A YA horror with queer representation. I will never look at corn mazes quite the same after reading this. The story drew me in and I was rooting for the characters, as they were charming and real. I had no idea how the story was going to end and could not wait to find out. It was overall an enjoyable read.
Thank you for NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Seniors and friends Sadie and Logan ho on a short jaunt into a corn field, but it quickly turns into a nightmare where they seemingly have died over and over trying to escape. In addition to battling outside forces, both have ADHD and Sadie’s history with crappy friends makes it hard for her to open up, even when she wants to.
In the Tall Grass meets Escape Room, but make it YA. I really enjoyed this one. There were plenty of twists and turns as well as relatable, neurodivergent issues. I loved the friendship between Sadie and Logan! It was a refreshing break from romance plotlines. Bonus, fat rep!
Sadie and Logan are two best friends who recently skipped a field trip to Kings Island. Instead, they decide to explore an abandoned corn maze (in the spring, no less!) Things start to get strange when they find their corpses across the maze. Even worse, they fear somebody is hunting them.
Before long, they realize they've been in this maze before, but they can't seem to get out. With a classic Indiana thunderstorm on the horizon, they realize time in the maze is different because the storm simply isn't moving closer.
I love that Sarah Hollowell wastes no time getting started. Although I couldn't completely relate to some of Sadie's struggles, I felt for her and hoped she'd eventually be able to open up to Logan about her past.
The story lags some when we see the first few iterations of their attempts through the maze, but it picks right back up and takes some unexpected turns.
What Stalks Among Us is the perfect book for readers who want speculative fiction/horror with a contemporary setting and unique characters with similar struggles, but different personalities. I loved the emphasis of friendship and trust in this book, and as a Hoosier, I'm also quite biased toward anything set in Indiana.
This book definitely kept you guessing. I like the concept but it didn't hold my attention as much as I would have liked. But I do think this will have an audience. I did like the characters and their relationships.
Something about YA Horror is scarier than adult horror, including this book. Who knew corn could be so terrifying? Not me. Very well written. This book will leave you covered in goosebumps by the end.
3.5, which way to round.....
The good here - I very much related to Sadie's ADHD brain, anxiety, etc. I appreciate that Sadie's past abusive relationship was online and emotional abuse. This alone is worth putting this into the hands of so many middle and high schoolers. Like Sadie, they need to hear someone say that it is real, it is abuse, and your feelings are valid. They also need to see the modeling of healthy support and friendship that the two main characters have.
The beginning of this one really sucked me in. I didn't want to put it down, and even got my partner to buddy read with me. The maze was creepy and a mystery to solve. Clues were found, the characters were learning, and now we didn't know who to trust of those already in the maze.
Then I felt guilty for the recommendation as I got to the last half to third of the book. It amost felt like the author wrote themselves into a corner and used some random and sloppy conceits to move the plot along. The weather becoming an actor without explanation of how it tied in, despite it looming the entire time. Ditto with the maze absorbing people. Then the characters make rapid fire decisions based on "maze intuition." Also, where are all the other characters that had been in the maze? So much potential there lost to focus on a he said she said with Helena and Anthony.
This rushing very much undermined the work the book tried to do with abuse, trauma, and healing. Why is Sadie like Anthony with corn in her body? What ultimately separates her from the maze while he is trapped in it? The pieces are there but dropped to get through plot points. Some felt added because someone said - you never explained x. So a scene was added to explain x, but otherwise doesn't fit. And there were a bunch of things that seemed to have a point that were just dropped (the sheep!!!) This resulted in a weird patchwork and then the predictable he said she said finale. Ultimately it felt like the story fell apart instead of reaching its potential.
This was such a compelling, frightening story, and it felt like being in a movie. The action stayed pretty consistent throughout, the maze was creepy and fascinating, and the time loops really worked for me. I really felt myself getting so invested in the story and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes haunted corn mazes, horror, and mysteries. What didn't work as well were the unreliable characters, and the neat and tidy ending, but overall the story was so good, I could forgive the small problems I had.
This was such a twisty mystery, scary while still being readable, and all in all a fun and worthwhile read. The protagonist is well-rounded as a character, making this book fit within the horror and mystery/thriller genres while also being an interesting and intimate look at toxic relationships and friendship. The first half of the book is more genre-focused while the second half is a little bit more character and relationship focused, but both sides work with one another. It’s a little bit outside of what I’ve come to expect with horror while still playing within its boundaries. If you’re a horror and thriller reader or looking for some YA horror that has a good plot and is a little on the lighter side, I would definitely recommend checking this one out!
I think one of the best parts of this book is the continued look at toxic/abusive relationships, whether they’re romantic or platonic. We follow along Sadie’s healing journey and get to see her grow into an even better and healthier person. And despite Sadie being the main character, Hollowell never forgets her best friend, Logan, and their relationship with one another. Both of them are human but have such a deeply personal platonic relationship, even when they don’t fully realise it yet. I empathised with the characters from the beginning and I was invested in them getting out of the maze throughout the entire story.
Before I started this book I really hadn’t heard much about it so I was happy to find a book that I ended up enjoying as much as I did. It has some elements that are so classically horror, while also exploring outside the traditional parameters of the journey, with a fat, queer protagonist and a BIPOC queer best friend who isn’t comedy or the first kill. At the end of the day, it’s a story about friendship, and one that’s well worth the read in my opinion.
What Stalks Among Us Review! 🌽
Thank you Harper Collins Children’s Books and netgalley for this honest review! What Stalks Among Us is out now!
I’m not really sure what I was expecting diving into this one, but it wasn’t it. What Stalks Among Us was a 2/5 ⭐️ for me!
