ARC Review: The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood

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Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.

Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.

review**** Huge thank you to Soho Teen for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! ****

Trigger Warnings: Racism, Homophobia, Victim Blaming, and Statutory Rape

Sadly I was more than a little disappointed with this book especially since I’m always up for YA Horror books! Unfortunately this isn’t really a horror book, in my opinion it’s exactly like “Night at the Museum” with slightly creepier things running around. I was expecting to be creeped out and scared a lot more than I was but it still managed to hold my attention for the most part, so there is something to be said for that.

PLOTThe story starts out pretty slow with the set up since we are introduced to each character through their own perspective, which got to be too much to keep track of at times but they did have their own unique voices so it was manageable. After the characters are FINALLY in the Boulder House things start to get a little more fast-paced and a little more interesting as well. They must all now work together in order to escape this house of horrors but may not be able to manage it since they are all harboring secrets they wish to remain hidden.

I thought the “secret” aspect to the plot was pretty interesting since a lot of these kids had some pretty odd secrets but this is where a lot of the trigger warnings I mentioned come into play: racism, homophobia, and the victim blaming/statutory rape (which was the worst one) and that’s why the kids chose to keep their secrets. I won’t spoil any of it but just know that the majority of the plot twists have these triggers in them and they can be a bit over whelming.

As far as the rest of the plot went I just felt like it was a mess, honestly what the heck was even going on? These kids went from room to room and everything got weirder and weirder as they progressed through the house! There’s whales, unicorns, centaurs, vicious angels, and all kinds of odd things that they come across. It just felt like the plot was “trying too hard” to be entertaining and it just came off being strange and messy.

Then there’s the writing….it felt really immature. Granted it is told from the perspectives of high schoolers and I’m sure Atwood was aiming for a younger crowd but it was just too much for me. The phrases “douchemunch”, “asstroll”, and “fuck-a-doodle-doo” show up way more times than I’d like to count, do people actually talk like this? It really got on my nerves while reading.

charactersThe characters are all high school students and all fit into various tropes: shy girl, popular/mean girl, goth girl and her boyfriend, and the jock. They all act accordingly as well, aside from their secrets but as I said I’m not spoiling them! Aside from the fact that they all couldn’t be more different they do try to stick and work together, which I liked since it would have been very infuriating for them NOT to in the situation.

I also liked the dash of diversity among the characters since we do have a lesbian character, bisexual character, and African-American character.

Other than that I didn’t really care about any of them and their dialogue and actions could get really annoying at times, as I mentioned when discussing the writing.

romanceAnother really messy aspect of the story: the romance. Every character got in on this too which is why it got to be too messy and too much overall.

There’s a couple that starts out a couple but one is bisexual and doesn’t care for their significant other anymore, one is secretly gay and has a crush on another character, one is head over heels for their significant other, and two other characters secretly have crushes on each other but won’t admit it.

Too messy, right? I thought so.

in conclusionMy thoughts on this book overall were that it was way too messy and I was very disappointed. However, I did finish reading it so points for that.

What I Liked:

  • Managed to hold my attention
  • Relatively fast paced
  • Bit of diversity in the cast of characters

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Plot was very messy and over the top
  • The writing and dialogue were very immature
  • Overly complicated romantic sub-plot

RECOMMENDThis just wasn’t my cup of tea and that disappointed me. There just weren’t enough horror elements for me to seriously consider this a horror book and everything was too messy and downright weird.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

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(A Very ARC Loaded) September TBR

Top Ten Tuesday(85)

This month’s TBR makes me think I really, really should have participated in ARC August….because these are ALL ARCs. I have got a TON of reading to do this month! I’m hoping I can get out of my mini reading slump here and power through all of these books because I really am excited to read all of them.

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Girls Made of Snow & Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

This is a Snow White retelling that I’m currently trying to power through, it’s very interesting but the pacing is extremely uneven and I’m stuck in a super slow part at the moment.


Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

I feel terrible I didn’t get to this one last month like I was supposed to. This may or may not be my cup of tea since it seems very romance-focused but hopefully the whole “harbinger of death” thing will keep things interesting!


Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

This is a sci-fi novel about a character who is recruited by a corporation to leave Earth and mine a new valuable resource on another planet. However, this planet was kept secret and that’s not all the corporation is hiding. It sounds pretty exciting so I’m hoping it proves worth while!


The Devils You Know by M.C. Atwood

A group of seniors travel to Boulder House for their senior trip but the house is said to be cursed. When the characters get separated from the rest of their group they realize the truth is much more horrifying. Of course I’m always up for some YA horror, hopefully it’s thrilling!


The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Two young female warriors, whose births were prophesied, must save the world from demons. Sounds badass, period.


The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

Skye has been faking tarot card readings for a while but when the police ask her to help find a missing girl she already has some inside information. The kidnapping was planned and she was going to get a cut but things have taken a dark turn and she must find them before it’s too late. This sounds both spooky and thrilling so hopefully it will be a great read!


The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Bethan is an apprentice green healer in a clan of Welsh-Romanies, however, all isn’t well as the son of the chieftain and his friends brutally assault both Bethan and her friend Martyn. Bethan wants to bring Martyn back from death’s door but is told the price of the magic required is gruesome. When the boys who attacked her don’t come forward and apologize she knows where to collect those ingredients…..

This sounds super creepy and I’m really excited to get to it, I loooove YA horror!


This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

Sasha has everything working out for her: first chair clarinet, top of her class, the perfect boyfriend, and she has her way to being a star musician free and clear. However, a new guy shows up and she finds herself drawn to him and missing his touch even though she’s never met him. She then discovers she absorbed her twin in the womb which may explain her missing memories……

This is another books that sounds strangely creepy yet very mysterious and thrilling, I’m hoping it pans out!


Gray Wolf Island Tracey Neithercott

Right before her sister died she asked Ruby to find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island, armed with a treasure map and a few friends who are all touched by magic. However, each friend is keeping a secret and they must reveal it in order to reach the treasure.

Is it just me or are there not enough treasure themed books? This sounds really unique and compelling!

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Are any of these books on your TBR?

Have you read any of these, what did you think?

What are you planning on reading this month?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy