[A quick note: I’ve heard hype for Erin A Craig’s books for ages. I fell in love with the cover for Small Favors when it released. It was on my TBR ages. When autumn rolled around, I looked at some of the reviews and realized this would be a perfect autumn read because of the “creepy” factor. It didn‘t disappoint.]
“𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞'𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐬, 𝐝𝐨𝐧'𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤? 𝐎𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐲, 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐚𝐧'𝐭 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐩 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐩𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐭.” —Erin A Craig
This was everything I wanted out of an autumn read. EVVV-ERR-YYY-THING. It was creepy in the best way possible, unique with its small town old fashioned vibes, even curious. I got chills multiple times; not the nightmare kinds, but the glance-into-the-shadows-to-make-sure-nothing-is-standing-there kind. It reminded me a little of Lord of the Flies with a fantasy twist. I really liked the theme: darkness lurks in all of us. It forced readers to wonder, what deal would you make to fulfill your heart’s desires?
Set in the small settlement-turned-town of Amnity Falls, strange events begin happening as summer turns to fall and then winter. Beasts appear, deformed with too many heads, babies are born from animals that look nothing like what they ought to be, terrifying wolves roaming the woods, killing any that stray into their midst, and strange squabbles between neighbors. In the middle of it is Ellerie Downing, an 18 year old woman trying to keep her family safe. But with danger lurking around every corner, she can no longer trust those closest to her.
I was a little nervous starting this. The first few chapters didn’t hook me and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But it came highly recommended so I stuck it out. A couple chapters in, something happened that gave me legitimate chills, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. After that, I was HOOKED. I couldn’t turn pages fast enough, trying to find out what the hell was going on in Amnity Falls. This suspenseful thriller had just the right amount of fantasy to make it feel realistic.
There’s romance, growth, and chaos woven into the pages as Ellerie navigates the strange happenings in her town. Ellerie’s character was easy to relate to, and immediately sucked me in. She’s a fierce, strong heroine who is determined to do right, but willing to do what it takes to care for her family. She’s the kind of character that has a good head on her shoulders. I really enjoyed following her story. I enjoyed the romance that buds between her and Whitaker.
The plot was engrossing. I struggled to put this down. It was easy to flip from chapter to chapter. With each new layer, I found myself more and more captivated and desperate to know what was going on. There were certain events that were never explained, remaining ambiguous, creating so much mystery. I still don’t know if Sam took the honey from the bees simply to trade it in town, or because he was told to. Perhaps so that Whitaker could act as knight-in-shining-armor to provide the sugar Ellerie needed to save her bees. If you haven’t read this, you won’t know what I’m talking about, but this is just an example where the answer wasn’t given; I can pretty much infer with my own imagination, filling in the dots. I love this—when an author doesn’t say everything explicitly. It’s an excellent writing technique.
Now I’m super excited to read Erin Craig’s other book. I finally understand what the hype around this author is. I can’t wait to explore more of her work. I absolutely LOVE when a stand alone book hits home and this one sure did! 𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟓/𝟓⭐️