A novel about a girl possessed, or at least haunted by, demons sounds like something that is right up my alley so I started “Pretty Dark Nothing” by Heather L. Reid hoping to find an entertaining and scary story.
Quinn has not really slept in a little over three weeks. Every time she starts to drift off, the voices and the nightmares come. She has become addicted to coffee and energy drinks but the lack of sleep is taking its toll. Her grades have slipped and she has been suspended from the cheerleading squad. Even worse, her boyfriend dumped her and his new girlfriend takes every opportunity to rub it in her face while her father left her and her mother to start a new life with another woman. She has even started to pass out due to her exhaustion but she still cannot tell anyone about why her life seems to be falling apart. There is no one she can turn to for help.
This may not be true, however, as there is a boy in the school that always seems to be there when she needs help. She just does not want to think too much about him as she is holding out hope that she will be able to reconcile with her ex-boyfriend. But as she grows more desperate and the voices become more persistent, Quinn finally turns to Aaron for help and companionship before she loses her grip on sanity or, even worse, her life.
The downfall of “Pretty Dark Nothing” for me was that there was too much high school drama and not nearly enough of the supernatural. While the demons were always lurking in Quinn’s mind, they were seldom more than voices in her head and often seemed more like her own insecurities talking to her rather than a dark entity. Rather than being a supernatural tale set in a high school, the novel was more of a high school drama with a supernatural element lurking in the background but never quite emerging. This led to much of the book being somewhat boring for me as Quinn tried to work through her devolving social standing rather than facing the demons in her head.
I am admittedly not in the target audience for “Pretty Dark Nothing” and I may have enjoyed the novel much more if I were a teenager and especially a teenage girl. I started the book expecting a tale of terror with teenaged protagonists and instead found a story that was more about the social tensions that exist in almost any high school with the supernatural hanging around in the background. If you are looking for a tale of terror, you will be better served looking somewhere else. If you are looking more for a story that is suited to be a prime time show on Nickelodeon, then this will be right up your alley.
I would like to give a special thank you to Moon9Books and NetGalley for this reading copy. “Pretty Dark Nothing” is available now.