Cover Image: Teen Killers Club

Teen Killers Club

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Teen Killers Club by Lily Sparks

We follow Signal as she treads her new path that has been carved before her. She finds herself in a bus with another Class A psychopathic murderer, on their way to a camp made just for them and other murderous, dangerous, and manipulative criminals. Camp Naramauke!! And at this special camp, they get campfires, forest walks, obstacle courses…. Oh and how to train to be assassins, dispose of bodies and stitch wounds… and just for added bonus, they have all been installed with a kill switch – no running away guys!

But there is a problem. Signal is not a murderer – she has been framed for the brutal killing of her best friend Rose. But Signal can not remember a thing, and thus convicted of the crime.

So, the story continues to follow Signal as she attempts to decipher her memories, as they sporadically come back to her in patchy sketches that she can not make any sense of. Another ‘camper’ works out very quickly that Signal does not have the same tendencies the rest of them do, being squeamish around blood for instance, and decides to help her out on her road to discovering the truth.

I absolutely loved the way this book tied together in the end. That was brilliant. I don’t want to spoil anything, but just when I was thinking, where is this going? Boom! 

Thumbs up: I loved Signal’s character representation; she was written very well. She stayed very true to being a 17 year old who has found herself in this horrendous situation, she was a complex combination of an outcast misfit trying desperately to be strong.  

Thumbs down: The only thing I could honesty say was I would have liked a little more time at the beginning (before dogmask) with Nobody, Jada, Javier, Erik, Dennis, Troy and Kurt. They do sort themselves out quickly with meeting Signal, but a little more interaction would have really set the foundation for a authentic relationships/interactions that proceed. 

So, as a debut, this book is brilliant. I will be acquiring this book for my library at home!! I look forward to reading future novels from Sparks.

Release date: 10th November 2020
Review on Goodreads and Instagram.
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I LOVED this book. Like, I seriously can't remember the last time I was so damn ENTERTAINED.

Up until she was framed for the gruesome murder of her ex-best friend, Signal Deere's biggest problems had to do with being ostracized as the only goth at her small-town high school.

Signal's world is sort of like an alternate 2020: Snapchat, Netflix, and Apple Watches exist, but so does a personality test/risk assessment called the Wylie-Stanton Index. Every offender is tested and assigned a Class designation according to how dangerous they are, with Class A reserved for the truly twisted.

Turns out, Signal is a Class A.

Except she's vegetarian and woozy with blood, has zero stamina, and can't hold a knife (or poker face) to save her life. Then, after barely serving her first year in prison, Signal's shipped to a mysterious camp in the wilderness, along with a fellow Class A, the ski-masked girl named Nobody. And Signal hopes that this camp—a top-secret assassin-training program—will help her uncover the truth about her best friend's murder.

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WELCOME TO THE TEEN KILLERS CLUB! AKA murder Harvard for psychopathic teenage killers. Deadly Class, summer camp edition.

God, this book made me pee my pants laughing. It's SO dark and macabrely funny, the kind of offbeat-morbid that makes you want to gawk on like a rubbernecking fool. Here, campers learn how to dismember and hide dead bodies so they'll never be found. Every morning, they must complete an obstacle course that simulates breaking and entering. They're quizzed on the precise amount of acid (Zap Sauce!) they'll need to dissolve a corpse, learn how to craft shivs out of soup cans, and play a game of tag in which they slice each other's carotid arteries with Sharpies. All of this is executed with enough pep to power the electrical grid of a small city.

I freakin' ADORED the motley crew cast: each character is so distinct and endearing in their own twisted way. Everyone's first question to each other is: "How many????" As in, how many people have you killed? And with this squad, instead of comparing zodiac signs, the cool thing to do is brag about murder styles.

Erik's the apex manipulator who'll use his charm, intelligence, and killer (pun intended) good looks to worm his way into your head; when you die, he won't even have to lift a finger. If you make a move on Erik, Jada's more likely to carve your smile into one that stretches from ear to ear than she is to give you a chance to explain you were just borrowing a pencil. The twins, Kurt and Troy, revel in the hedonism of drawn-out kills—when they aren't busy cracking fart jokes. Dennis may look dorky and slight, but he has murderous fantasies (torture and decapitation, anyone?) that he lives out in his own corner of the darkweb. Javier's knuckles are layered with scars, yet Signal can't help but be drawn to his gallant and protective presence. And bloodthirsty Nobody never takes off her ski mask and won't hesitate to kill a man with her bare hands, but she's also fiercely loyal, too.

When she meets this gang of Class A misfits, Signal's scared shitless—but also, for the first, time finds some semblance of belonging. (Even if she's the only one who doesn't whoop with joy when a serial killer stalks the campers.)

