[A quick note: This was not the type of book I normally seek out. It got included in one of my Fox and Wit subscription boxes and I’ve had it on my shelf for a year or so. It came with a custom cover (see bottom image) that’s adorable. When it came time to do my seasonal autumn TBR, I started looking for atmospheric reads including dark academia. Lo and behold, this one fit the criteria and I was excited to have an excuse to read it, since I needed a little extra push.]
“𝐖𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐨𝐰𝐧𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐠𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐬, 𝐑𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐰𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫’𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥.”—Kayla Cottingham
Looking for a creepy autumn read? Something with dark academia vibes? Maybe even a little romance? This one has all that and more! I’m not someone who likes horror, and I can’t handle scary movies. I watch through my fingers. But this one was just the right level of creepy. I got chills, but it didn’t keep me up at night with bad dreams.
Some of my favorite aspects were the dark academia vibes, the hidden tunnels beneath the Ulalume Academy, the monster lurking under the school, the characters, and the storyline. I loved the morbid aspects too. Basically, Finch awakens a monster who takes the form of a beautiful woman trapped. Using a sob story, she lures girls beneath the prep school and offers favors in return for things like fingernails and hair. But when the requests get more demanding, so too do the requirements. Soon the monster is asking for things like eyeballs and human hearts.
But…it’s all worth it, right? The popularity? The beauty? The perfect dancing? Finch and Selena team up and began searching for answers. What they find is a morbid history. And if they’re not careful, history will repeat itself, only, this time it will be much worse.
I liked the way this book explored the sapphic theme, and coming out. The main character doesn’t know she’s lesbian and must come to terms with something she never realized about herself. It was all handled really well in a healthy way that I appreciated. Plus, the romance between Fench and Selena was really sweet.
While this wasn’t quite a five star read, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It met all my needs for filling that autumn reads checklist. It’s not something I would have sought out, but fortunately it was included in my Fox and Wit subscription, prompting me to give it a try. I’m glad I did!