Title: The Fear
Author: Natasha Preston
Genre: YA, Mystery/Thriller
Published: March 1st, 2022 (Delacorte Press)
Synopsis: Don’t be afraid. Be terrified.
It’s just a stupid meme that’s going around their small fishing town in the dead of winter – people reposting and sharing their biggest fear. But when her classmates start turning up dead – dying in the way that they said scared them the most – Izzy knows it’s no joke.
With each death hitting closer to home, Izzy sets out to try to stop the killer. Could her older sister’s friend Tristan have something to do with the deaths? He’s given her some strange vibes. Or what about his brooding cousin, Axel? But he’s in her classes at school. He’s not a murderer…is he? Izzie’s soon on a path that will lead her right to the killer…and her own worst nightmare.
Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Teen Canada, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A meme on social media goes viral in the town of Rock Bay, where people share their worst way to die, and initially, it seems like just another silly meme. But when students actually start to die in the same manner they described in their posts, it quickly becomes clear that something more sinister is afoot. Izzy, who discovers the body of a classmate, is determined to find the truth as everyone who reposted could be a target, including her best friend and cousin. Each murder hits closer, and somehow Izzy seems to end up at the center. Will she be able to unmask the killer in time?
“The truth is, when death comes, no matter how it comes, it’s always scary.”
After reading a slew of heavy historical fiction novels, this fast paced thriller was exactly what I needed. It was an engrossing read right from page one, and I was completely caught up in the story, trying to figure out who was behind it all. I did manage to predict the culprit by around the 60% mark, but there are plenty of twists that will make you doubt and redoubt your theories. Basing the story around a meme on social media was something that made it very relevant to today, especially as the killer begins to take advantage of how much information people share with the world through these mediums, inadvertently giving away details that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Characters…to be honest, I didn’t like Izzy much. I know there wouldn’t be a story if the main character didn’t get involved and do a little sleuthing, but I felt like Izzy didn’t really have a strong enough reason to not just leave it up to the police. She kept running off to investigate and made some rather stupid and reckless decisions without regard for her own safety and is also irritatingly indecisive when it comes to her suspects. Luckily, that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story too much, as the mystery itself was intriguing enough to keep my attention. Having the killer’s perspective along with Izzy’s was a great touch, and it helped maintain the tension very well throughout as you also begin to wonder about the killer’s motives.
This was a solid 4 star rating for me despite a few things being predictable, right until the ending, which just ruined it. Last minute twists can be amazing, but leaving it unresolved like that is just not cool. From what I can see, there doesn’t seem to be a sequel planned for this book, which means I have to lower the rating by half a star because I can’t stand unfinished endings. Despite that, this was a good thriller, well paced and exciting, and I would definitely recommend it for fans of the genre. I’m looking forward to checking out some of the other books by this author.
The Fear releases on March 1st, 2022.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
All quotes in this review were taken from an advance reader’s edition and may differ from the final version of the book.