I seriously had so much fun reading this book. I was hooked on the mystery surrounding Rose's true murderer, fascinated by the campers' backstories, freaked out by the masked serial killer man, and even invested in Signal's budding love triangle! Though the prose sometimes came off a lil too absurd (all those !??!?'s grated on me, y'all), I really, really enjoyed Lily Sparks' writing.

I can't wait for book two. There better be a book two.
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Well, this was a blast of a read.

Our teen killers are much more nuanced than you would expect and the angst doesn’t overwhelm the story.  There’s a bit of a love triangle, but it doesn’t overtake the story.

The story itself?  Super suspense filled.  Lots of danger, more than a little heartbreak, and some unexpected intrigue.

Do you need to suspend your sense of disbelief once in a while?  Sure, but you’ll be having so much fun on this roller coaster ride of a story that you’ll barely notice.

A highly entertaining read!
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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this title. 

Awesome debut. So many of my students love to read thrillers, but YA thrillers can be hard to find. This was a great read that I will definitely recommend to students.
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Thanks to the publisher for the book. The book has an incredible plot and will keep you guessing what's up to come. It's an incredible book
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An amazing debut that I thoroughly enjoyed. 
Signal is framed for the murder of her best friends and then offered a deal, which she takes and ends up at a place where they're going to train her to become an assassin. 

I loved the writing style, it was very engrossing and vividly written! The plot was a bit overdone with all the sci-fi elements, but very well explained so it made me love it as well. 

What I loved most though, are the characters. They felt so real and that is what made this book such a great read! They were very well written and I'm so excited for the next book and to see what happens! 

Also, I liked the mystery elements in the book and the suspense and how well the ending was written!
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What is this about?
Signal has been framed for her best friend’s murder and has been categorised as a Class A — a psychopath with no hope for rehabilitation. However, her way out of prison is the chance to join a very exclusive camp.

What else is this about?
There’s much that grabbed my attention in this book — from Signal, the camp members and other characters, and Signal’s own quest for the truth. However, as I continued to read, I grew weary of how romance overtook the best parts of this book, and worse still, a love triangle, with the elements I hate the most in love triangles. Just because the characters are killers, doesn’t actually make the love triangle less irritating.

You’ll see from the reviews on Goodreads, that the review that follows is in the minority.

Because yes, there’s a love triangle. It’s not even just a romance, with a focus on Signal and one guy, no there’s the tropey good guy versus bad guy(and yes, I can make that distinction in a book about teenage killers), but I’m guessing bc they’re both killers, it was supposed to be interesting? 

It’s not that I am against love triangles, I just find them supremely irritating when they don’t actually do anything for any characters involved, and are just kind of there to inject angst and romance into a story that was actually incredibly interesting without it in the first place.

So what is the Teen Killers Club?
It’s a camp — a summer camp like no other and filled with teen killers, given a chance to basically live their lives in a different kind of prison — you see, they’re trained to continue to kill for the government, and learn everything from running obstacle courses to disposing of bodies in order to give them the best chance of survival because they won’t be rescued if they get caught on their mission.

Signal and this world
Signal has been framed for her best friend’s murder, though no one will believe her. The camp is a chance, she thinks to escape and find out who really killed Rose, but she didn’t reckon on kill switches being implanted in every one’s necks to control them. And yes, if these guys run or veer away from their missions, a flick of the kill switch and they die.

Signal and Nobody, another teenage murderer are brought into the camp and meet the other campers — all killers. The dynamic between this group, and the training and learning about each other is hands down the best part of this book. I genuinely wasn’t sure what was going to happen next because these characters are capable of anything — like Jada, who is cutting Signal to keep her away from Erik, her supposed boyfriend, and is then helping her do her make-up.

And that’s where the love triangle comes in
Two guys vie for Signal’s affections inbetween helping her survive the camp and find out what happened to Rose.

The author does try to balance the romance with the search for the truth, but honestly, I was disappointed that such a creative premise got overtaken by a romantic triangle. I think that’s what pisses me off the most: Signal has an interesting backstory, and that is paid off in the end somewhat…. but my gosh, did I want to know about the others in the camp too — and how Signal interacts with them because she makes some interesting comments about choices, and who these killers want to be.

Do I mind a romance? No, I mind a love triangle and tropey teenage angst that comes with it especially when everyone is infinitely more interesting without it.

And what does it say about her that she begins to make friends and falls in love with a killer? Or Killers (I don’t even know how to describe it) Nope, the book doesn’t even go there.

The central premise of this book is incredibly interesting and compelling, but for me at least the love triangle overpowered Signal’s character at vital parts of the story.

