Cover Image: It Looks Like Us

It Looks Like Us

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Member Reviews

3.5 Stars
Thank you to Page Street Kids and TBR Beyond Tours for an arc of this and Netgalley for an earc.

 It Looks Like Us is like a YA version of John Carpenter's The Thing! When Riley gets the opportunity to collect samples in Antarctica to help climate change, she jumps at the chance to get off the continent and away from her anxiety-filled life. With the other 4 teen volunteers, a scientist, and one of SladeTech's employees to babysit, the team begins sample collection. But then the scientist goes missing, and returns looking....not right. And everything is a horror fueled mess from then on.

This book was interesting and definitely a page-turner. Riley is an interesting character and potentially an unreliable narrator, which is fun. Everyone is really unreliable with a shape-shifting monster roaming around.

I love The Thing, so it was super fun to read a YA book with a similar premise. I do wish that Riley's asexuality and anxiety had been explored more, but I liked the descriptions, atmosphere, and body horror! 
 Content Warnings
Graphic: Confinement, Mental illness, and Body horror
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Overall

It’s fall, and you know what that means? I am officially jumping on the creepy book bandwagon. And what could be creepier than some unknown creature in the unexplored icescape of Antarctica? Well . . . very little, honestly. So I immediately knew I had to read this book. Plus, how many books are set in Antarctica?! Pretty cool.

It Looks Like Us is a chilling, spine-tingling horror set in the Antarctic. The frozen continent keeps its secrets . . . maybe a little too well. Filled with twists and turns and body horror, this one kept me on the edge of my seat.

This is a pretty short book and a really fast read, especially as things start going wrong and you get into the meat of the mystery (which, honestly, doesn’t take that long). Ames doesn’t beat around the bush or waste the reader’s time. We’re thrown right into the thick of things, with an unsettling atmosphere where things just feel off. Though there are elements of the plot that are fairly predictable, and the characters aren’t especially deep, what Ames manages to capture is all the fun and thrill of staying up late and watching a “monster in the [insert setting here]” horror movie, where you’re not particularly concerned for the characters anyway; you just want some good, ol’ creepy monster action going on.

My Thoughts

- In Ames’ newest release, this group of kids sent to Antarctica don’t really know why they’re there. All they know is they’re not alone. And I don’t mean the few other research bunkers scattered across the continent, either. Ames invokes the classic “monster” trope in a new setting: the vast frozen tundra of Antarctica. What makes this work so well is the not knowing—both of what the creature is, nor what it could possibly be.

Lake Vostok is mentioned multiple times as a possible source of their problem. It’s a giant subglacial lake under Antarctica with its own unique ecosystem that, of course, scientists aren’t sure about. So sure, why not blame the giant, scary, unknown thing on the giant, scary, unknown subglacial lake? Makes sense to me!

I really enjoyed the way Ames plays with fear of the unknown to create a tense atmosphere that had me flipping quickly through pages to find the answers.

- The main character, Riley, suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks, and she sees this as a fresh start with new people (potentially future friends?). But she’s not the only member of the team with a secret. There’s a bit of mental health rep here with Riley, who was ostracized in her own life due to a massive panic attack in school that freaked out her friends and classmates. This expedition is meant to be a fresh start for her. Except . . . you know . . . giant monsters aren’t known to be great for people with severe anxiety? Riley has to rely a lot on coping mechanisms, as well as the help of her companions, to keep her anxiety from taking over.

Riley isn’t the only member of the group that consider this expedition as a fresh start, though. Everyone else on the team has their own secrets . . . and their own motives. Not all of them pure, exactly. While I don’t feel like I got to know any of these characters particularly well over the course of the book, that suited me just fine. I mean, we were in Riley’s head, and Riley doesn’t know them particularly well, either. That’s part of what makes the setting so creepy: being stuck in a confined place with strangers! Especially if you’re an introvert.

- It Looks Like Us has a very spooky atmosphere of something lurking around the corner, something not quite right. But it also has a lot of body horror, so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with a weak stomach. I mean, if you want the bejeebus scared out of you in a way that makes you keep all the lights on at night, yes, absolutely, Ames manages to capture that really well. Unfortunately for me, I read this entirely at night (well, and early morning, when it was still dark), which is not a great time to read something where the characters are literally being hunted and stalked by a horrific unknown creature if you’re a big scaredy cat like I am.

