Cover Image: The Darkness Rises

The Darkness Rises

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Member Reviews

A chilling psychological thriller, "The Darkness Rises" takes readers on a haunting journey through the mind of Whitney, a teenage girl burdened with a dark gift - the ability to see imminent death looming over people. When her intervention in a tragic event goes horribly awry, Whitney is consumed by guilt and resolves to bury her secret power. However, a malicious force emerges, hellbent on exacting vengeance, and Whitney finds herself in a perilous game of cat-and-mouse.
The Author masterfully ratchets up the tension with each turn of the page, deftly blending elements of the supernatural with the harsh realities of trauma and grief. Whitney's struggle to confront her guilt while being hunted by an unseen threat makes for a gripping, emotionally charged read. With its eerie atmosphere and shocking twists, "The Darkness Rises" is a haunting exploration of the ripple effects of tragedy and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of darkness.

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Thank you to netgalley and PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group | Viking Books for Young Readers for allowing me access to this book. This book was everything in more. It pulled me in from page 1 and kept me there the entire time.

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"'π‘»π’‰π’Šπ’” π’Šπ’” 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒂𝒔𝒕 π’•π’Šπ’Žπ’†,' 𝑰 π’•π’‰π’π’–π’ˆπ’‰π’• 𝒂𝒔 𝑰 𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒓𝒐𝒂𝒅. '𝑡𝒐 π’Žπ’π’“π’† π’”π’‚π’—π’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒂𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 π’•π’‰π’Šπ’”.'
𝑩𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒆𝒒𝒖𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒐 π’”π’‚π’—π’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆.
𝑩𝒆𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆 π’†π’π’π’–π’ˆπ’‰ 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 π’‚π’π’“π’†π’‚π’…π’š π’…π’Šπ’†π’… π’‡π’“π’π’Ž π’Žπ’š π’„π’‰π’π’Šπ’„π’†π’”."

Special thanks to @penguinteen @vikingbooks @stacyastokes and @netgalley for the #gifted eARC.

➑️ swipe for synopsis πŸ‘‰πŸΌ


Tw⚠️: gun violence, abuse, suicide, bullying, and school shootings

This was a very descriptive and complex ya thriller that was a quick read and sucked me in from the very beginning.

It deals with a lot of present-day traumas, but with an interesting fictional twist that keeps you guessing til the very end.

Have you ever wanted to be able to know when someone's in danger, and save them. We'll Whitney can, but it may be more of a burden than a gift. Her and her Gams have been able to "save" people, but it does come at a cost. Recently, Whitney has found that out - and so has someone else.

How far will that person go to make sure Whitney pays for her secret?

Grab this new release today!
April 9, 2024

QOTD ❓️⁉️❓️ If ypu could have any super power, what would it be, and why?


#revenge #thedarknessrises #stacystokes #penguinteen #netgalley #yathriller #mysteryandthrills #thrillerlover #thrilleraddict

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Thank you so much, PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group | Viking Books for Young Readers, for the chance to read this book in exchange of an honest review.

TW: Blood, death, murder, attempted suicide

Whitney has the ability to see death before it happens since she was seven. She sees a darkness, a dark cloud hovering over people's head and sometimes she can save them. But saving someone who later was responsible for a school shooting, she doesn't know what to do. When someone starts leaving ominous messages in her locker and on her car, she's sure someone knows about her secret and what happened to the shooter. To protect herself and those she loves, she will have to track down her stalker, before it's too late.

A gripping speculative thriller, The Darkness rises is a brilliant, intriguing and very well written story. Whitney is a magnificent MC, a girl burdened with the ability of seeing death and the difficult choice of saving someone and dealing with the consequences of her actions. I loved her bond with her grandma and best friend and how she investigates her stalker, trying to protect herself and her loved ones. I also loved how realistic her reactions was. A teenager with a huge power and the weight of choices and consequences. I adored the dance references, the way she calms herself through her passions and her growth during the whole book, accepting her own ability and opening herself to others.