Sighs.
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This is like The Suicide Squad mixed with The Bourne Identity meets Prison Break mixed with Dexter, but for teens. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of love for this book. It's just that I think it was torn between pursuing the story about the Teen Killers Club and the truth behind Rose's murder. Also, I wanted to know the reason behind usage of a word (Signal) for a name. I enjoyed reading this book, despite that one thing that transitioned everyone from kids to adults twice their age. WHY DID YOU HAVE TO DO THAT?! 😭😭😭
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This was a murder mystery like no other I’ve read before and I loved it.

Our main character signal is framed for the murder of her best friend and in order to avoid a lifetime in prison, she goes to a “summer” camp for teen killers. She is labelled a Class A on the testing system for murderous tendencies and ends up at this camp with 7 other Class As.

This story is very much a coming of age story in terms of teen romance and knowing who you are, but it also explores teens who do bad things and if we should lock them up and throw away the key, should we rehabilitate them to make them better people or should we use them for what they are seemingly good at... killing?

There were multiple mysteries throughout and I loved how they were unravelled.

This was a very quick read for me and I did not suspect the resolution on the true killer.

The only negative point I have, and it could just be me as a 28-year-old reading YA fiction, but some parts of the relationships I found cringey. This could have very well been the authors intent, however.

Other than that was a very fun murder mystery novel to read and I found it set up completely different than any others I’ve read! 

My review for this can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3432787463?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

I will also be posting a review on Instagram on 10/08/2020 at https://www.instagram.com/pets.and.pages/
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It's rare for me to score a novel 5 stars. You're more likely to get a handshake from Michael Meyers. Every so often, however, I come across a novel that not only exceeds expectations, it lays me out with a vicious, unexpected suckerpunch. The Teen Killers Club is one of those. In fact, if you only bother with one YA book in 2020, let it be this one.

Lily Sparks' debut is a poignant, entertaining ride, that examines morality, the definition of justice, and humanity. It does a wonderful job tearing apart common assumptions about the criminal/justice system, and humanizing even those accused of the most heinous of crimes. Lily Sparks does not make excuses for the actions of the criminals in her novel; she doesn't shy away from the brutality of their actions, or sugar coat the fact that, in the public eye, they are murderers. Despite this, or perhaps even because of it, you find yourself falling hopelessly in love with each and every one of the would-be assassins.

Teen Killers Club has become one of my favorite reads of 2020. I would like to thank Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books. I was provided an eARC in exchange for an honest review.


Writing quality/readability - 4/5 I'm not typically a fan of novels written from the first person point of view. It has to be damn good writing to hold my attention. The Teen Killers Club fits that criteria. The description is vivid, and does a wonderful job bringing the environment and characters to life. (The hippie cult commune is very reminiscent of a scene from Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, and, far from being derivative, is one of the best and most well written scenes in the entire novel.) At times, the writing feels like a nod to a Tarantino film, with its sleek action sequences and gritty violence in key flashbacks and towards the climax of the novel. As a Tarantino fangirl, I am absolutely here for it. From a stylistic and technical standpoint, the writing is concise and clear, with solid pacing, and an easy to follow flow. Bottom line: it's a fun read!

Plot - 5/5 I'm probably biased, when it comes to this section. The synopsis/premise was what drew me to the novel in the first place. It's an interesting concept: convicted felons/death row inmates are conscripted into a shadow government organization, to be trained as sleeper agents/assassins for covert operations. It's a high octane premise, and it delivers. The whodunit twist at the heart of Signal's plot was intriguing, as well; it kept you guessing. Far from being a tired rehashing of a common trope, the eventual reveal of Rose's murderer is an unexpected twist, that raises more questions, and leaves you hungry for the answer. This is also one of the few times where I wasn't bothered by the predictable outcome of a love triangle as well; it was well written enough to be forgivable, and even satisfying. In some ways, I would have loved for this debut to have not been YA, solely because I would have been interested in exploring the darker themes in Teen Killers Club unfettered by a 14+ age bracket. But as that's my only (minor) gripe, rest assured, Lily Sparks has done something right.

Characterization - 5/5 Novels are fickle. It's rare to connect with, or love, every character. I found myself doing just that. The characters are fully realized and fleshed out. They make no secret of their flaws, and it humanzies them perfectly. While neither the author nor the characters let you forget that these kids are all convicted of murder, or the potential for it, Lily Sparks strikes the perfect balance between driving home the reminder, while being careful not to let it define who they are.

And straight up, you'll fall so hard for these characters that you'll need> that reminder, periodically.


World building - 3/5 This is the only section where I felt the novel misstepped. While Teen Killers Club takes place during present day, there were enough unique touches to warrant this section. Unfortunately, most of these features are barely touched on. While I applaud Ms.Sparks' creation of criminal classification (The teens in question ranked Class A,) there are still a lot of unresolved plot points.

For example, how are rankings determined? What questions, or algorithms, determine a specific classification during testing? Who are the Protectionists? Who is behind the program, and what's their endgame?