The monster in this book is described in great detail, and guys . . . it ain’t pretty. Ames definitely earns the “body horror” part of the description on this one. I’m not a huge fan of body horror myself, but that being said, this didn’t bother me too badly. Plus, the few particularly graphic sections are easy enough to skim past without really missing too much. Trust me, this monster is creepy enough even without reading the descriptions of its disturbing appearance!
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It Looks Like Us is a sinistrous nightmare. Trust nothing and beware everything.

Alison Ames became an author I had my eye keenly fixed on after the fiendish To Break a Covenant. She cements her status with this insidious, intense, and claustrophobic story, combining cutting social commentary with a story with shades of the staple of horror films: The Thing.

This is a deeply unsettling, psychologically horrendous book. Ames stalks your mind just as the monster stalks our central characters. The central premise of this book makes it impossible to trust anyone or anything you see on the page. This is an incredibly oppressive and baleful atmosphere, driven by mistrust and fear. The isolated nature of the setting adds to the unnerving, particularly that fear of the unknown and the undefined. Nature is an eternal mystery, offering so many beautiful moments but also hellish moments of darkness. Ames really leans into that here, with a meditation on the horror caused by capitalist endeavour and the pursuit of profit despite the cost. Monsters come in both recognisable and unknown forms here, human and something else entirely. The societal parallels here are unmistakable and that eco horror commentary is something striking and unusual.

From the first page, Ames ensures that you know this will be a bloody and frightening tale. That opening was incredibly atmospheric and definitely had me hooked. I liked the narrative style, moving from flashback to interview. The little hints at future actions and the way you know this is a doomed experience from the first page are brilliant. Ames excels in that fine ground that combines stomach-churning gore and action on the page with those spindly voices whispering in the back of your skull. Those body horror and contortion scenes are pure nightmare fuel. Rarely does a book actually leave chills on your skin and flashes of fear in the night than this book. There are plenty of very, very horrific scenes that are properly skin crawling, but plenty more moments that make the pit in your stomach drop because you are just anticipating more bloodshed. You are always on edge reading, questioning everything you are presented with. That psychological torment and paranoia in the characters is so well-executed and really adds to the atmosphere of terror.

Of course, horror only hits as hard if you actually care about the characters you are reading about. An absolute highlight of the book for me was these three-dimensional and loveable group of teenagers. The teenage friendships the characters form in only a few days add depth to the book. Our protagonist Riley’s compassion and connection with the others makes you want to root for them even more, despite knowledge of their eventual fate. Riley is a perfect central voice for the narrative, plagued by anxiety and panic attacks, but determined to push herself. Her voice is so arresting and enveloping that you really find yourself falling in love with her. The bleakness of the situation they face and everyone’s desire to survive makes the stakes rise even higher. Beyond Riley, our other four teenage companions are well thought out and developed. They all grow beyond their initial introductions and add vital elements of survival. This makes the shape shifting aspect of the monster that much more devastating. When you are not sure if someone you see is really the person you know, it makes every interaction become charged with an undercurrent of distrust.

It Looks Like Us is a tragic horror story that twists your mind and keeps you checking over your shoulder constantly. It is both a raging fire of horror and blood and a whisper in the dark.
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This story is about five high school students who travel to a remote research station in Antarctica to partake in data collection about climate change. The project is hosted by SladeTech-- owned by rich tech-bro Anton Rush (haha!). When they get there, they discover more than just proof of plastic pollution... and it looks human too. Our main character, Riley, wants to escape her high school and the students who ridicule her there. She has anxiety and suffers from panic attacks, one of which was filmed at her school. Once at the research station, Riley soon discovers that no one at the research station can be trusted either, as someone tries to kill her, or something I should say. If you've seen The Thing and enjoyed it you'll love this! Riley is also asexual and there are some other LBGT reps in the side characters, though I cannot personally speak to the accuracy of the asexuality representation. I loved the commentary on capitalism and the use of horror to comment on social issues. The remote setting and eery discoveries really made a great atmosphere, as there was no one to trust. This story was fast-paced and gripping from the very start!
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This book follows a group of teenagers who are brought to the Antarctic to do what they believe is research about microplastics in the ice. They quickly realize that the actual goal of the expedition is to capture an unknown shapeshifting entity that is capable of taking over, and absorbing, their bodies. What started off as a chance to look better on college applications soon turns into a fight for their lives as the creature infiltrates both their home base and their group.

