Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 707
captivating and atmospheric fantasy/horror
Overall rating
Writing Style
SMALL FAVORS is a compelling, spooky, and atmospheric YA fantasy/horror that keeps the reader guessing. Ellerie is a young woman in a small town, where she mostly feels less than her twin brother, who will get to inherit their apiary as a male. She loves the bees and helps her father take care of them when he will let her, watching her twin shirk his duty. Everything begins to change when a horse returns from the supply run of the fall, badly injured and without any of the men who had traveled who did not make it. Without the supplies they went to get, the town may not make it through the long winter.

Around that time, the townspeople begin seeing mutated animals and aggressive creatures in the woods that surround their village. The fear of the woods is growing, and after a vote, they decide not to send another supply run. As more strange and horrible occurrences begin to happen, crops are ruined, and neighbors turn on each other, the town may not be able to make it through the winter.

What I loved: The creepy, isolated atmosphere adds to the spooky writing to make this a captivating mystery. It is a relatively quiet horror, with some terrible scenes, but most feel as though they are told by unreliable narrators, people shaken by what they have seen and not certain of what their eyes saw. In this world, no one seems trustworthy.

Ellerie and her sisters made for compelling characters, and I was eager to see how they would make it through in a world not designed for them. Ellerie is tenacious and responsible, but she also wants to fall in love and protect her family. The mysterious trapper in the woods was an intriguing addition to the story, and he teaches the importance of name, the value of a little luck, and the power of a kind heart. Even though there is something strange about him, he oft provides a feeling of normalcy in a world that feels anything but.

The major theme of the story is around human nature and what hides behind the social veil of niceties. The story questions how well you know the people around you and what terrible things they would be willing to do with the right suggestion. Altogether, the tension, escalating troubles, and supernatural elements have the reader wondering how anyone will make it out alive.

Final verdict: Spooky, atmospheric, and captivating, SMALL FAVORS is an enchanting YA fantasy/horror that will keep the reader on their toes. Highly recommend for fans of WHITE FOX, THE GIRL FROM THE WELL, and ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD.
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