Review: Ask the Dark

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Title: Ask the Dark
Author: Henry Turner
Genre: YA, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: April 7, 2015

I received an eARC of Ask the Dark through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads)
Billy Zeets has a story to tell.

About being a vandal and petty thief.
About missing boys and an elusive killer.
And about what happens if a boy who breaks all the rules is the only person who can piece together the truth.
Gripping and powerful, this masterful debut novel comes to vivid life through the unique voice of a hero as unlikely as he is unforgettable.

I am honestly shocked about how much I enjoyed Ask the Dark. Shocked, guys. Because this book was just that good. It's been weeks after I have read it, and I am still thinking about it!

I will admit that I had a rocky start with it. Ask the Dark is written in first person with a fairly strong dialect, and it took a long time for me to get used to the accent that Billy's voice is written in. But once I got really into the story, it became a lot easier to read because I got used to how Billy talked. You see, there is one detail that is included at the end that makes the book's writing style way more understandable: Billy is telling the story into a tape recorder. So the writing is exactly like how he spoke. I sort of wish this was included in the beginning.

Since the very beginning of the story, the reader knows that Billy is the one that finds the killer, and this just adds to the immense suspense in this thriller. And that suspense is what really makes this book. I actually found myself talking out loud in the dark while I read this. Lots of "Don't go in that house!" and "No, Billy! No!" and simply "Oh my god." It was like when you are watching a movie and you cover your eyes because know that something is going to happen, but you can't because it is a book! As Henry Turner's first book, I am honestly excited about any other thrillers that he creates in the future. Because wow that is some awesome storytelling.

Let's talk about Billy, shall we? We shall because he is so damn interesting. Billy is a young boy who used to be a major trouble maker in the neighborhood--trashing cars, egging houses, stealing--until he promised his dying mother that he would stop acting that way, stop looking for trouble. But the reputation stuck with him. So when he starts when he starts to piece together who is taking the boys from his neighborhood and what is happening to them, he knows that no one would believe him. In fact, some people blatantly tell him so.

The main reason why I love Billy is because he is such a real and dynamic character. He is labeled as trouble, and I will admit that he does get himself into a lot of it, but he secretly has such a big heart. He has so much going on in his life: he is the only one trying to save his family's financial problem. But the problem is that Billy is still just a fifteen year old kid and can only do so much. He is stressed and just trying to do all that he can, even debating breaking the promise he made to his mother about staying out of trouble. So when Billy starts noticing odd incidents and clues, he has so much going on that he doesn't fully realize just what he has found. The reader gets to go along with Billy through these discoveries and struggles, and it was nail-bitingly good.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5. It was really fucking good. Szcuse my language.

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