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I LOVED this book. Loved it. Will definitely be reading more books by this author. The book kept me so enthralled and the twist was something I didn't expect at all

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Question of the day: What would you do if you developed an ability that allowed you to detect danger, in someone’s life, simply through the appearance of a dark cloud ??? Would you (and remember, you couldn’t tell ANYONE):

(A) Save each person that the cloud appears over, consequences be dammed…
(B) Save only family and friends…
(C) Ignore the ability completely and try to live your life as best you could…

Such a difficult choice to make, huh??? Well, imagine being 18 year old Whitney Lancaster, who has had to answer this question since she was 7 years old. And no, it has not been easy for her. The older she got, the more people she decided to save, the more she allowed her pride to take over, ignoring the consequences in the process. It isn’t until her junior year of high school that things change. One day, on her way to meet a friend, a dark cloud appears over a classmate. She makes the decision to save said classmate only to have said classmate decide to use their second chance to participate in a school shooting. In the days after the shooting, Whitney develops large amounts of guilt and makes the conscious decision to give up on everything she knows and loves just to keep her secret. Soon, she discovers that someone knows about her ability and learns that this someone is determined to not only blame her for the results of the school shooting but also their life. And ooh how things get messy for everyone shortly after this revelation.

Based on this premise, this book should’ve held my attention. Add the fact that its Paranormal Fiction meets Mystery meets Thriller. My three favorite YA genres displayed in one book. Ooohmgee!!! The amount of excitement I should’ve felt just reading the title. And I was. Everything was going well until I finished Chapter 3. And that was when I knew that this book was not going to go well for me at all. I even ghosted this book for three days just so I could prepare myself for the outcome. Things got so bad that once I finished this, I felt nothing but numbness and disappointment. And now, here I am trying to put my thoughts into a coherent sentence, let alone, a decent review.

I truly thought this book was going to be a balance between the focus on the aftermath of a school shooting and the revenge that someone was so hell bent on dishing out towards Whitney. I also thought that this book would feature Whitney in action on more than 3 occasions. Instead, this book features more teenage angst than anything that I have ever read about in my life. Seriously, I spent more than half of this book having to read about Whitney’s ex-best friend, Penny Ansel, whining about some white roses that she should’ve received on the first day of school alongside the fact she was also dating Whitney’s ex-boyfriend. I learned more about different ballet positions than hearing what all of the school shooting survivors were experiencing right now. I read repeated sentences about Whitney’s ex-boyfriend, Kevin Hampshire, sabotaging her new relationship, with Issac Gunter, and threatening her more than I got to read about the parents checking in on their children or the school counselors opening their doors to the survivors who were still struggling. Whitney and Issac’s relationship was mentioned more than what lead up to the occurrence of the school shooting and how Whitney unintentionally got herself caught up in this horrific situation.

And then, there’s the revenge plot itself. Honestly, this part felt like the weakest link of the entire book. The revenge seeker has two reasons behind their decision to want revenge. The first part makes complete sense. Without giving too much away, I think anyone would seek revenge for a loss like that. The second reason, though, wasn’t as nail biting nor as detrimental as the first reason. I mean, yeah, I didn’t really enjoy or care about these young people’s personal lives but, the drama was just a little more fascinating than the revenge. I was even able to figure out who was behind it all. And nothing hurts a story more than the reader figuring out who is behind all the insane accusations and deaths.

Even though the synopsis is pretty much straightforward, I was really hoping that I would read about young people gaining their strength back and banning together after such a traumatic experience. Not them throwing parties, drinking to the point where they are driving drunk, and whining about small things currently occurring in their lives. While everything does come together in the final chapter, it wasn’t enough to save the book for me. Again, no one is more disappointed than me that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I was hoping to. Maybe, in the future, I may find myself picking up another book from Stacy Stokes. I just have to do a better job at read the synopsis more than focusing on the book cover.

Thank you NetGalley and Viking Books for Young Readers for granting my request for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for my honest and personal opinion!!!

