The Honeys

The Honeys
Age Range
Release Date
August 16, 2022
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From Ryan La Sala, the wildly popular author of Reverie, comes a twisted and tantalizing horror novel set amidst the bucolic splendor of a secluded summer retreat.
Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline's radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who'd grown tragically distant.

Mars's genderfluidity means he's often excluded from the traditions -- and expectations -- of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister's old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying -- and Mars is certain they're connected to Caroline's death.

But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can't find it soon, it will eat him alive.

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haunting and atmospheric summer YA horror
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THE HONEYS is an atmospheric and twisty YA horror read. After Mars (non-binary) loses their twin sister Caroline in a particularly terrible way, beginning with her attacking them and falling through the banister in their house to later find out that she had a brain tumor, they are left adrift. Caroline always cared deeply for the Honeys, a group of girls at the summer camp she has long attended who live in Cabin H and take care of the bees.

When the girls invite them back to the summer camp that treated them horribly in the past, Mars decides to attend to try to understand Caroline and what happened to her. Once there, Mars notices strange things happening, facing the toxic masculinity of the other campers they must spend time with and the oddities around the Honeys.

What I loved: This was an intensely atmospheric and haunting read that pulls the reader into the world of this elite summer camp, its secrets, and the mystical darkness underlying it all. The book consumes the reader with the mystery and air of the camp as well as the sinister cliques of the Aspen community, covered by the veneer of the wealthy attendants. Mars is a compelling character, dealing with their grief and trying to be true to themselves amidst the aggressive gender binary. As they are caught up in the mystery, veneer, and bewitching camp, they are also pulled into the orbit of the girls their sister used to be one of.

The Honeys are haunting and enchanting - a mean girl clique that runs the camp with a special kind of magic. It is easy to see why Caroline and Mars would get pulled into their orbit. As things begin to happen around them, the reader is slowly realizing that there is even more than it originally seemed going on at this camp and with the Honeys. The mystery builds all the way to the explosive end.

The book deals with some heavy and dark themes around greed, prejudice, the gender binary, toxic masculinity and the massive societal weight of gender expectations, parental expectations for their children, and generational wealth and the grip it has. The camp has treated Mars poorly, with the way they have set up their activities and competitions along gender lines. This reflects societal views and constraints, with sentiments of boys will be boys and the alienation of those who don't fit into expected bins. This discussion was particularly poignant in the ways that Mars stays true to themself and explains to others, particularly Wyatt, who also becomes an endearing character.

Final verdict: A twisty and haunting read, THE HONEYS is the atmospheric camp read of the summer! Highly recommend picking this one up if you enjoy YA thriller/horror books.
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