M.C. Atwood’s THE DEVILS YOU KNOW
Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.
Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.
I want to thank the wonderful woman (I’m sorry I forget your name!) at Soho Teen’s booth who let me grab a galley of M.C. Atwood’s debut novel, THE DEVILS YOU KNOW. I’ve been itching to read this and it was one more I could cross off my Amazon wishlist. :)
I have to give Atwood credit. This is her first (published) novel and she did a great job of telling this story in alternating Points-of-View (5 all together, with bonus pages from a “historical document”). Each character was unique and their voices really stood out in their chapters. (Though, I’m sorry — Dylan got REALLY annoying REALLY quick.)
I love a good haunted house story, and Atwood took it a step further with ‘run for your lives, literally’ in this story. However, I felt that she cut descriptions short, though that could be because of the audience (teens) and that the chapters were no more than 4-5 pages in length. (Although I almost appreciated she didn’t Stephen King the descriptions and scare the bejesus out of me…) On the plus side! The descriptions she does include are really great and gave a good “horror movie vibe.” (If you like horror movies, you’ll really like this.)
The story was good, but there was the classic “we are all in this together, even though we all keep MASSIVE secrets” plot line. That was a little annoying because I felt like she was trying to preach about how we should accept each other, even though we’re all different. (I get it, I do — but not in the middle of a horrorshow freak house, please.)
I also did not like the ambiguous ending. I shouldn’t have read the last page.
In the end, I’d recommend this for any fan of horror movies/ya novels. I’ll keep an eye out for what Atwood releases next, too. But I’m also kind of glad I didn’t buy it. It’s not a “forever keep” book for me.
Read this if you liked Amy Lukavic’s DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS.