The dead and the dark

Courtney Gould

Book - 2021

When Logan, the adopted daughter of reality television ghosthunters, teams up with Ashley to search for missing teens in Snakebite, Oregon, they find themselves falling for each other as they uncover a hidden evil.

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Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Gould Courtney Checked In
Paranormal fiction
New York : Wednesday Books 2021.
Main Author
Courtney Gould (author)
First edition
Physical Description
371 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Teenagers are going missing in Snakebite, Oregon, where Logan Ortiz-Woodley recently moved with her dads, paranormal investigators known on TV as ParaSpectors. Logan's dads were ostracized from their hometown years ago, thrusting the three of them into the spotlight. Do they have anything to do with the sinister forces causing teens to disappear--and even die? Ashley wants to figure out who is behind her boyfriend's disappearance, and as she watches her beloved town twist into something dark, she's not sure whom to trust. Logan and Ashley turn to each other as they both begin mistrusting the adults in their lives, and the flaws in Logan's dysfunctional family are revealed. Gould's debut is haunting and surprisingly dark for a book with that very word in its title. Characters are the focal strength of this book, which is a slow-burn story with an immersive setting that feels like a character in and of itself. The darkness spreading over Snakebite exposes the truth about small-town ideology and oppression, loneliness, secrecy, and what makes a family or a home. Logan, Ashley, and Logan's dads are satisfyingly complex, and as Logan and Ashley fight to figure out what's happening in Snakebite, they also have to face what they're feeling for each other. This atmospheric, character-driven story is a must-read, but you should keep the lights on while you do.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

L.A. transplant Logan Ortiz-Woodley, the 17-year-old daughter of two famous married TV paranormal investigators, the ParaSpectors, is grudgingly spending the summer after graduation in her adoptive fathers' hometown of Snakebite, Ore. But something is wrong in insular Snakebite, from the inhospitable weather to the inhabitants' simmering, almost tangible rage. When beloved high school athlete Tristan Granger vanishes a week after Logan's family returns to investigate mysterious occurrences in the homophobic town, Logan's emotionally distant father Brandon becomes the prime suspect. And as even more teens begin disappearing without a trace, it will take skeptical Logan, alongside Tristan's guilt-stricken, psychic girlfriend Ashley, to uncover the truth of who or what is haunting Snakebite. Though the book's pacing is hampered by unnecessary time jumps and the characters (largely defaulting to white) can feel shallow, Gould's supernaturally spooky debut is filled with all manner of creepy inventiveness--a mixed bag that makes for an intriguing read. Ages 13--up. Agent: Claire Friedman and Jessica Mileo, InkWell Management. (Aug.)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--Logan is not really interested in going to her dads' hometown of Snakebite, Oregon, for the summer, but her dads are the ghost hunting duo the ParaSpectors, and they claim there is a case to solve there. Ashley has always loved Snakebite, but things have felt different ever since her boyfriend, Tristan, went missing six months ago, and they only get worse when the mysterious Logan arrives with two of Snakebite's former, scorned residents. When Ashley begins to see ghosts, she has to rely on Logan to help her find Tristan, and the person who took him, before anyone else gets hurt. This novel explores the consequences of hate, and the way hate can shape a town. While it is a ghost story, the ghosts are not the villains in the town of Snakebite. Residents are quick to blame the queer family for everything that has gone wrong, and in this way Gould shows us how hate and fear go hand in hand. This is a unique and important take on the horror genre. Logan is a lesbian, one of her dads is bisexual, and Ashley is queer. One of Logan's dads is Latinx as are two secondary characters. All others are presumed white. VERDICT Purchase for library collections where ghost stories are in demand, and where LGBTQIA+ stories in a genre other than realistic fiction are desired.--Mariah Smitala, Hedberg P.L., Janesville, WI

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Logan Ortiz-Woodley's dads return with her to their rural Oregon hometown, reawakening old tensions alongside a mysterious evil. Snakebite is an insular ranching community where everything and everyone is reliably, stiflingly familiar and normal...on the surface. It was paradise to wealthy Ashley Barton before her boyfriend went missing; now trusted adults are keeping secrets and blaming paranormal investigation show star Brandon, who's in town scouting locations for the next season. The arrival of Brandon's co-star and husband, Alejo, and their adopted daughter, Logan, prompts further scrutiny and outright aggression--escalated by the revelation that Brandon and Alejo grew up in Snakebite--and leads Ashley to question her beliefs about her town and herself. Meanwhile, Logan quickly realizes that her family's ties to Snakebite run far deeper than she thought--and that they're not just there for ParaSpectors. She's never been close with Brandon, and Alejo refuses to spill, so Logan reluctantly turns to Ashley for help getting answers. But as the girls get closer to the truth, the pool of suspects increases, and their friendship is tested (as well as the growing attraction between lesbian Logan and questioning Ashley). The paranormal elements--sounds, ghosts, and possession--support and enhance Gould's broader project of interrogating the racist, homophobic ideology that has festered in Snakebite for years. Most characters are White; brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking, bisexual Alejo is presumably Latinx. A complex and sophisticated thriller with haunting real-world connections. (Paranormal thriller. 13-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.