Publication Date: April, 9, 2024

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An ability she can't share with anyone. Secret notes. A cute boy. Suspects at every turn.

I really enjoyed this YA thriller with hints of fantasy about it. The main character finds herself thrust into a difficult situation with knowing things and having no viable way to tell people about them and it all comes to hurt her.

I enjoyed the mystery of it all wrapped up with the secret notes and her not being able to trust nearly everyone. There were some harrowing moments and I wasn't actually able to guess the culprit (though I was close) at the end.

It was well written and I found myself connected to the main character, though as it happens in most YA books, she made some stupid decisions that I wish she hadn't (but that's story haha).

I personally don't like that she drank under age or the harsh language that was used. Honestly, it didn't need it and would have been much easier for me to recommend this to actual teens, but because of the language I'd bump it to a 17+ in my recommendations.

I also understand that a large part of it dealt with a very sensitive topic that will affect some readers (see TW below) and I think the author did a good job of handling that, though it must have been hard to write at times.

In all, I would recommend it to those who like a simple type of murder mystery with a bit of thrilling parts with an overall "teen contemporary" feel to it.

TW: School shootings.

My rating: 4*

Thanks to the publisher for this gifted copy. All opinions are my own.

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I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read. I don't read a lot of this book genre, but I actually really enjoyed this book.

I think I'll start branching out more to this genre, based on my like for this book.

Overall really enjoyed the book and other people should definitely read it as well.

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What do you do when you see someone's fatal future?

17yo Whitney sees a dark cloud forming over people who are in danger and can be helped by her. Her grandmother has the same ability and gave Whitney three rules to follow; rules that are meant to keep Whitney safe and free from the guilt of saving someone who ends up harming others. This happened last year when she saved Dwight from jumping off a building. He then instigated a school shooting. Whitney blames herself for everything that Dwight did. Someone else blames her too and when the harassment starts, it’s only the beginning of the vengeance to come.

Likes/dislikes: I enjoyed the character development and the mystery surrounding the main character. The relationships are fleshed out well. I appreciate the many resources the author included at the end of the book for bullying, child trauma, suicide prevention, mental health, mental illness, and grief. The author’s note is exceptional as a call for all of us to let our voices be heard and vote for leaders that we believe reflect our values and ambitions for our country and communities. I also appreciate the content warning at the beginning of the book.
Mature content: PG-13 for underage drinking.
Language: R for 79 swears and 13 f-words.
Violence: PG-13 for mention of school shooting.
Ethnicity: predominantly white.

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The concept behind this book drew me in right away. Imagine being able to see swirling dark clouds above someone when something bad was about to happen… and have the ability to possibly help them. The inner turmoil Whitney struggles with throughout the book from choices she made and the impacts those choices had… gripped me. Would you make similar choices if you had the chance? Does everyone deserve a second chance?

This book was so good 😍

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4. Wow! This is a different way of looking at school shootings than I’ve ever seen portrayed before. At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about having a sort of fantasy-super hero type ability Involved in such a brutal, real type of event. As I read on, I really began to respect what the author did here. This has all the twisty drama of good YA thrillers, and I like that our main character struggles to figure out who is attacking her. She s definitely age and stage appropriate.. The fact that the book starts after the shooting, as the entire community struggles through the first anniversary is good. The effects of school shooting on the larger population and the different ways grief shows up are seldom addressed by the media. Yes, read it. It’s great and there is a lot to pull a part and examine in a classroom, book club, or lit circle group. Excellent choice, I’ll be looking for more from this author,

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I wanted to love this book, but I just couldn’t! I found the writing so immature and disjointed that it was distracting from the story.

