Ella tries to move on, but her attacker isn't done yet. He shows himself in the form of horrifying signs and symbols: a clown mask strewn on her bed, a dead bird in her backpack, a shadow moving past her window in the night. And as the weeks pass, it turns out that Ella isn't the only one being tormented.
With the help of an old flame, Jensen Carver, and her friends and family, Ella tries to attain some sense of normalcy, but she can't seem to shake the feeling that there's a dark pattern hidden in the killer's every move. Suddenly, even those in her innermost circle seem suspicious. In her seemingly safe West Virginia town, Ella starts to wonder who she can trust.
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Review by Yvette:
It takes an author I love and trust, like Jennifer L. Armentrout, to get me to even consider reading a horror book. Do I watch the occasional scary movie? Sure. Do I get nightmares and leave a light on that same night? You betcha. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to the horror genre and there's just something about reading a horror book and letting my imagination run wild that adds to the creepy factor. That being said, I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to read the author's newest release, The Dead List. This book blew my mind in the best possible way. There's so much I want to say. But I won't. Because: spoilers. Suffice it to say, The Dead List had me looking over my shoulder after every chapter and second guessing taking my dog out for a nighttime stroll.
Ella Mansfield is seemingly a typical teenager, with school, boys, and pop culture occupying most of her thoughts. What soon becomes apparent, however, is that there’s something in her past that’s looming over her present like a dark cloud – something that irrevocably changed her life and appears to have come back to haunt her. When a vicious attack mars the start of her senior year of high school, Ella refuses to be a victim, taking steps to ensure she’s able to defend herself in the future. Getting back in touch with Jensen Carver, her childhood friend and onetime crush, wasn’t her plan, but it’s certainly a bonus. What I appreciated most about Ella is that she’s strong. She's a fighter. She has every reason to hide in her room and ignore the increasingly terrifying chain of events that seem to be linked to her past, yet she faces her fears with admirable composure.
Ella’s definitely not a damsel in distress, although Jensen certainly fits the bill as a knight in shining armor. Jensen is totally the type of guy I would've crushed on in high school. He's popular but kind and genuine. He's too young for me to be swooning over him without it being creepy, though, so instead I'll just mentally fist bump Ella and move on (though he is dreamy…). The budding romance between Ella and Jensen is a welcome distraction from the elements of horror and suspense that take up a good portion of the narrative, evoking a different kind of pulse-pounding excitement. Their relationship is fun, flirty, and rife with possibilities, which provides an exhilarating contrast to the dark, ominous tone set by their small town’s unknown assailant.
Heart-racing, nail-biting, paranoia-inducing, suspense? Check. Spooky, sinister and spine-tingling in an I Know What You Did Last Summer-meets-It: The Killer Clown type of way? Check. Unpredictable? Unexpected? Double check. The Dead List is a riveting page-turner with twists and turns that kept me guessing right up until the very end.
*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review
Rating: 5 Stars