To start off, I think this quote summarizes some of the book pretty well: “Maybe Bug was right. Either way, if she wanted her old life back, she needed to end this. She needed to find Tristan, find the killer, and find the old Ashley who didn’t spend every day afraid of the dark. She wanted the old Snakebite back one way or another. No more ghosts; she wanted this to end.”

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould is a mystery/thriller young adult novel that follows a queer family and ghosts! Yes! Queer! All of Them!

When this family of three (Logan the daughter and her two dads) moves into a new small town to chase the apparent paranormal activity as known enthusiasts, the people were disconcerted, to say the least. One of the fathers had already been there for a few months and during that time, a teenage boy goes missing. This does not paint a good picture for him or their family—this causes them to already feel outcasted when they arrive. As more time goes on, Logan realizes that they aren’t here just to scope out the area for paranormal activity—there’s more they aren’t telling her. More teens disappear, Logan teams up with an unlikely ally to figure out what’s going on. Who or what is taking these teenagers and why does this town

The aspect of their dads being paranormal ghost hunters for TV definitely reminds me of BuzzFeed unsolved. Also, the romance is not unconvincing and it slowly happens over the course of the book—it is greatly appreciated. At the end of the novel you get to discover more about certain characters' pasts—that was one of my favorite parts and a tear-jerker. To summarize, I did in fact love this book even when I felt betrayed at moments.

Review by: Jocelynn Barajas

Jocelynn is a virtual volunteer at Sylmar Branch Library. She is a 9th grader at San Fernando High School (entering Fall 2021).

—Dana Eklund, Young Adult Librarian, Sylmar Branch Library