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This book follows Whitney, a high schooler who has a secret: she can see death. When a dark cloud appears over someone, Whitney knows they're marked to die. The darker and larger the cloud, the more immediate the threat. Despite her grandma's warnings about interfering, Whitney can't resist saving people when she can. Until one day, a person she saves goes on to commit a school shooting. Whitney blames herself and resolves not to tell anyone about her role in the tragedy. But as the anniversary of the event approaches, she starts getting mysterious notes blackmailing her: tell the truth about her involvement, or her family and friends die.Β 

This was a fun and fast-paced thriller with some good red herrings and a satisfying reveal---I did guess who was behind everything, but not the full motivation, so the AHA moment still got me. I liked Whitney but she suffers from the same issues a lot of YA thriller characters do: some extremely questionable decisions worthy of me texting my mother about to complain. I think that's a pitfall of the genre, though, and teenagers can be dumb, so. There were a couple of lines that took me out of the story with how awkwardly hard they were trying to sound Gen Z (ex. "I hope when I'm married my husband stans me like that.") but for the most part I enjoyed the writing.Β 

I'm not usually a huge supernatural powers fan, but I really liked Whitney's. It was unique enough that I wanted to learn more about it, but it wasn't so strong of an ability that it made the plot ridiculous. Nothing more awkward than wondering why someone doesn't just fix a problem with their easily accessible magic. The moral questions and implications of her ability and fate were really interesting, and made for a story that was both compelling and also full of depth and nuance. If Whitney's not-fully-formed brain hadn't made me facepalm several times this concept could have been 5 stars for me, but overall I had a good time anyway! Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Book read like a movie. Which I really enjoyed. Not sure if seeing death is a gift or a curse but this book made it seem like both. Highly recommend.

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This book really had a lot of triggering things for me and I didn't even survive a school shooting. It wasn't what I expected at all, which for some reason was some kind of paranormal horror book. However there are some good topics touched on here.

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3.75 Stars
The story opens almost a year after a mass shooting at a high school football game. Whitney and her friends are seniors and are still reeling from this, but Whitney also feels a sense of guilt. With her special ability to see death coming for someone, she feels she could have made different choices that would have resulted in fewer deaths. Whitney has been able to see a cloud above the head of those that are near death since she was seven years old. The darker the cloud the closer it is. She has always felt like her job was to save these people, and was proud of this role. Her grandmother, who also had this ability, warned her to ignore the clouds, and not to tell anyone, but Whitney didn't listen. Was the death toll at the football game her fault? How could she have allowed this to happen?

This book is a compelling read, and the ability to see death added a valuable component to the story. The author does a good job of portraying teenaged angst regarding friendship, romance and perceptions. If you, like me, are a sucker for a well written YA novel, pick this one up!

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Solid YA thriller with an intriguing and immersive story. Loved Whitney's character and tenacity. Really well done. Would definitely read more by this author.

Tysm for the e-arc!

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This reminds me of a book I read when I was younger.
Having to choose between letting someone die or saving them, knowing that if you save them that they could do something evil.
Imagine having to make that decision every day.

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Y’all I tore this book UP. From the very beginning the concept was interesting to me, and I loved how Stokes seems to blend an element of magic into the midst of a fast paced thriller. I was engaged from start to finish as the suspense is well constructed and keeps you on your toes for sure. It was heart wrenching to read about the aftermath of a school shooting, especially knowing that there are so many in real life who are suffering and experiencing the same kinds of things that the characters in the story are going through. I also really liked how profound this book was, looking at issues of agency, responsibility, and the ripple effect that ensues from our choices. It was something I didn’t necessarily expect to see in a YA book but really liked. Whitney as a character had some flaws for sure but she was interesting and her romance with Isaac was really cute. Overall this book just hooked me and I thoroughly enjoyed!

Thank you to Penguin Teen for gifting me both an arc of both the ebook and a physical copy!

Rating: 4.5/5

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The Darkness Rises by Stacy Stokes was an engaging YA mystery/thriller.
Brimming with eerie mystery and hair-raising details. Once I started reading this book I couldn’t stop!
This story definitely had me interested from the beginning, but to get to the ending and the twist of it all. Amazing.
Overall, it’s an entertaining, fast-paced, smartly executed YA mystery that I highly recommend!

Thank You NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers Group | Viking Books for Young Readers for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!

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