Cover Image: The Wicked Unseen

The Wicked Unseen

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Member Reviews

This is the BEST, funnest horror - I love Gigi Griffis and love her books, and I think that this will be an amazing one. Especially considering the subject matter is a rare one for me to read about - like, satanic panic on the other side of things~
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3.5/5 ⭐
Audre isn't stoked to be moving from Brooklyn to rural Pennsylvania. Things get better when she meets Elle at a bonfire. Soon though, Elle goes missing and the satanic panic terrorizing the town takes hold even more. Audre and her new friend David investigate.

I thought this was going to be more mystery than it was. It was more about the community and satanic panic than it was truly finding clues, etc. I thought the finding out what happened to Elle was a bit anticlimactic, but there was some action after that that picked up the pace more. Overall, a solid YA book but less mystery than you might expect.

I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This takes place during the height of satanic panic. A teen girl Elle goes missing and it appears the law enforcement has decided it was a cut of satanists before having any proof. 

This book was just ok for me but I did overall enjoy it. There is a lot of clever dialogue snuck into this book, to highlight the injustice or racism in that community. Such as there is a wood scene where Audre is giving a lot of crap to the police and her friend David is not. But she is a white girl so they just warn her while cuffing David a Puerto Rican boy, Not even caring if he fell he could get hurt.

Then there is the micro aggressions by people of faith. Using the term "agree to disagree" as a way to ignore their ignorance.

This is a short fast read. Would be a good fall read.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House Childrens for this advance reader copy. My review is voluntarily my own.
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Have you ever wondered about the Satanic Panic? Well The Wicked Unseen is a fantastic book that takes the reader on a haunting ride with Audre as she tries to find out what happened to Elle. I seriously couldn't put this book down. Highly recommended!
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THE WICKED UNSEEN is an intriguing, fast-paced thriller set in 1996 with spooky vibes and loveable characters that had me ready to riot if they didn't make it to the end. I loved the deconstruction of horror tropes and especially how the author subverted our expectations with the 'final girl'. I had no idea how bad the Satanic Panic was in the 90s and this book opened my eyes to how people were easily riled up and manipulated into condemning rock music and certain cartoons as being the devil's work! Its incorporation in the story raises the stakes as Audre not only deals with trying to find the missing Elle, but also fending off accusations and attacks from townsfolk convinced her family is responsible just because they're not conservative Christians.

The writing is especially clever, and the characters are well-developed and thoughtful. It would be easy to reduce the evangelical players into caricatures, but the author keeps them believable and balanced. And even though this is a thriller-mystery, there was a good amount of humor too, which I thoroughly appreciated. I’m a fan of well-placed snark, and nobody is better at it than teenagers, especially one as intelligent and self-assured as the main character, Audre. I was rooting for her every step of the way. All in all, this was a fun and fast read, with a totally unexpected ending you won’t see coming!
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"The Wicked Unseen" by Gigi Griffins. I had mixed feelings about this book.

On the positive side, i found the idea of the cult and the overall story interesting, which is a testament to the author's ability to create a compelling premise. I also appreciated the book's exploration of real-life issues and the way it challenged religious and supernatural ideas.

However, it seems like the execution of the story fell short in some areas. The dialogue and character development didn't resonate with me.

Despite these criticisms, I acknowledged that the book was a relatively quick read and that I would potentially read more from the author in the future. Overall, it sounds like I found some aspects of "The Wicked Unseen" to be engaging, but the book didn't fully live up to its potential.
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In Gigi Griffith’s The Wicked Unseen, 16-year-old city girl Audre moves to a rural town where Satanic panic is alive and well. When a local girl goes missing, Audre knows something isn’t right. This book is a fun mix of Fear Street and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. Teen sleuths and classic horror.
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This was sort of entertaining, but I couldn't connect to it much deeper than that. The idea was super cool--I definitely was hooked by the promise of cult stuff--but ultimately the way this was written made it hard to really get sucked into, and I never really cared for the characters. I think that the dialogue didn't really serve the story, or flesh out the characters, in a meaningful way. I know the author mentions that she really enjoys unlikeable female characters, but I almost feel that Audre was so unlikeable in a way that, again, doesn't serve the story at all. And making her "unlikeable" doesn't make her more believable, just harder to relate to.  I think maybe the author meant she likes female characters that are flawed, nuanced beings, but she just went too far into that characterization. 

Overall, the story was a relatively quick read with an interesting idea that ultimately didn't really pan out in the writing. The characters and the writing style were my two biggest issue with this work.  While I generally would read more from this author, I probably wouldn't if any of the characters were marketed as "unlikeable", hah.
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Nice and creepy, but unfortunately not without its faults. I couldn't always truly connect with the writing and the characters. Still, I liked the book and would recommend it to certain readers.
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I came for the cult vibes, but ended up not sticking around. The book just wasn't for me, and I couldn't get into it which was such a bummer
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TW for domestic violence (mostly off-page or flashbacks).

This isn't your average young-adult mystery/thriller. It's so much better. And so much more sad-- for Elle, Ryan, Mrs. Mason and every other character who's been hurt by a system that claims to want the best for them.
It's also not a supernatural thriller at all, even though it may look like one based on the cover and the title (which seems intentional). It's a story about how real life is so much scarier than any religious or supernatural idea. (Audre's mom's rant on this topic was my favorite part of the book).

It's 1996, and goth-girl Audre Weaver has recently moved to the story's small-town Pennsylvania setting from New York. It's apparent for her entire family right away that they stand out: Audre is openly lesbian, her mom is a mortician, and her dad has a collection of Ouija boards and other spiritual-type items, and was previously a member of the Church of Satan for research purposes. Everyone else, with the exception of Audre's new best friend David, seems to be a hardcore conservative and Christian, even administrators and teachers in their public school. Audre is called out in front of the entire church for wearing a "demonic" Pokémon shirt, teenagers are subject to a trauma-inducing Hell House instead of a Halloween celebration, and when Audre and David speak Spanish to each other, their classmates assume they're speaking in tongues. There's also a rumor that a Satan-worshipping cult lives in the town's woods, which makes Audre and her family even more of a target. 
It's not long before Audre develops a crush on Elle Mason, the pastor's daughter, but just when she's getting to know Elle, she disappears-- and not even the pastor has answers. As the locals blame the rumored Satanic cult, their views of Audre's family start to go from "weird" to "evil and suspicious." Every time new evidence comes up, they lose faith that Elle will be found alive, but Audre is sure that she's out there somewhere and whatever took her has nothing to do with demons or Satanists and everything to do with their town's most power-hungry abusers in the church. 

While Audre is a great character who I really liked, my favorite character was 100% her mom. She's not here for anyone's bullshit in the name of religion, and I love how outspoken she is about it. I want to know what she was like at Audre's age. And, hello? She and Audre's dad dress as Morticia and Gomez Addams for Halloween? What's not to love about them?

I cannot recommend this book enough. Even if you usually only read supernatural thrillers, READ THIS.
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Audre and her family have trouble fitting in to their new town, which seem to orbit heavily around a creepy pastor and a cult-like arm of Christianity. I have to be honest: I was not a fan of this book, but I also don't think I'm the right audience for it. I could not stand Audre. She really bothered me. We get it; you're edgy, not afraid to challenge authority and the status-quo, and constantly call out the social injustices around you. Like, constantly. Maybe the disconnect for me was that this is a YA novel; but to me, Audre's character development was just SO heavy-handed. I did think it was pretty funny when I found in Gigi's "About the Author" section, she noted that she's a sucker for "unlikeable" female characters. To me, she succeeded that with Audre.

This was a pretty quick read, and I did find the story to be interesting. The main reason I kept reading it was because I wanted to find out what in the world happened and what was going on in the community. But I did struggle to finish this, because of my issues with Audre.
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This seemed potentially interesting to me but it the end I nearly dnf. I forced myself to get through it though. I did not like the dialogue at all and I didn't really understand the whole 'satanic panic' thing as it happened in the 90s so not sure why a YA book would be set at this time.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with the eARC!