This one was so strange and just very random to me at times. I thought there were a lot of filler pages that weren’t quite necessary. To me, the story just didn’t come together. The first half was very different to the last half! I did enjoy the character and their sweet friendship though!
Synopsis: Two friends decide to ditch their class field trip and drive around. They come across a random cornfield and decide to give it a try even though they are confused. What’s a cornfield doing in the middle of the summer? As soon as they go in, they notice more strange things and then they realize they can’t get out.
After going through a corn maze at a local fall festival I decided it was time to pick up this book and I am so glad I did. First, having the experience of a corn maze fresh in my mind added to the book, but the author did a fantastic job of evoking all of the reader's senses when describing this horribly creepy maze. I was blown away by how easy it was to dive into this world and how real Logan and Sadie's experiences in the maze felt. I think that the way the author framed this story as a haunted corn maze time loop when in actuality it was a story about abuse, trauma, and grief was really well done. I also really liked how Sadie's thoughts and feelings were portrayed regarding her struggles with anxiety, ADHD, and trauma.
This book was weird! In a really good way. It was a little slow at first but once it picked it really picked up!
-Sadie and Logan’s friendship! I absolutely love seeing a strong friendship where it is clear they really care for each other.
-Very creepy; if I was stuck in a corn maze finding bodies that looked like me I would be freaking out. Even listening to someone else experiencing it in fiction creeped me out
-Lots of moments that make you wonder what is going on (this is a positive for me but might not be for everyone)
-Great representation; the MC is a fat bisexual girl with anxiety and ADHD. She is also recovering from the trauma of an abusive relationship. In my opinion these were all handled well.
Not for me:
-Honestly sometimes I just related a little too much to Sadie and her inner dialogue was too close to my own. Not really a bad thing just kind of a lot at times for me personally.
What Stalks Among Us is a YA thriller about two friends stuck in a haunted corn maze. The two main characters were very likable and you really rooted for them to figure the maze out and escape. The plot was pretty good, I found it interesting enough to read the whole thing, but did find it very slow in parts. It repeats itself a lot and that can be a bit boring. I really enjoyed the ending, it pulls it all together nicely. While this is tagged under horror, I did not really find it scary at all, I would say more of a creepy vibe. Perfect for fall reading!
What Stalks Among Us is a creepy psychological thriller about two best friends trapped in a corn maze with corpses that look just like them. A Field of Dreams meets Twilight Zone. What Stalks Among Us puts facing trauma face to face (literally) at the forefront of this eerie story.
Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins Children's Books, Clarion Books for providing me with a review copy.
The fat rep, the trauma rep, and the real-life escape room vibes shine in this book. The story is layered because people are layered. The maze is complicated because feelings are complicated. The characters speaking about their past and coming to terms without was so real. And the fact they are doing this to get out of a supernatural corn maze is just the perfect horrific addition. I love Sarah Hollowell books!
This book was so unexpectedly good! I almost didn't pick it up because I thought it would be too scary for me, but it was about so much more than horror. This story was so original, and had so much substance to it. Sadie and Logan enter this mysterious maze and keep running into their own dead bodies, as well as another character in the maze, and I couldn't decide if she was a villain or not. There was a ton of really well-done commentary on emotionally abusive relationships and the trauma that lingers even after they have ended. Even though I don't usually enjoy books with time-bending elements, this one was written in a non-confusing way. I absolutely loved the ending. I felt joy, emotional relief, and a strong urge to stand up and cheer for all these characters. I will 100% be adding this to my library collection as soon as possible!
This was an interesting ride following best friends Sadie and Logan. Generally about confronting trauma and forgiving yourself, this story takes place in a magic corn maze filled with monsters, a mystery, and a lot of bodies. Sadie's and Logan's bodies. It was a very interesting concept, a great visualization of the cyclical nature of abuse and guilt. I love that at no time does a romance blossom between Logan and Sadie, their friendship isn't just a plot point. Over all I'd give the book 3.75 mostly because I found it predictable
What a creepy book! A story about two friends who get stuck in a corn maze that has a mind of it's own, this book talks about important topics such as abusive and toxic relationships both romantic and platonic. It is entertaining, creepy, and important all at the same time and I think that is a rare a great blend.
I had a really tough time getting through this one. The premise sounded great, but the execution of it was lacking. I was expecting more of a horror story, and although it did have a couple 'creepy' moments it really was a let down in that regard. I found the story way too repetitive with the time looping and there was so little explanation of to what was actually happening that it was almost nonsensical to me. It was also challenging for me to really get into the characters, although the author did a decent job of at least explaining some of Sadie's past and how it still impacts her. The one thing I did like was the ending of this book, it wrapped up nicely and I liked the emotion of the characters as it came to a close.
Sadie and her best friend Logan decide to skip out on a field trip and just go for a random drive instead. They decide to check out a corn maze they find and very soon realize they're trapped. With Logan's dead body.
I hesitate to say this was fun, due to the topics it discussed, but it pretty much was. Sarah Hollowell's writing is really easy to fly through and I really enjoy it.
Sadie is dealing with breaking up with her abusive online boyfriend and losing her only friends because of him. She's dealing with a lot of self doubt, and self hatred, and anxiety-induced overthinking. I understand why she was like that, but it did make it a bit harder for me to like her.
It would have been interesting to get a few chapters from Helena's perspective to see how she justified her actions to herself.
So far I've really enjoyed both of Sarah Hollowell's books and I look forward to more from her.
CW: blood, death, gun death, minor car accident, abusive relationships, murder, suicide, anxiety, body horror, self harm
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free review copy.