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Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas | blog tour

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
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Contemporary Mystery/Thriller. 336 pages
Expected publication: April 19th 2016 by Delacorte
The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

In the very near future, I have a Book Chat video coming out about the book trend of 2016 -- dark, gritty YA -- and Kara Thomas' The Darkest Corners could not be a more perfect example of that. It's part of a new wave of crime novels that eschews the lurid crime-porn approach of previous thrillers and mysteries, and instead seeks to really dig into the idea of good guys and bad guys, and play with reader perceptions and biases in fascinating and complex ways.

Building upon a familiar scenario (creepy serial killer + pretty young girls = Very Bad Things), and then slowly and steadily picking it apart, The Darkest Corners keeps the reader constantly doubting and guessing (and I say that as someone who is rarely kept guessing).  There are lots of twists and turns, false starts and sudden realizations, but it's all done in a very believable way, with excellent pacing; things are revealed at just the right moment to keep readers on their toes, and to keep the whodunit aspect fresh and present throughout, without ever feeling overdone or cheesy. Though there are a lot of suspects -- and a lot of suspicious things -- it's not really a  "Villain du Jour,"an inexpert attempt to twist things and shock the audience. Instead, it feels very authentic, in the way that communities who are faced with tragedies like this begin to question everyone and everything, and at the same time, turn a blind eye to any answers that hit a little too close to home.

Thomas pulls in real-life crime scenarios, grounding the story even more in something the audience can relate to and recognize (the Casey Anthony case, for example), and spins those real life influences into just-distorted-enough versions to hold up a mirror and reflect the reader's biases back at them; each successive reveal or piece of doubt makes the reader examine how easily things can be distorted, and how biases and extraneous circumstances can override impartial judgement and justice. And -- as the forward from editor Krista Marino points out -- how unreliable eyewitness accounts and memory can be, especially when the damning evidence is gathered through the eyes of a child.

What really elevates the story for me, though, is that it doesn't just rest on being an intriguing mystery, well-told, but also adds in fantastic depth through the character of  Tessa, her interactions (or lack thereof) with the people in her life, and the brokenness that so many of the characters deal with that's not even necessarily related to the murders. Though much of the problems in the book of course are related to the crimes and the feeling of insecurity and helplessness that resulted, there are problems outside of that, too, and Thomas doesn't ignore that. Real world, everyday problems like domestic and substance abuse, bad family situations, poverty, mental illness, etc., are all rolled up into the characters' lives and their responses to the murders, just as they would be in real life -- we none of us have just one problem to deal with, and all other problems don't cease to exist just because one bigger one has come along. Thomas uses this to build a story that feels very real and authentic, and much more related and rooted in reality than just another mystery novel. And all of it together builds tension and anxiety in a really good way -- my heart was actually pounding towards the end.*

I have a LOT more to say on this and a number of other gritty, dark YAs, so make sure to keep an eye out for the next Book Chat discussion (which is coming up in the very soonish). Until then, let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Oh, and PS: Some of you may remember might excitement when I unboxed this book & shared its contents on instagram (seriously, some of the best marketing, ever); well, it gets better! The website for The Darkest Corners contains more of the newspaper clippings I was going on about, and a whole bunch of other stuff, too, making the book a more immersive experience! I would definitely recommend checking it out, if you end up reading this. The attention to detail is just. . . 👌

*I mean, obviously it was pounding. But you know what I mean. It was even poundinger.

Find out what else people are saying about The Darkest Corners on the rest of the blog tour!
3/14 Fresh Fiction
3/15 Jessabella Reads
3/16 Book Addict Confessions
3/17 Hollywood News Source
3/18 Undeniably (Book) Nerdy
3/19 Curling Up with a Good Book
3/20 Out of Time
3/21 Supernatural Snark
3/22 Live to Read, review
3/23 Dark Faerie Tales
3/24 Ex Libris
3/25 Reading with Cupcakes
3/26 The Reader Bee
3/27 The Eater of Books!
3/28 Reading Teen
3/29 Chapter by Chapter
3/30 Winter Haven Books
3/31 Once Upon A Twilight
4/1 Intellectual Recreation
4/2 The Hiding Spot
4/3 Carina Books
4/4 Cover Contessa
4/5 Me Read A Lot
4/6 The Writer Diaries
4/7 Whimsically Yours
4/8 Hook of a Book
4/9 Reading Nook Reviews
4/10 Downright Dystopian
4/11 Such A Novel Idea
4/12 Across the Words
4/13 Reviews From a Bookworm
4/14 Itching For Books
4/15 Waste Paper Prose
4/16 The Irish Banana
4/17 The Book Rat -- you are here!
4/18 YA Reads
4/19 No BS Book Review
4/20 Serenity’s Lovely Reads
4/21 Pandora’s Books

Kara is the author of THE DARKEST CORNERS, coming April 2016 from Random House/Delacorte. She is also the author of the Prep School Confidential series from St. Martin's Griffin under the pen name Kara Taylor. Kara has written for Warner Brothers Television and currently writes full-time on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and rescue cat.

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book as part of the official blog tour, in exchange for an honest review.


  1. This sounds amazing. Yes, I do look forward to the upcoming discussion on this niche of book.

    Hey, that's cool that its marketing is even more cool.

  2. THE DARKEST CORNERS is a story about the people you thought you knew and all the ways you can never truly know someone. Gorgeous writing, tightly plotted, and rich characters make this a standout novel and one of my favorites.


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