None of these are addressed with any real detail. While I'm optimistic that these questions will be answered in a follow up/companion novel, the lack of answers diminished the world building.

Overall, it was a fast paced, fun, and delightfully thrilling read.
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What happens in society when “deviant” behaviors are identified and classified? You get a group of teenage killers. Instead of being shunned for their behavior these teens are trained as killers and sent to eliminate their targets. Lots of action, suspense, mystery and a little love.
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Teen Killers Club had me at "a young girl joins a super-secret society of teenage assassins" and kept me engaged with a riveting plot, believable characters and twists that left my gasping under my breath what?!.

In Teen Killers Club we follow Signal, a girl who has allegedly murdered her best friend but has zero recollection of doing that. After her conviction Signal finds herself taking her only option out of prison by joining a camp for misfit murderers of the highest class under a Suicide Squad type plot. While at camp she meets the most ragtag group of teens, each character developed so well that I feel like I know them.

The mystery elements of this book hold up very well - we have the unsolved murder of Signal's best friend Rose, as well as the curious case of the murderer trying to murder the murderers... yes you read that correctly. Teen Killers Club will lead you in one direction and then give you a little bait and switch with it's plot twists, I couldn't put it down once I really got into it.

For fans of the macabre and morally inept characters, I highly recommend.
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher.

It has great plot and characters. You think you know what is going to happen, but then guess what! You don't!!! I loved it.
#TeenKillersClub
#NetGalley
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This was a fun, well paced entertaining ride.  Would definitely recommend it for fans of the assassin school trope who want something less fantasy, and more reality based.

Also... hoping for a sequel!  That end!

My one piece of feedback is that the cover doesn’t seem well suited to the story, but given that I read an ARC that could easily change.

Thanks Netgalley & Crooked Lane books for this advanced e-ARC!
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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book is fantastic. You think you know how it's going to turn out but nope! It throws a bunch of surprising and earned twists in your way! It's brilliantly written and plotted!
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The first half of this was so good and i really enjoyed the premsie and the mystery aspect of this. However as this continued i had some major issues with this book. 

1. The main character. So often she felt like a mary sue and had other people personalities imprinted on her. She wasn't weak, more that she was useless and inept and would completely rely on everyone else to solve the crime rather than use her own initivie.  She let things happen to her and was inactive and let herself get in some stupid situations and she had the inability of being honest and telling the truth to others when it was needed.
2. The love triangle/square. It was just dumb and unneeded. It wasn't needed at all and really ruined the book for me. If this had been taken out, i would have had less issues with it overall. 
3. The ending. This made the book take a nose dive for me. It was stupid and came out of nowhere. The killer and the other twists came out of nowhere and the author did not leave clues or hints earlier on as is normal in these books meaning the twists were inept and came across as stupid.

This book had so much promise and it only got three stars for the first half and i liked the writing style overall.
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This is Lily Sparks’ debut novel, and man oh man was it good. The main character, Signal, is imprisoned after being found guilty of her best friend’s murder. After being in jail for about a year, Signal is sent to a summer camp of sorts for other teen murders where they will learn how to become assassins. This rag-tag group of teens call themselves the Teen Killers Club. The catch for Signal however, is that she isn’t actually a killer. She was framed for a murder she didn’t commit. 

This book was a page-turner and at the end of each chapter, something would happen that would keep me wanting to read more. There is mystery, suspense, and a sprinkling of romance in this book. This book also has a lot of big messages about self-acceptance and trust. I loved this book, and highly recommend it to anyone who likes mystery or thrillers. Also, I really hope there is a sequel to this book, as there were a number of things left unfinished.  I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

Way to go Ms. Sparks on an awesome debut!
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I absolute;y loved this book! cIt was fast-paced and constantly making me want to read the next page to see what happens next.. Literally read it in two sittings, it reminds me of Riley Sager's work. It has a little bit of everything, murder, intrigue, instant love, teen angst, shadow government branches, terrorists, and even cults!
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I received an ARC through NetGalley from Crooked Lane Books. In a near future, people can be tested for their potential to be killers and sociopaths. At the top of the pack are Class A’s, the most brutal, heartless killers. Signal Deere tested Class A after being found guilty of killing her best friend. Now she is part of a secret installation that trains and deploys teen killers. Signal says she is not guilty of her accused murder. She doesn’t quite fit in at camp, but she is making friends with the other interesting inmates turned assassins. Can she hang? Can she find the real killer, so she can get justice?

Overall, I expected more from this, but found found Signal like-able and I wanted to see the mystery of her best friends murder unveiled. The love triangle is not my thing and I would have liked more character development with Nobody, Dennis and Jada - the secondary characters. Maybe in a sequel? Teens will find this easily readable and attention grabbing.
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Honestly, without saying too much to spoil it; this book kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. What a wild ride, I loved it.
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