It’s almost time for the spooky season, and do I have a paranormal YA suspense recommendation for you! Burden Falls is the US title and cover. It’s Wicked Little Deeds in the UK, SA, and AUS. In true Kat Ellis fashion, Burden Falls (like Ellis’ debut, Harrow Lake, which receives a crossover mention) treats readers to some utterly delicious 80s horror movie vibes.
One year ago, Ava Thorn lost her parents in a terrible car accident that had some too-close-for-comfort parallels to the local legend of paranormal entity Dead-Eyed Sadie. One year later, she is losing not only her childhood but the family home. What’s worse? I mean, what could possibly be worse?! Thorn Manor is going to a Miller (the Millers are the sworn enemies of the Thorns; it’s been that way since… forever ago) — and not just any Miller. Madoc Miller. The Miller who caused the accident that killed Ava’s parents. Small comfort, Ava still has Uncle Ty and Aunt Caroline (now her guardians), and the three displaced Thorns move into a small, drafty cottage.
From page one, Burden Falls pulls you in with a story rich in eerie atmosphere, small town distortions, and complex family histories. There’s something rotten in the sour apple orchards, and soon after the Thorns are forced out of their home, the first eyeless victim washes up dead. The second victim soon follows, and police attentions shifts to Ava… as the prime suspect. Hang on to the edge-of-your-seat because the twists and turns just keep on coming, especially after the midpoint.
What’s more to love: the dynamic between the Millers and Thorns, especially the younger generation; the way friendships and their complexities are explored; the enemies-to-allies element; the creepiness virtually leaps off the page (prepare to sleep with a night light).
The queen of crossover, Ellis effortlessly combines paranormal with the elements of a YA thriller and a good-old YA mystery. A must-read for horror fans.
Book: Burden Falls
Published: Dial Books
Publication Date: August 24th, 2021
Age Range: 13 – 18
Penguin Teen kindly sent me a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.