When reading this book, I experienced a thought that I’ve never really had before and that was ‘I wish there was a map’. While I always love bookish maps, my appreciation for them never goes further than admiring the aesthetics at the beginning of the book and then never looking at it again. With It Looks Like Us, however, Alison Ames writes in a way that emphasizes atmosphere and location as a means to make the reader really feel like they’re in the scene alongside the characters. They change location a lot throughout the novel and sometimes my brain had a hard time keeping track of where everything was located in relation to each other. A map would have been useful for me to mark where they were at any given time to understand the setting better.

Because this book is about a shapeshifting monster, readers should be ready for lots of body horror about breaking bones, elongating body parts, gruesome injuries, etc. The version I read is an ARC, so there might be some changes made between what I read and the final product. I think my biggest suggestions would have been to have better lore surrounding the creature because for a good part of the book the characters are just making up ideas about it that very frequently happened to be true. The fact that they were able to accurately predict so much about it didn’t make sense to me, so giving them access to some kind of confidential computer file with some information (doesn’t have to be all) would have made it more believable. There were also several times where I didn’t understand certain character’s motivations, but maybe that’s how trauma responses work. For example, the characters are completely aware that they are in a life-or-death situation in which they are being hunted, but sometimes they would do things that put them in unnecessary danger (e.g. climbing into a dark vent by themselves without telling anyone or one person running away from the group to grab something). I definitely had some horror movie moments of “DON’T GO IN THERE” or “DON’T DO THAT” while reading.

All in all, It Looks Like Us, was an atmospheric and enjoyable horror novel. I predicted the ending within the first like 15% of the novel, but I still enjoyed following the events as they unfolded.
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What a great start to the reading spooky season.  This is a cross between The Thing and an old Dean Koontz novel. I read a book a long time ago where really bad things happened in the arctic and ever since then I cringe when I see articles about the ice caps melting. This will definitely give me nightmares thinking about it..

The descriptions of the monster are so descriptive that I could picture it. It started out with a bang and didn’t let up. The arctic setting was almost a character itself and perfect for the story. 

I had a chuckle at the name of the capitalistic founder of the project “Anton Rusk.”  I enjoyed the diverse cast of characters and read this in a little over a day. While you kinda know the end since we start at Riley’s escape as she tells what happened to get her there, I was still on the edge of my seat wondering how we would get there.

If you are looking for an eerie fall read, I’d add this to your tbr.
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3.5 stars

Five misfit teenagers wanting an escape from their day to day lives are chosen to go on a once in a lifetime research trip to Antarctica, and are subsequently terrorized by a supernatural creature that has been living in the ice. 

I honestly had a hard time connecting to Riley and the story at first, but once things started going sideways in the story it hooked me. From there on the book was fast paced and eerie in the best way. The body horror in this is also fantastically gross and I loved it. 

Thank you Netgalley and Page Street Publishing for the arc!
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Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and Inkyard Press for a physical arc in exchange for an honest review and promotion. All opinions are my own.

Hmm this was weird. Didn't like the ending. The way the MC's asexuality came up was weird to me.

It Looks Like Us is a YA thriller that follows teenage Riley Kowalski who is spending her winter break doing research in Antarctica. Riley doesn’t know what to think of the five other students and the chaperones of the trip. But then she sees one of the chaperones disintegrate in front of her. Something is not right and if she or the other kids are careful, they could be infiltrated next.

My favorite thing about this book was the writing and the depiction of anxiety. I loved the atmosphere of this book so much. It was so well done and really brought all the eerie feelings. My anxiety doesn’t manifest as intense as Riley’s, but many aspects were so similar. I really enjoyed Riley’s character and getting to know the other characters.

