Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of My Dearest Darkest by Kayla Cottingham

My Dearest Darkest by Kayla Cottingham
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Imprint: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: March 29, 2022
ISBN: 9781728236414

Finch receives a scholarship to the school of her dreams after almost dying in the car accident that killed her parents. But soon after arriving at the elite prep school she takes a trip down to the tunnels under the campus where a chance encounter with Selena St. Clair, resident popular girl, leads to her accidentally summoning something ancient from beneath the school. Soon Finch, Selena, and their friends are promised everything they want in exchange for small favors that become increasingly gruesome. Together they must solve the mystery of the creature’s existence to escape its control.

The pages of this book are filled with blood, ichor, and occasionally, tentacles. The author evokes the gothic boarding school atmosphere without relying on wordy descriptions. Heartwarming scenes of budding love and friendship are followed by bloody scenes of horror keeping readers on edge with a sense of impending doom. Selena and Finch are both flawed but in states of personal growth that are touching to watch. The thrills in this book are enough to carry readers through to the monstrous end.

Fans of dark academia, horror that is heavy on suspense, and readers who are comfortable with gore will love this book. Point readers to titles like Wilder Girls by Rory Power and The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl.

– Cathy DeCampli

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.