Tag: Contemporary

Book Review: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

The Final Girl Support Group
Author: Grady Hendrix

Published:  July 13, 2021

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 16-22, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars

Book Description:

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Jessica’s Review:

Despite not really being a Grady Hendrix fan, in the spirit of Halloween I gave the audiobook a listen, but like his others, it did not agree with me.  The premise has something to it: What happens to ‘final girls’ after the headlines end?  All the final girls are reminiscent of final girls from the slasher movies of the 1980s and 1990s.

For me, what happens with these final girls is that they are all beyond messed up!  I did not form any attachment to any of the final girls, so when things happened to them, I did not really feel anything. We do get details of what Lynnette survived and it is very brutal in a jaw dropping way. 

This novel did get me thinking about Neve Campbell’s character Sydney in the Scream movies: She survived multiple attacks by multiple killers so how messed up would she be in ‘real life’??? Also Jamie Lee Curtis in the Halloween movies, yep, she’s a total Final Girl!  And we get new movies in both of those series relatively soon.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall

Your Corner Dark
Author: Desmond Hall
ublished: January 19, 2021

384 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 12-29, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars     

Book Description:

American Street meets Long Way Down in this searing and gritty debut novel that takes an unflinching look at the harsh realities of gang life in Jamaica and how far a teen is willing to go for family.

Things can change in a second:

The second Frankie Green gets that scholarship letter, he has his ticket out of Jamaica.
The second his longtime crush, Leah, asks him on a date, he’s in trouble.
The second his father gets shot, suddenly nothing else matters.

And the second Frankie joins his uncle’s gang in exchange for paying for his father’s medical bills, there’s no going back…or is there?

As Frankie does things he never thought he’d be capable of, he’s forced to confront the truth of the family and future he was born into—and the ones he wants to build for himself.

Jessica’s Review:

Your Corner Dark is the debut novel by Jamaican native Desmond Hall who gives the reader a whole different perspective of how difficult life on the island can be: Jamaica isn’t just pretty sand and beaches, it has a whole rough side of life to it dealing with the harsh social, political, and economic realities of many who live there.

Frankie is our main character who has just received a full ride to college in the USA! He is ready for this to better himself and then something unexpected happened:  Frankie’s father is shot and hospitalized. And the bills are going to be very costly. 

Frankie is given an option from his uncle: He will pay Frankie’s father’s medical bills if Frankie joins his gang, which would mean giving up his scholarship and the way he thought his future was going to go. And Frankie’s father would be furious if he joined the gang….

Hall shows us another side of Jamaica with what the natives go through– a very difficult life– and we experience most of that with Frankie and the choices he makes and the repercussions from those choices.  This was a hard novel to put down as I had no idea how it was going to end or what was going to happen with Frankie next!

There is a small potential romance that comes in the last portion of the book, but with everything else going on, it was not really necessary for me.  There is a lot of violence, and yes, death along with political leanings and poverty in this novel, but you can’t help but to root for Frankie to pull through everything.  And I really liked Aunt Jenny as well! 

The conversations in the novel are written as how the natives would speak.  I did have to get used to it, but it also added to the novel for me. 

This book would not have come to my attention if I was not taking part in #Diverseathon2021 this year. I read this for September’s prompt which was a book set in Jamaica. I am glad I came across and read it.  I did get Your Corner Dark finished in September, but was just not able to get the review written. 

Now since we are in a new month: For October the prompt is: A main character who lives/lived with abuse.

October’s Host is Yami @ A Bookworm’s Thoughts.  She will host at Facebook and Instagram.

**She will also be having a giveaway: See her Facebook and Instagram pages for information on the giveaway.

For full details on this year long read-a-thon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Audiobook Review: AfterMath by Emily Barth Isler

Author: Emily Barth Isler

Narrator: Emily Barth Isler
To Be Published:  September 7, 2021

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 14-17, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

After her brother’s death from a congenital heart defect, twelve-year-old Lucy is not prepared to be the new kid at school–especially in a grade full of survivors of a shooting that happened four years ago. Without the shared past that both unites and divides her classmates, Lucy feels isolated and unable to share her family’s own loss, which is profoundly different from the trauma of her peers.

Lucy clings to her love of math, which provides the absolute answers she craves. But through budding friendships and an after-school mime class, Lucy discovers that while grief can take many shapes and sadness may feel infinite, love is just as powerful.

Jessica’s Review:

AfterMath is the third book I have read this year that has dealt with a school shooting before or after the fact. AfterMath is a middle grades novel by Emily Barth Isler and the title has multiple meanings.  The idea for AfterMath came to Isler after the December 2, 2015 shooting at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernadino, California.  She had a baby and a 4-year-old at the time. 

Each chapter of AfterMath begins with a Math problem. Our main character is Lucy who is twelve years old and dealing with the death of her younger brother from a rare congenital heart defect.  Dealing with the loss, Lucy’s parents decide to move.  They move to where her parents have a shorter commute, but they also move to a town that has not had new members to the community since there was a school shooting four years earlier.  Not only that, but Lucy is also the age of the students who were victims of the shooting.  The house they move into was also the home of a girl her age who died in the shooting. 

Lucy’s adjustment to a new school in a unique situation at an awkward time of life is our story.  There are so many important issues addressed in this book with loss and grief being at the forefront.  PTSD in various forms is also addressed along with bullying.  For one particular student we see the effects of how the sins of one person affect another who had nothing to do with said sin.  We see how everyone experiences their grief in different ways, and the way Lucy does this is not telling anyone at her new school about the recent loss of her brother. 

I really liked Lucy and how we see her love of Math despite having problems with learning the concept of Infinity.  We see how she grows over the course of the novel. We also get to know Avery through Lucy, a girl whom everyone at the school avoids. We also see Lucy’s home life with her parents and mysterious math jokes appearing in her room.  Lucy has a good relationship with her math teacher who also teaches her after-school mime class. 

This is a great book for those in the middle grades age group.  I listened to the audiobook version which the author also narrated.  She brought a special voice to the novel.  I received an arc copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

AfterMath is definitely recommended for the middle grades ages readers. 

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK