“Pretty Dark Nothing” is probably not a best book for the average YA Paranormal readers in a good way. Most YA Paranormal in the market focus more on the romance part and the thematic genre as the secondary storyline. This is a surprisingly very psychologically draining book and reminded me of the first season American Horror Story and Stephen King’s Carrie. If you’re seeking the conventional “If you love Twilight, you would love this…”, this book is one to avoid and tread with caution because it wasn’t a sappy love story.
“Pretty Dark Nothing” is about Quinn who was once a valedictorian, head cheerleader and perfect popular girl with a great boyfriend and a family. Until her life fall apart, her father left her family, her boyfriend dump her for an evil cheerleader who love to torment her daily, a former cheerleader due to her failing grades and suffered night terrors that made her too scared to fall asleep. Too scared is an understatement. I suffered insomnia too but her problems is schizophrenic. She sees things that wasn’t there, she constantly doubt her sanity, she seeing things in the dark with claws and wanted to hurt her and whispers things. I rarely find a good YA author doing this in Paranormal Horror and even there’s some galley-related flaws its quite up to my own style of writing. There’s the tension coming from most of the antagonistic elements in this book and most of the part came from the voices in her head which give her doubts and demean her in every way. As psychological goes, this reminded me of Dexter of some sort.
I was utterly convinced that she was insane even with the help of Aaron’s POV which are a definite marker that this isn’t just an ordinary case of psychosis and that the demons she sees are real but again and again we’re thrown in a loop wondering if all that was happening to her was real or not. Despite the on-off relationship Aaron and Quinn had in the story, I was extremely engrossed by Quinn’s psychosis because the author is really a good at writing those crazy parts. Another entry to my sadistic storyteller listing. Add to that with the school drama, which goes surprisingly.
At the risk of becoming too much of a spoiler; As for the romance part of the story, I couldn’t quite agree about folks blaming Quinn for her feelings for her ex, Jeff. It was obvious that she love him more in the early part of the book even if Aaron is a pleasing alternative. But I am not a fan of those instant romance. I get what the author trying to explain with her character. In all her life, Quinn have no one to turn to except for Jeff. All these years after her father left her, Jeff was always there as her rock. Why won’t she have real difficulties in letting him go? She was in a state of confusion and distraught and her holding out for Jeff meant that he matters a lot for her. Why won’t she be? She is still learning about Aaron but then how can you be certain he’s the one? People have to make mistakes and learn from it. Whether you like it or not, not everything have to be a fairy tale and easily be solved in seconds. Quinn is notably a damsel in distress…. but even to me, she is a very realistic and problematic desperate damsel in distress. Her desperation is real. While she at most time have difficult times in keeping everything is real, Jeff is probably one of those that give her hope in helping her retaining her own sanity. The voices are very against her being together with Aaron and uses him against her. In a sense, they succeeded in manipulating her into making a lot of mistakes that gave her enough motivation to lead her to that fateful end.
I hope there will be a sequel to this book considering it give an interesting cliffhanger although there are some resolved question about Quinn and Aaron but it would be just too sadistic not to have a continuation. Like I said, there are elements in this novel are not for the soft hearted. This book’s similar in vein to “Carrie”, so it would be really wrong to group it similarly with the YA genre. But whatever rock your boats, there’s always a reader for this kind of YA.
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.