Wicked Little Things by Justin Arnold _ Book Review

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Join a coven.

Catch a killer.

Get a makeover…?

When his cousin is murdered, recently outed 16-year-old Dane Craven is forced to return to his unbearably small hometown of Jasper Hollow. It would be easy enough for him to keep his head down if it weren’t for three inescapable facts.

One, Dane is a witch with fiery powers he has little ability to control.

Two, Dane thinks he’s responsible for the death of his cousin.

And three, he’s already been claimed by a coven of fashion-forward ‘mean girls’ desperate to give him a makeover.

Being the gay best friend to a trio of teenage witches wasn’t ever high on Dane’s list of aspirations, but fortunately for him these girls have the necromantic powers he needs to figure out who killed his cousin. Plus, he could do with some new clothes.

While on the hunt for his cousin’s killer Dane discovers life in Jasper Hollow isn’t all bad. There’s the cute boy who works at the local coffee shop and enjoys long walks in the woods, for one.

But when the rabbit-faced killer comes for Dane, he’ll be forced to come to terms with who he is and where he belongs before it’s too late for him and everyone in Jasper Hollow.

[I received a digital arc for an honest review]

Wicked Little Things
 by Justin Arnold is a Queer Ya Paranormal Horror that’s campy and witchy.

Dane is in Jasper Hollow to attend the funeral of his cousin Grant. He’s recently gained the not so great ability to hear people’s thoughts, psychically read objects and create fire from his fingertips. Turns out he’s a witch, and now he has to join a coven of teen girls and stop a rabbit-skin masked killer ghost. Along the way he gains a raccoon for a familiar and a crush on a local boy whose more than he seems. In the end, will he be able to resist the dark urges he has in order to save his family and new friends.

I can be me and not let him or any person dictate what Dane Craven is.

This book is full of fun, quirky characters. The lead Dane is a bit awkward but lovable with his love of queso and conflicted emotions. He genuinely has ever reason to be angry at his cousin, but still feels bad and responsible for his fate. He spends the book struggling with whether he’s a good or bad witch. He is surrounded by his mother, aunt, and cousin whose loves all things spooky. Then there’s the “mean girls” coven of teenage witches, who each bring their own ability and sarcasm to the table. Plus the local boy, EJ, who is Dane’s romantic interest and keeping secrets of his own. I also have to mention how much I absolutely loved that Dane’s familiar was a raccoon, it was the BEST!

The story line brings the creep factor right from the start with Dane’s cousin being attacked in the woods by a ghostly killer wearing a deteriorating rabbit hood. There’s plenty of scenes throughout that are just the right amount of “eeww gross” for a YA Horror. The book balances out the creepy gore with sarcastic banter and cheesy teenage flirting. Our characters are teenagers and believe me they act like it but not in an obnoxious way but a fun relatable way.

Oh, hell no. This is the closest I’ve ever come to first base with a boy. A demon witch-ghost is not ruining this for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Wicked Little Things by Justin Arnold. A YA Horror filled with magic, witches, ghosts, first kisses, abandoned hospitals, fall festivals, a killer ghost, and good overcoming evil. I think it’s a strong debut novel and hope he writes more adventures for these characters in the future.

Rep: Gay MC, Bi Secondary character
TW/CW: being outed, homophobic slurs, physical bullying, violence, gore, and death.

—Written by Amanda–

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