The Bad Ones

The Bad Ones
Age Range
Release Date
February 20, 2024
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Bestselling author Melissa Albert returns with The Bad Ones, a supernatural horror novel about four mysterious disappearances in a town haunted by a sinister magical history

Goddess, goddess, count to five
In the morning, who’s alive?

In the course of a single winter’s night, four people vanish without a trace across a small town.

Nora’s estranged best friend, Becca, is one of the lost. As Nora tries to untangle the truth of Becca’s disappearance, she discovers a darkness in her town’s past, as well as a string of coded messages Becca left for her to unravel. These clues lead Nora to a piece of local lore: a legendary goddess of forgotten origins who played a role in Nora and Becca’s own childhood games. . . .

An arresting, crossover horror fantasy threaded with dark magic, The Bad Ones is a poison-pen love letter to semi-toxic best friendship, the occult power of childhood play and artistic creation, and the razor-thin line between make-believe and belief.

Editor review

1 review
Riveting Multi-Genre Crossover Story
Overall rating
Writing Style
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This book combines elements of multiple genres beautifully, heavily leaning on horror, mystery, and fantasy, while weaving in coming-of-age and paranormal themes to the story. Albert creates such rich and well-developed characters, both the main characters and the side characters. Readers get to see how the friendship develops between Nora and Becca, and changes over time as they both grow and mature and have different life experiences. While the story is told through Nora’s perspective in the present, readers also see the past through both Nora and Becca’s eyes.

The story focuses on some heavy emotional themes, and deals with parental death. While it happens off-page, readers do learn the circumstances of the death, and includes an exploration of grief. There are some other topics that are addressed as well which readers should be aware of, including sexual assault, self-harm, bullying, toxic relationships, murder, homophobia, and religious intolerance. This book is listed as appropriate for readers aged 14-18 years old, but might be better off for readers in this range who are more mature due to these themes.

Albert does a wonderful job of creating another multi-genre crossover success. There are multiple questions that arise which kept me flipping pages to find out what the answers were. There is so much to uncover, and there are surprises and plot twists at every turn. Characters have plenty of depth and room to grow throughout the story, especially as they process the wide range of emotions they are experiencing. This is a wonderful read, and showcases
Good Points
-Multiple genre crossover
-Fast-paced with lots of plot twists
-Great exploration of emotions
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