Thursday, April 21, 2016

ARC Review: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

Title: The Darkest Corners
Written by: Kara Thomas
Published: April 19, 2016 by Delacorte (Random House)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

You guys know me and my mysteries. I'm always on the search for a good YA thriller that I can't solve. I found one! The Darkest Corners is a great read full of action, mystery, and complex characters with interesting back stories. I really, really enjoyed it.

No seriously, this was an amazing mystery. As a friend recently pointed out to me, I'm a mystery snob. And because of that I'm always looking for a complex YA mystery that I can't solve and I totally found that here. I solved some elements but it definitely caught me off guard in the best possible way. I'm hard to impress sometimes with mysteries and this definitely impressed me. But that being said, when it was all said and done I wondered if it was in fact solvable. I like to figure things out with the characters not have them tell me the answers (one of the reasons I don't like Sherlock Holmes). Here we were searching for clues together but for the big elements of the book there wasn't many hints. Or if there was, I totally missed it focusing on something else. And in that case, well done.

But in general this book was well-plotted and paced despite being a really complicated story. It took me on a thrilling ride with multiple twists and reveals. There were definitely moments of high energy where I was nervous about what was going to happen next. As the book reached its climax I was so anxious. It all really built to a thrilling conclusion that had me so entertained along the way. In fact, there were two separate mysteries here. I kept waiting for them to be connected and they weren't. It was just big reveal after big reveal which made for big surprises and a really complex conclusion. So one was resolved and just when I was coming to terms with that, things would pick up as the second one kicked in a took me for another ride. It's sometimes problematic for me when that happens, I prefer one big exciting conclusion, but here it kind of worked. It all made for an interesting and action-packed narrative with a complex mystery.

The other really interesting thing about this book, for me, was the setting. For one thing I love small town settings. Having grown up in a small town myself, I understand that feeling of being trapped there and wanting desperately to get out. I also understand the fact that you are in everyone else's business. That good news travels fast, and bad news even faster. I think the author definitely captured that here and it added an interesting dimension to the book with the main character having gotten out and then being pulled back into the world. But I was mostly looking forward to the setting of this book because it takes place in Western Pennsylvania where I live. And while the town names are not actual towns, it felt familiar which was fun and scary when you're reading about trying to figure out who a serial killer is.

I also really liked the characters here. The main character of Tessa was a good protagonist. She's not your typically plucky teen detective but that made her refreshing. I liked that she would sometimes stumble into clues or find herself following dead ends. But what she had going for her was her dedication to finding the truth and I was invested in finding it with her. There were also some great relationships here, like with Tessa and her family. That was such an interesting dynamic that was explored a lot throughout the book. But I think the best relationship was between Tessa and Callie. They went through so much together when they were kids and it was great seeing them rekindle their friendship. Plus I gotta say, I'm really glad that there was no romance here. There very easily could have been with a few male characters but there wasn't. It just goes to prove my point, romance is superfluous to a good story.

On the whole, The Darkest Corners is a fantastic read and a great debut. It had everything I love in a YA thriller, plenty of action, a well-plotted narrative, a mystery I couldn't solve, and complex characters with complicated relationships. And while there were some elements that may have been overly complicated it was an engaging story and a book I couldn't put down.

I give The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. This is definitely a must read for mystery fans. It's got a great complex true crime kind of feel as it deals the consequences of the criminal justice system and has a mystery that will keep you guessing. And if you are looking to try something within the genre I would suggest borrowing this one. It's really complex but it does have some great clues along the way.

Have you read The Darkest Corners? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. You had me at amazing mystery! I've seen lots of love for this book recently and that's definitely got me excited :D

  2. OOoh nice!! I received this for review awhile back and was taken by surprised with its arrival. I set it aside as I waited what to do about it, read it or not. Then reviews started trickling in and I started to feel intrigued about it! I love a good YA thriller myself! Glad to hear this one pretty much hits on the high notes for you! Glad you enjoyed it! Great review!

  3. So glad you enjoyed it! I received an ARC of this and haven't gotten the chance to read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it!