark. The romance was bleh, the characters besides Nonna were bleh, and the plot was predictable. Overall, just not for me.
4. I hate being THIS PERSON, but this definitely could have used another round of editing. A couple slips are absolutely no problem for me, but constant sentences where you can tell a word was supposed to be deleted stagnate the flow and bring me out of the story altogether.
Overall, just not for me.
Final Rating: 2 stars
Thank you to Random House Children’s, Delacorte Press, and Suzanne Young for this free advanced review copy of this book. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are honest and my own.