Author: Josh Malerman
Edition/Pages: Hardcover, 387 pages
That was one of the strangest things I’ve ever read 😳
Note: This book is a very slow burn, slice of life plot. The less you know going in, the more impactful it will be. So I tried to keep this synopsis really vague. But I recommend skipping it regardless if this is a book you’re interested in picking up.
J attends a prestigious boarding school. Him and the other alphabet boys live and attend school in a tower in the woods, overseen by D.A.D. J has been feeling different lately, like there is something he is missing. Then one day, a book appears in all the boy’s rooms, one that tells them of secrets the school has been keeping from them. Now J is questioning everything and his loyalty to the only family he’s ever know.
Few things I feel like you should know about this
- While this books is suspenseful it would classify this more as speculative fiction than horror. It takes a creepy idea and we watch how it plays out. This is not by any means a scary book.
- The characters are “named” letters. I didn’t find this confusing at all, but I know a lot of people have commented that they thought it was.
- This is a slow burn book. It starts out very much slice of life of these boys at boarding school. I love a slow, character driven book. And the tone and writing style pulled me and captured me immediately.
Content Warnings: Abandonment, Murder, Child abuse
What I Liked
- This is one of the strangest, most unique, and intense concepts I’ve ever read. Like I said above, this is definitely a slow burn plot. But it was absolutely worth it. Malerman’s writing is captivating and I couldn’t put this down once it got going.
- This takes place at a “boarding school”, which is one of my favorite bookish settings. The school was so foreboding and atmospheric. I was always on edge, waiting for the shoe to drop.
- This. Ending. Wow. The last quarter of this book was outstanding. I did not see the twist coming and it was perfectly executed.
What I Didn’t Like
- I actually wish the synopsis had been MORE vague! If you happen to not have read it, I would recommend not doing so! I think this book would have had a bigger impact had I not know some of the info. The synopsis tells you that there are 2 schools, 1 for boys and 1 for girls. But you don’t meet the girls school until well past the halfway point. I wish it had been left out – it would have been more impactful!