This book is very casually queer. I knew there was ace and gay rep going into this. Though I do wish we had known how these characters ID’ed earlier on. If you enjoy thrillers, I’d definitely recommend you to pick this one up!
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YA version of The Thing meets Terror meets Resident Evil!

Six high school students, an adult chaperone, and a scientest head to Antarctica for a research expedition devised and funded by an incredibly wealthy businessman. But what starts as an exciting adventure turns into a complete terror when they realize they're there for more than just collecting ice samples as part of an environmental campaign. Something terrifying is hiding in the cold, waiting for its chance to strike. And it looks just like them. With no way to get home and no idea who to trust, this action-packed survival story will reach a disturbing end, leaving readers with wide eyes long after the last page.

Thoughts: This is one of the best YA horrors I"ve read this year! Alison Ames weaves current events with horror and greed to bring a truly terrifying story that unfortunately could be entirely true if such monsters existed. It Looks Like Us gave me Resident Evil feels with the Jeff Bezos-type character being the mastermind of the expedition and the greed he is driven by, combined with The Thing-like monster who can literally turn into anyone it touches in a polar ice cap setting. Ames fills each horror scene with descriptions that are creepily easy to imagine and captures the action in a way that made the book compulsively readable. I easily devoured this entire story. And yes, that was a terrible pun -- you're welcome. I'm excited to add this to my HS library's collection.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Page Street Publishing for the opportunity to review It Looks Like Us by Alison Ames.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Review: This novel is young adult horror, so it reads very differently than the adult horror that I typically read, BUT I think that it will appeal to the intended audience. I really appreciated the diverse backgrounds of the characters and how the author didn’t shy away from including a main character with anxiety. I enjoyed the pacing and found there to be just the right balance of action and suspense. I think this book has a good amount of gore for the YA audience…it’s a good intro to that type of book. A fun addition for me as an adult reader were the references to the old Animorphs books throughout.

Genre: Young Adult Horror

Publishing date: September 27th, 2022

Rep: Queer, Gay, Asexual, and Anxiety

Synopsis: Shy high school junior Riley Kowalski is spending her winter break on a research trip to Antarctica, sponsored by one of the world’s biggest tech companies. She joins five student volunteers, a company-approved chaperone, and an impartial scientist to prove that environmental plastic pollution has reached all the way to Antarctica, but what they find is something much worse… something that looks human.

Riley has anxiety–ostracized by the kids at school because of panic attacks–so when she starts to feel like something’s wrong with their expedition leader, Greta, she writes it off. But when Greta snaps and tries to kill Riley, she can’t chalk it up to an overactive imagination anymore. Worse, after watching Greta disintegrate, only to find another student with the same affliction, she realizes they haven’t been infected, they’ve been infiltrated–by something that can change its shape. And if the group isn’t careful, that something could quickly replace any of them.

Content Warning: gore and panic attacks
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Thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours, the publisher, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions contained within are my own.

Sometimes, I read horror books because I like how they tend to have commentary on real world issues. Sometimes, I read horror books just to be spooked. It Looks Like Us is one of those horror books that provided a little bit of both!

This story follows a young girl named Riley. She has just signed up for a summer expedition out to Antarctica, where she will be joining a group of teens tasked with collecting ice samples for scientific research. She’s eager to go to get away from her life and try and reinvent herself, if only for the summer. Once they arrive, though, things start to go south. Greta, the expedition leader, starts to act funny and, when she tries to kill her, Riley quickly realizes this trip is not what she signed up for.

When I tell y’all this book gave me the shivers, I’m not lying! I’m not one to usually put much stock into comp titles, but they hit the nail on the head with this book. This is indeed a pretty solid mashup of The Thing and Wilder Girls when it comes to the monster lurking within and the body horror sprinkled throughout. If you’re easily spooked or easily grossed out, this might not be the read for you. But if you like a good jump-scare, you might want to check this one out!

One aspect that added to the creep factor of this book is how well the author built up the atmosphere. You can truly get a sense of the characters’ feelings of isolation as they are stuck on the most inhospitable continent with something that is trying to kill them. Alison Ames crafts the loneliness and the terror so well and that’s what really made this a great horror novel! Dread oozes off the pages and I freakin’ ate it up. The plot also pulls you into the action immediately and it doesn’t let up until you turn the last page. It made for a fast reading experience, that’s for sure!

The characters in this story were wonderfully written, as well. Riley, our main character, is definitely the most fully realized character of the bunch. Though the others in her group are interesting, I felt like they weren’t as nuanced as Riley. I thought the author did a good job depicting Riley’s anxiety, as well. I don’t suffer from anxiety myself, so please take what I say with a grain of salt, but it felt real and intense. Again, the other characters fell a little flat for me, but they were still interesting enough that I was invested in what happened to them. Well… most of them.

Overall, this was a fast-paced, intense read that had me flying through the pages. The atmosphere and tone is pitch perfect for this brand of horror and it had my spine tingling many times! I enjoyed Riley’s character and thought the author did an incredible job depicting how she struggles with anxiety. The secondary characters were less intriguing, but I still had a great time with this book. If you’re a fan of horror that features isolation and leans on the grotesque side, I think you should give this one a try!
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Disclaimer: I received an arc and e-arc of this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: It Looks Like Us

Author: Alison Ames

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Asexual MC with Anxiety Disorder, Asian character, Gay character

Recommended For...: young adult readers, horror, science fiction, thriller, LGBT, queer

Publication Date: September 13, 2022

Genre: YA Horror

Age Relevance: 14+ (gore, death, grief, cursing, panic attacks, violence, drugs, suicide)

Explanation of Above: There is a lot of gore, involving burns and blood and body parts, and violence involving weapons in this book. There is death and grief mentioned and shown in this book. There are 3 instances of panic attacks shown on screen. There are some slight mentions of drugs and suicide/suicidal ideation.

Publisher: Page Street Kids

Pages: 277

Synopsis: Shy high school junior Riley Kowalski is spending her winter break on a research trip to Antarctica, sponsored by one of the world’s biggest tech companies. She joins five student volunteers, a company-approved chaperone, and an impartial scientist to prove that environmental plastic pollution has reached all the way to Antarctica, but what they find is something much worse… something that looks human.

Riley has anxiety--ostracized by the kids at school because of panic attacks--so when she starts to feel like something’s wrong with their expedition leader, Greta, she writes it off. But when Greta snaps and tries to kill Riley, she can’t chalk it up to an overactive imagination anymore. Worse, after watching Greta disintegrate, only to find another student with the same affliction, she realizes they haven’t been infected, they’ve been infiltrated--by something that can change its shape. And if the group isn’t careful, that something could quickly replace any of them.

Review: This was such an amazing book! I loved it from start to finish. The book reminded me a lot of The Thing due to the setting and how the monster worked a bit. I loved the twist at the end, even though I had already guessed it near the beginning. The book did so well with world building and character development. I loved every moment of the book and, I’m probably wrong, but is Asha from this author’s other book To Break a Covenant? Is everything set in the same universe given the same cover palettes being used? Is there a monster multiverse from Alison Ames? I’m  not sure but I’m here doing my impatient dance for her next work of horror.

The only issue I had with the book is how predictable the book was. I felt like it was a bit too obvious for a twist, but I loved it nonetheless.

Verdict: It was so good! Recommending for Halloween Recs!
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I received this book from TBR Beyond Tours/Publisher in exchange of an honest review.

5 reasons why you should read the book:

