The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.
There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.
Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.
But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.
**** Thank you to Random House Children and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review****
“Every now and then another answer to what happened that night sneaks in from the darkest corners of my mind…”
Wow, this is dark, twisted, and creepy for a YA book but boy did I love every page of it. There’s a lot of depth and maturity to the story it also lacked any of the usual YA tropes, which I was very glad for. It’s a murder mystery and a psychological thriller all rolled into one and Kara Thomas, quite simply, nailed it.
I think that the fact that this is YA makes it all the better, as I said it’s quite dark and it’s really surprising to see such an ominous setting in this genre.
“The Darkest Corners” is a character driven book so it does make for some slower reading, the pacing isn’t super fast and there isn’t tons of action happening all the time. This made for a very interesting read for me but also has the potential to bother other readers, so if you like fast pacing and lots of action this may not be for you.
I found the plot to be very intriguing, there were a lot of plot threads you had to pay close attention to and follow and many, many details. I actually really enjoy having a lot of information to keep track of, I feel it engages me more as a reader, but I can also foresee it as being a little overwhelming if not confusing at times as well. Although I do think it made the book more interesting and really added to the creepy atmosphere.
Kara Thomas does a fantastic job of setting the atmosphere, as I said it’s creepy and absolutely gave me the chills. Real monsters are human and you certainly get that feeling in this book, it’s downright eerie. There were moments where I was so scared and freaked out I had to take a break from reading.
The mystery itself is believable as well, there wasn’t anything I rolled my eyes at or said “Oh yeah right!”. The way Tessa and Callie got their information was perfectly practical for a couple of teenagers. I really enjoyed this since most of the time I don’t buy teenagers getting away with so much in books.
There are also many twists and turns in the story-line, you’ll be pointing your finger at someone and by the next chapter you’re thinking it’s someone else entirely. I honestly did NOT see the ending coming at all, Kara Thomas throws in a couple red herrings to distract you from putting the real pieces together. I loved how unpredictable the story ended up being but I was also very satisfied with how it ended as well. Sure there were some things that I would have liked explained or explained a little more, but overall I enjoyed the ending.
Another wonderful thing about this book and why it isn’t your typical YA book: no romance. Now, for me, that’s a big plus. It means there’s less time spent on a (more than likely pointless) romance and more time spent on actually making a great mystery filled with suspense. It also does away with other YA tropes such as: love triangles, insta-love, special snowflakes, and Mary-Sues. Nope, none of that here!
Also the writing was wonderful, I was highlighting quotes left and right. It really helped with setting that creepy atmosphere I mentioned earlier. Usually if I’m taking the time to pause my reading and highlight quotes, I KNOW that it’s damn good writing. I’ve plucked a couple new favorite quotes from “The Darkest Corners”.
“There are worse things in this world than monsters, and somehow, they always manage to find me.”
Like I said earlier, this is a character driven book. It’s ALL about the characters, without them this book wouldn’t be nearly as chilling or thrilling (hey I made a rhyme!). We get deep into the minds and relationships of these characters, you can’t quite believe anything they say or do, but being there in their heads is what drives this book forward. There’s a lot of insight gained into the plot by the intensity of the characters.
I really loved Tessa’s character, she was pretty down-to-earth and relatable and a little pessimistic. I just really enjoyed being inside her head-space, she was a believable character. She matures quite a bit throughout the book and it was really fun to see how her perspectives on people and depending on others change.
Callie, on the other hand, was a little different but she does show a lot of growth in the story. She starts out being pretty rude and distant from her former best friend, Tessa, but as the story progresses they regain and strengthen their friendship. I really loved the whole girl-power/friendship dynamic in this book.
There are a slew of other secondary characters but none are as important as Tessa and Callie, honestly the story could have done with a few more prominent characters but it was also fine without them.
I loved how dark and twisted the story became and how much attention to detail there was. I was definitely never bored and am very impressed with the mystery itself as well as the writing. Needless to say I just overall loved this book and am very thankful I got the opportunity to read it!
Definitely, I would go out and buy friends and family a copy of this book and force it upon them. That’s how much I recommend reading this bad boy.
I’d also like to say that it would probably be an enjoyable read for any fans of Gillian Flynn, while it may not be as dark and twisted as Flynn’s books, it is definitely comparable considering that “The Darkest Corners” is YA and therefore aimed at younger ages and not as graphic.