I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Violent Season by Sara Walters
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Social Themes / Emotions & Feelings, Young Adult Fiction / Social Themes / Violence, Young Adult Fiction / Thrillers & Suspense / General
Format: ARC, eBook
Buy on: Amazon
The unputdownable debut thriller you will never forget.
There is something terribly wrong in Wolf Ridge. Every November, every teen is overwhelmed with a hunger for violence...at least, that's the urban legend.
After Wyatt Green's mother was brutally murdered last Fall, she's convinced that the November sickness plaguing Wolf Ridge isn't just a town rumor that everyone ignores...it's a palpable force infecting her neighbors. Wyatt is going to prove it, and find her mother's murderer in the process. She digs up every past brutal act she can find from Wolf Ridge's past—from car wrecks, suicides, and unnamed victims turning up in rivers—and even reaches out to an out-of-state journalist that seems to believe her. But all of her digging leads to nowhere. Everyone in Wolf Ridge accepts that the November sickness is real, and absolutely no one will talk about it.
As Wyatt's best friend Cash turns on her, and her friend is almost killed in a tragic accident, Wyatt panics—how can she keep her friends safe, and find her mother's murderer, when no one believes her?
As the evidence stars to disappear, Wyatt wonders: is she just imagining everything? Is the sickness real, or are the people of Wolf Ridge just naturally prone to doing bad things?
Can Wyatt and her friends come out of the Violent Season unscathed, or is one of them going to be the next victim?
"Holy sh....... Can I just say that? Can that be the review? Technically yes, but I **NEED** to say that this is without a doubt and by far one of the best books I have read this year!"—Brittney Green, Netgalley Reviewer
"A freaking INCREDIBLE debut for Sara Walters. I have not felt this pull to a book in a hot minute. PREORDER IT, ADD IT TO YOUR TBR, AND WAIT IMPATIENTLY FOR OCTOBER BECAUSE THIS BOOK WAS ★★★★★"—Tiffany Clark, Netgalley Reviewer
"Be prepared to be captivated after the first sentence."—Rachel Milburn, Netgalley Reviewer
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I’ve been sleeping on The Violent Season by Sara Walters and I have to say, I am not proud of that fact. I really am not. So let’s see why it is a bad thing that I slept on this book for so long.
First, a quick trigger warning – murder, sexual assault, suicide, death, gore, fire, depression. If you choose to read this book, please be careful to protect yourself.
There are three characters I want to talk about here…
Wyatt is our main character. She’s still reeling from her mother’s brutal murder the year before our story takes place. She still wants answers. She’s broken and that is very apparent from the start of the story. She isn’t super likable, but she isn’t horrible either. I’d probably have been friends with her in high school, if I’m being honest.
Wyatt’s love interest – at least in the beginning. I don’t like him. He seems like a huge jerk to me1I’d put it another way but I like to keep my reviews as family friendly as possible., and I honestly think Wyatt can do way better than him. He seems sketchy and as the story continues that feeling doesn’t get any better.
Porter is the final character I want to talk about. He’s a popular boy, a jock, and honestly, even though he was never the type I went for in high school, I love him. He sees Wyatt in a way that most other people don’t. He doesn’t shy away from her or her issues. He’s nowhere near as arrogant as you’d think a popular jock would be and that makes him special.
The story takes place in the tiny town of Wolf Ridge, Vermont. The vibes this town gives off are fairly creepy. It has that usual “everyone knows everyone and their business” vibe of a small town, but it also has an enormous death rate, especially in the month of November. You can’t help but feel the chill run down your spine and the gooseflesh pop up on your arms when you really start thinking about this town. While we don’t get huge descriptions of the town, the bits we do get are enough to keep one wondering how anyone still lives there with all the tragedy every year.
Sara Walters’ writing style can best be described as perfect for thrillers/suspense novels. She has a way of making you wonder what’s going to happen next while also making you question what is actually going on. You might figure out who did it, but you’ll question whether or not you’re right at just about every turn. She writes with a combination of action packed and slow burn that makes this book stick out in my mind.
I think this book has a rather unique plot. The idea of a town that has an abnormal amount of death in one particular month every single year, with a main character who personally experienced one of those tragedies the previous year who is wondering what really causes these deaths. Is it a sickness, is it a curse, what is it that makes this happen every year? Add to this the main character searching for answers about her mother’s death and you’ve got a recipe for a great book.
If you’re looking for a thriller/mystery book that is going to leave you guessing and wanting more as you continue to read, this is it. Like I said above, you might think you’ve figured out who did it… but then something will happen or something will be said and you’ll start questioning your decision. I know I did – while I did ultimately guess who had done it, I also second guessed myself at many points.
The relationships in this book – one is toxic as all get out, the other is sweet, funny, and sometimes a bit alarming. Wyatt and Cash are toxic and it’s obvious, even if Wyatt can’t or chooses not to see it. Wyatt and Porter are sweet, funny, and a little alarming because Porter follows Wyatt no matter what she’s thinking – even if he isn’t fully on board with her plans. To be honest, I love Wyatt/Porter and I want to slap the daylights out of Wyatt for ever loving Cash.
I really did enjoy this book. It took me a little less than 24 hours to finish, but I should preface that by saying that I do read relatively fast. I didn’t want to put the book down and the first time I did was because I really needed to go to sleep. The only times I really put it down were because I had to do other things like sleep, eat, etc.. The Violent Season kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know more about what was happening, the town’s violent history, and what was going to happen next. I had a driving need to get to the end.
I will admit, I was a tad disappointed with the ending as it leaves too much up to the imagination. It felt like the ending was left that way because the author might not have known exactly what to do for the ending – or possibly because she’d originally planned there to be a sequel that as far as I know, has not come to pass.
Regardless of my feelings about the ending2The epilogue actually., I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good, creepy thriller, especially if they’re more interested in YA than in adult books.