1. The monster. That one was just horrifically scary. I mean, it already started out creepy as hell. With the feeling of being watched. Seeing something slither under the ice. Seeing something in the ice or snow stare at you. But then it is inside… and you don’t know because It Looks Like Us. The monster was an absolute horror-fest and the author did a freaking amazing job on writing it. I was terrified each time we got to see the monster, and that is a lot because hello stuck on freaking Antarctica and with a megalomaniac rich dude controlling things… good luck outrunning it. It knows. I was just constantly going NOPE and fuck that and OH FUCKITY FUCK. I mean, bones re-arranging themselves? Big gaping maws? Blood or something that looks like that everywhere? It being able to talk with the voices of those eaten? And more… because I don’t want to give everything away. It was just NOPE.
2. The whole vibe of you are stuck and it is fighting for survival all the way. Which I also had with a book named 172 Hours on the Moon. It makes everything much more claustrophobic. And just like with the moon book, you just cannot go outside in a jiffy. You have to prepare. If there is a storm or your oxygen levels are low? You will die. Whereas if you just were on a sunny (or maybe not so sunny) island you can still have some choices. Here? Have fun and good luck.
3. The characters. While we follow Riley as the MC, we do learn more about the other characters along the way and I really liked them. Luke was so sweet and I love how kind he was, he knew how to help Riley when her panic attacks came up, he made sure she was fine. Next up are Dae and Nelson. Lastly Ilse. Yes, Ilse took a bit of a time to get used to. She is a bit crabby and snaps a bit too much for my liking, but later in the book I really liked her. I loved that we got to know each character and that I was rooting for them. I have to also say that while I loved getting to know the characters… it also made things so much harder. Because this is a horror book. A no-escape-everything-is-going-to-fucking-hell book.
4. How fast-paced it was. For reals. The first 30% just flew by and I was oh so worried that the book would just suddenly peter out. And while it did eddy/eddie in some parts (especially later), for most it was just GO GO GOGOOOOOOOOOOO. You just couldn’t take a break. Breaks were NOT accepting by this book. You just had to go go go and run!! Run!
5 The now and then. We get to read how Riley got out. How Riley was saved. In the now parts we see her interviewed and while I hated those cops. I loved the little danger nuggets that the author put in that just made me squee and eeeeeeek, and I couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out. And then the then, in which we read about how the teens got to Antarctica, see them collect samples… see them run and survive and blood and gore go everywhere.

I know it is just 5 reasons, but I have to add a 6th and a 7th one: The gore was well-written. I am normally not a big gore lover these days, though I am sure me from years ago would have absolutely been delighted by this one, haha. Bones clicking and reforming. Deadly blood dripping. Offal here and there. Some other fun bits. Rot in arms. Oh yes, baby. I have to say that I felt less disgusted? I noticed the same with another horror book, so maybe my stomach is steeling itself again? Renewing the levels of how much he can handle?
And then there is 7: the adorable rat we got to see a few times and then especially later. It was just the absolute cutest thing ever. I just love rodents. I should say though, non-talking ones. And thankfully, this isn’t a fantasy so it was just a normal adorable rat.
Oh, and 8. THAT FUCKING ENDING.
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I have mixed feelings about this one, which largely stem from me wanting a little more depth from it.

This book is basically The Thing with shades of Alien but starring teenagers instead of adults. The main villain, the person who organised the whole trip and sends the team into a situation where their lives are at risk, is an unsubtle proxy for Elon Musk. I am not criticising the book for any of this. So long as there are individuals with as much money, power, and influence as real-world multi-billionaires do, comparable situations to the one depicted here (and in Alien) are disturbingly plausible. This book isn’t the most scathing criticism of capitalism as a whole that I’ve ever read, but it’s definitely a criticism of mega-corporations and their owners being able to effectively do whatever they like with zero oversight or consequences. If one company owns everything, and then something goes wrong, you’re kinda screwed. This book shows that very clearly.

I liked the characters! Riley was a great protagonist, and I think that the depiction of her anxiety and how this affected her was done really well. The other four teenagers were also all interesting, but had I not gone into this with the expectation that they’d all be dying very quickly I would’ve wanted to see a little more from them. I would’ve liked it if the characters’ queerness, especially Riley’s as she’s the point of view character, could’ve come up in more than literally once, and this isn’t a case of them being too busy trying to survive to talk about it because they do have a solid few days of peace before things go wrong.

I really enjoy it when tropes that aren’t necessarily inherently romantic and/or sexual but are nonetheless almost exclusively used in that context are instead used entirely platonically. This book features a scene of platonically huddling in one sleeping bag for warmth, and I am delighted.

The body horror was visceral, and not for the faint of heart! If that’s what you’re picking this book up for then you will not be disappointed!

