This week’s review is for another one of my Netgalley books, What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat. This book has not released yet (at the time of this post) but will be in a few days on March 22nd. It is a YA dark fantasy, one of my favorite genres. Despite this book seeming like one I’d love, it was just… not good. This review will be spoiler free.
Wren owes everything she has to her home, Hollow’s End, a centuries-old, picture perfect American town. Tourists travel miles to marvel at its miracle crops, including the shimmering, iridescent wheat of Wren’s family farm. Until five months ago.
That’s when the quicksilver mercury blight first surfaced, poisoning the farms of Hollow’s End one by one. It began by consuming the crops–thick, silver sludge bleeding from the earth. Next were the animals. Infected livestock and wild creatures alike staggered off into the woods by day—only to return at night, their eyes, fogged white, leering from the trees.
Then, the blight came for the neighbors.
Wren is among the last locals standing. And the blight has finally come for her, too. Now, the only one she can turn to is the last person she wants to call: her ex, Derek. They haven’t spoken in months, but Wren and Derek still have one thing in common—Hollow’s End means everything to them. Only there’s much they don’t know about their hometown and its renowned miracle crops. And they’re about to discover that miracles aren’t free.
Their ancestors have an awful lot to pay for, and Wren and Derek are the only ones left to settle old debts.
From the synopsis, you can tell that this is a zombie story. That’s usually not my thing but this book seemed like it was going to provide an interesting spin on the typical living dead trope. I do think it accomplishes that but for a much younger age range.
The writing isn’t bad but this book gives STRONG Goosebumps by R.L. Stine vibes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Goosebumps. I completely credit my interest in the supernatural and spooky things to those books. However, when I hear YA dark fantasy, I do not think of scary children’s books. I don’t want to spoil the ending or the major events that happen throughout but if you’re familiar with the pacing and endings of the Goosebumps books, you’ll be able to figure out where What We Harvest is going within the first few chapters.
Also, while the writing isn’t bad, it’s pretty bland. None of the characters really stood out to me and despite them fighting literal zombies, there never seemed to be any real consequences or high stakes. There was a romantic sub-plot but it read very young, like everything else in this book. Overall, this is the kind of story that I would have really enjoyed when I was around the ages of thirteen to fifteen; not as an adult.
I hate to rate this book so low because I don’t think it’s awful; I simply think it’s being marketed toward the wrong demographic. I didn’t personally find it to be a really fun or memorable read but other readers might feel differently. Is this book one you plan to buy when it releases? Thanks for reading and have a great day!