This was such a strong debut! This book embodies the reason why I love the horror genre: not for the scares, not for some boogie man that will give me nightmares, but for ACTUAL horror and to have a voice in societal/political issues. The different conversations the characters have are so important, as well as the rants some of them have (I LOVED Audre's mom! Any time her character spoke, I was like, "Yes, queen!! Say it louder for the people in the back!"). This book discusses abuse, racism, healthy religion vs. cultish religion, and harmful ignorance.
I read this book so fast that I didn't even realize how fast I was reading it. Audre's character is so lovable, and so is her entire family. David and Elle are both lovable as well, especially with how Audre interacts with them and the immediate connections they have. 
I really appreciated the historical endnote that Griffis included in the back - the story already had loads of depth, but knowing that the most extreme, horrible parts are based on history adds even more meaning to it. I'm not the biggest fan of YA books, but this one is a must-read for any horror or thriller lover. This has to be one of the best, well-written books I've read so far this year and has definitely made it onto my favorites list.
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I cannot put into words how AMAZING this book is. First of all, the way it's written, it grabs you from the beginning and just keeps you on tenterhooks until the end! Second, our main character is just AWESOME. A well adjusted 16 year old doing the MOST and sometimes being VERY funny in the process.

I will say, trigger warning for cult like themes and religious abuse. But man oh man, this was one of the best books I've ever read. Cannot wait to get my hands on more by this author and will enthusiastically recommend this to anyone, whether they ask me or not.
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The whole idea for the story seemed great. I love a good cult story if its done properly. With that being said, I felt like the author was almost pushing their religious ideas too much for me to be able to look past that. All and all a nice easy and fun read but not my favorite. Thank you for the ARC!
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I probably should have put this book down after the first few chapters when I realized it wasn’t working for me. However, I continued with the story in hopes that it would get better. It did not. While The Wicked Unseen is a quick read, it is not one that I would recommend picking up due to its unrealistic plot and boring cast of characters.
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The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Griffins
Now this book was a wild ride, one that I didn’t really enjoy until a quarter of the way through. The basics of this book is that Audre and her family has moved to a new town filled with evangelical, satan fearing, weird people. It is a mystery novel, by all things considered, but there are some tough or triggering topics that appear throughout the book. One being, abuse and manipulation, it feels like all the church members (not David’s church though, he’s great) are abusive and manipulative. There is also mention of well Police mistreatment and brutality, and some homophobia (very small amount but still appears). It was hard to read sometimes, not necessarily because of these tough topics but the switch from cringey teen writing/POV to teen describing or witnessing one of the things mentioned above. There was also a lack of consistency in POV, Audre was first, but then Elle was third but also first at some points? At least that is what it felt like to me. But overall this was a very enjoyable story, Griffin’s created such a good mix of mystery, spooky, and realism in this novel. And honestly, my biggest problems with this story is just that it needs maybe an adjustment in editing or a revision in some areas (personal preference however). I do think this could be one of the next big Book-Tok books or other social media if there are some slight writing changes. However, seeing some other books being promoted on social media, this book as is, is still miles better than those. 
I look forward to purchasing this book, and I also will request it at my local library.
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What I like most about this book is that Audre’s family is unapologetically who they are and this is a YA where the MC actually has a good family dynamic with smart, loving parents. There is also LGBT+ & minority representation.

Outside of the family and the mystery, this book deals with a variety of religious and patriarchal/family trauma. I was in high school in 1996, and some of the things that happened in this church brought back memories of why I stopped going myself. It’s spot-on about the era and Satanic panic.

The only thing that took me out of the story were some stylistic choices. There were a few Elle flashbacks but I’d prefer two MCs or one rather than three Elle backstories. There are also a lot of telling asides like, “Feeling: heartbroken. Mind: buzzing.”
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I was given a chance to read this as an ARC and my honest opinion was that the religious aspects that the author kept going on and on about made me uncomfortable. I get it, its a thing that has happened and happens in our world but I guess religious horror is for a specific kind of person who is not me.
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