The entire book is written in third person present tense. Thing is, this book also has a framing device, with the majority of the story being the events that Riley is recounting after the fact. And yet these chapters are written in present tense, just like the scenes of Riley in the actual present. I think Ames missed a trick here, as if the chapters in the present had been written in present tense and the chapters that Riley’s recounting had been in the past tense it would’ve worked really well. As it is, the present tense in the not-the-present chapters felt like a contradiction, and was a little distracting.

The story did feel somewhat repetitive. Decisions were made, then unmade, then remade, and they went round in circles both figuratively and literally, and at one key point arguing with the villain took precedence over taking a simple action that would’ve saved everyone who was still alive at that point. This isn’t necessarily an issue. If all fictional characters made the best decisions without fail at all times then stories in general would get a whole lot less interesting. Plus these characters are literally all teenagers, and teenagers aren’t exactly known for their decision making skills. I know I certainly have no room to judge the characters for being indecisive. Ah well. Horror protagonists are going to horror protagonist it seems.

In sum, if you’re looking for body horror and zero romance, and don’t mind it if the characters are a little underdeveloped, then you’d probably enjoy this one! I don’t regret having spent time on it.
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It Looks Like Us is Alison Ames’ sophomore novel and after absolutely loving her debut, To Break a Covenant, I was so excited to get my hands on this, and it did not disappoint! The book follows Riley who decides to apply to a research project in Antarctica funded by one of the world’s most prominent tech billionaires when she sees an ad for the trip on Instagram, thinking this will be a good fresh start for her after her life is turned upside-down by her frequent panic attacks. With only a handful of other teen volunteers, a chaperone who looks like she wishes she could be anywhere but there, and an older scientist, Riley begins her plastic pollution survey, but things don’t feel quite right, and the other volunteers keep seeing something out of the corner of their eye, watching them. When Greta starts acting strangely and tries to attack Riley, things go from bad to worse, and they can’t even count on each other in the middle of the snowy tundra.

I feel like I’m not going to say anything new about Alison Ames’ writing that I haven’t already said in my review of her debut novel – she is just such a brilliantly consistent writer who knows her craft and can create some of the most horrifying storylines I’ve ever read. What I can say is that once I started this book, I stayed up until 2am reading it – I couldn’t put it down without finishing it because, that late at night, if I hadn’t I’d have questions and I’d be thinking about it for hours and not get to sleep!

Ames is truly excellent at world building. She did it excellently in the polar opposite To Break a Covenant where I could feel the oppressive summer heat and see the hazy horizons, and she did it again in her portrayal of Antarctica. There really is something so terrifying about being in the middle of a vast, snowy expanse that looks identical everywhere you look and is subject to sudden harsh weather. Plus, when there’s no-one around to literally hear you scream, it’s made all the worse! The isolation of the characters in this book was almost scarier than the actual monster, and that’s saying something!

Having a supernatural monster terrorising the characters was strangely refreshing in this book, when so many of the horror novels I’ve read recently, it’s been humans that were the bad guy all along (although there really is nothing good about a billionaire). I am always a little sceptical when it comes to these kinds of monsters, though, as I never picture them as scary as the author intends them to be, but I can assure you, there is no mis-reading how horrifying this monster is. Aside from the goriness and limbs going all the wrong way, it’s truly unnerving that it takes the shape of people you know and trust – nothing is safe for Riley.

My only reason to drop a star in my rating is really a personal thing, and may not be something that other readers are put off by. Much like her debut novel, It Looks Like Us has a bit of an open ending, and that’s not my thing! I have zero imagination and I need to be spoon-fed the plot! Especially when there is such an explosive ending that could lead to much worse things – I need to know!!!! But that being said, this was such a thrilling and horrifying read that is perfect for this time of year, and I’m eagerly awaiting Alison Ames’ next novel!
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Exciting and horrifying plot along the lines of John Carpenter’s "The Thing" and Agatha Christie’s "And Then There Were None" with very likable YA characters!

"It Looks Like Us" was an exciting and fun horror story, with the vibes of the movie by John Carpenter, "The Thing," and hints of the great Agatha Christie’s "And Then There Were None." I loved the whole setting of a remote science facility in Antarctica and the part the wealthy Anton Rusk plays in putting the teen characters there. These young adult characters represent a variety of personalities, backgrounds, races, and even sexual identities. But no matter their backstory, each one was engaging in their own way and easy to like.

