Published by Entangled Teen on April 2, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Historical Fiction
Source: NetGalley, Blog Tour
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex, Some violence)
A sound awakens her. There's darkness all around. And then she's falling...
She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she's dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck. A single, rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names; from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. None of them remember who they used to be. Under is a place of dirt and nightmares, and Key is determined to discover the secrets of her past in order to escape it.
She needs help, but who can she can trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. There's Smoke, the boy with sharp words and a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, the boy who stays apart from everyone else and loses himself in books and science. Key's instincts tell her that there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can't remember why.
Then the murders start; bodies that are burnt to a crisp. After being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden—before she becomes the next victim...
One woman’s choices in life follow her into the afterlife … and she can’t escape the consequences without unraveling the truth of her past.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Creepy and atmospheric. The book takes place Under, which is a creepy afterlife that’s literally under the graveyard. All of the characters show signs of their deaths–often quite gruesome–and the world is made of dirt and devoid of light (aside from light from torches). Sutton does a fantastic job of establishing a memorable setting.
- Lots of mysteries. Key wakes up in Under with no memory of her life or her death, but it soon becomes apparent that her life held numerous secrets and betrayals. When people in Under start dying (again), Key has reason to believe that it’s somehow because of her. Her memory starts to come back to her in pieces, and we discover the whole sordid history along with her as the book progresses.
- Real life vs. Under. One of my favorite things in this book was seeing Key interact with the characters in Under and then finding out how they related to each other in their “real” lives. Some of the feelings and relationships from Key’s original life bled into her afterlife, and it was really intriguing to see that unfold.
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Slightly slow start. The beginning of the book is really all about setting up the atmosphere, and it took until about a third of the way through before we got a big revelation that truly hooked me into the story. It also did take me a while to become invested in the romance, but by the end I found myself rooting for them.
- Some twists were predictable. I figured out who the villain in the story was almost immediately, but the why and the how of it all kept me interested (and I definitely had some doubts along the way).
If you’re a fan of creepy ghost stories with a touch of magical flair and a dash of revenge, this is the book for you!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher and FFBC Tours in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About The Author
Kelsey Sutton is a young adult and middle grade author. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She will soon have a master’s degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix, ordering a mocha at the nearest coffee shop, napping with her rescue dogs, or browsing a bookstore.
Win (1) of (2) signed copies of SMOKE & KEY by Kelsey Sutton (US Only)