The story fell within both the mystery and horror genres, and both were well developed. The action was non-stop, and there were shocking twists and turns throughout that kept me glued to the pages. The author inserted bits of factual information about Antarctica that I found interesting. However, it is the horror elements that take centerstage. They were imaginative and frightening, and I wish I hadn’t started the book right before bedtime. For those that need to know, as the action and tension ramps up, so does the use of expletives, including some heavy-duty choices. 

With its exciting, non-stop action and engaging young adult heroines and heroes, I recommend IT LOOKS LIKE US to readers who enjoy young adult fiction, mystery, and horror stories or are intrigued by a story set in Antarctica.
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All I needed to know was that this was a retelling of the 80s horror classic movie The Thing. That alone made me ache to read it.

It Looks Like Us was properly scary and, for lack of a better term, cinematic. Every scene was so beautifully detailed that you could see it all so clearly in your mind. It was always fun when there were references from the source film that really helped you get in the zone.

The story was fast-paced, exciting and horrifying enough that you’ll be tempted to sleep with the lights on.

If you like monster horror or if, like me, you’re a huge fan of the movie, you’ll definitely enjoy this wild ride.
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Body horror, isolated setting, misfit teens? Yes, please! This fast, unsettling read is filled with things-that-go-bump-in-the-night creepiness. We meet Riley as she's headed on the trip of a lifetime - an escape from her anxiety-filled, loner school life, and a chance to explore the isolated world of Antarctica.

The Brat Pack meets final girl (no, that's not a spoiler) cast of characters brings their baggage and their conflicting personalities to a quickly unraveling experience in the research station of a billionaire. This book's breakneck pace (with bonus dual timeline POVs) is engrossing and unsettling in equal measure. I loved the vivid descriptions of the mysterious affliction spreading through the research station and the growing unease Ames builds with each chapter. I gasped at the ending and slept with a light on after this one.
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I so enjoyed the first chapter that it was all I needed to be convinced to preorder. I'm intrigued by Riley's secretive backstory and the shady mission. Full review will be added to social media and book retailers once I finish reading.
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it happened again; i start reading an alison ames book, i don’t expect the horror to hit right away, but then that one scene, sentence, description, whatever comes and it’s like a gut punch. my jaw lands on the floor and stays there.

(i lowkey felt like the characters freezing in the antarctic with the amount of chills that ran down my spine.)

alison ames has an ability to create such disturbing descriptions. i am not trying to claim that i don’t get scared easily, that’s not the case, but i consume an okay amount of horror, and reading alison ames’ works the horror comes so fast and it is so efficient. a lot of horror books build up for a long time before the real spookiness starts, but here, even at the buildup, at the beginning it is scary. i’ve had this experience with both of her books – i don’t expect to get so scared so quick and easily, but it sneaks up on me and it’s so good.

in short – it feels nice to read a horror book and be able to feel that it’s a horror book right away.

this book is the definition of having that gut feeling that something is wrong. you’re not sure what, but something is there. it’s truly atmospheric and eerie and perfect if you want something spooky, especially in the colder months.

i have already mentioned that i like horror and this book gives me an excuse to talk about a certain aspect of horror i really really love – body horror. nothing quite gives me as many chills as a body moving or bending in ways it should not be able to. i don’t want to give away too much but i did really love the monster and the idea of it! i would love more of it, but it’s also where i have some critique – when we started getting too many descriptions or weird descriptions, it didn’t feel as spooky anymore, since a lot of the spookiness relied on the not knowing part. but more stuff happened and it’s still an eerie and creepy book.

the cast of characters was quite small but filled with fun personalities and cute friendships; sometimes a family is an asexual girl with anxiety, a gay guy, a monster, and a pet mouse and that’s okay.

if you’re looking for something spooky and atmospheric to read and you’re okay with body horror (check tws) then this is the book for you. it is also quite fast paced and it’s nice with the dual timelines, so if you’re struggling with a slump or if you want something quick to read, pick it up when it comes out September 27!

a big thanks to alison ames and netgalley for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!
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