L.A. transplant Logan Ortiz-Woodley, the 17-year-old daughter of two famous married TV paranormal investigators, the ParaSpectors, is grudgingly spending the summer after graduation in her adoptive fathers’ hometown of Snakebite, Ore. But something is wrong in insular Snakebite, from the inhospitable weather to the inhabitants’ simmering, almost tangible rage. When beloved high school athlete Tristan Granger vanishes a week after Logan’s family returns to investigate mysterious occurrences in the homophobic town, Logan’s emotionally distant father Brandon becomes the prime suspect. And as even more teens begin disappearing without a trace, it will take skeptical Logan, alongside Tristan’s guilt-stricken, psychic girlfriend Ashley, to uncover the truth of who or what is haunting Snakebite. Though the book’s pacing is hampered by unnecessary time jumps and the characters (largely defaulting to white) can feel shallow, Gould’s supernaturally spooky debut is filled with all manner of creepy inventiveness—a mixed bag that makes for an intriguing read. Ages 13–up. Agent: Claire Friedman and Jessica Mileo, InkWell Management. (Aug.)
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"A complex and sophisticated thriller with haunting real-world connections." - Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Gould's supernaturally spooky debut is filled with all manner of creepy inventiveness...an intriguing read." - Publishers Weekly
"Spooky atmosphere seeps out of every pore of this slow burn ghost story." - Buzzfeed
"A thoroughly creepy ride from start to finish...Gould has a gift for supernatural storytelling. The story is fast-paced and quick-moving – it’s easy to find yourself lost in its pages and finish the book in just a day or so." - Culturess
"It's perfectly written to give us a slow burn while simultaneously teasing a new aspect of the mystery in every single chapter...But this book was so much more than the mystery—it’s also about that feeling of darkness and depression that lives in all of us; it’s about standing up to hate and realizing we’re not as different from each other as we might think; and it’s about queerness, love, acceptance and, most importantly, hope for the future." - Hypable
"Imagine Riverdale crossing streams with Stephen King's The Outsider and you'll get a sense of this gripping supernatural mystery...Gould's debut begins as a snappy paranormal yarn and unspools into a profound story about the complex interplay between grief, guilt, and identity." - Oprah Daily
"Gould’s atmospheric writing mesmerized me while reading... In the veins of V.E. Schwab and Courtney Summers, Gould delivers a spine-chilling and eerie debut with The Dead and the Dark that will leave readers hooked from the first page." - The Nerd Daily
"For fans of books like authors like Courtney Summers and Lisa Jewel, Courtney Gould’s debut novel The Dead and the Dark packs a chilling story of a murder conspiracy, family bonds, and the darkness that exists within the seams of society and even inside the most purest of people." - The Young Folks
"Gould's debut is an utterly dreamy romance in the midst of a living nightmare, and a true testament to the power of love in a world of hate. It's exactly the book we need right now." - Dahlia Adler, author of Cool for the Summer and editor of His Hideous Heart
"An absorbing mystery and wholly original ghost story. Gould’s writing is mesmerizing, drawing you into Snakebite until it slips under your skin and lingers like the Dark itself. A haunting story I won't shake off anytime soon." - Emma Berquist, author of Devils Unto Dust and Missing, Presumed Dead
"The Dead and the Dark has something for everyone: thrills, chills, a mystery that'll keep readers guessing and a romance they'll absolutely love rooting for. Snakebite is a setting as unforgettably alive as the characters who inhabit it and once it gets hold of you, it won't let go. A riveting, spooky and expertly-crafted debut from a talented new voice in YA fiction." - Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie
"Gould’s debut has everything you need in a book: an engrossing mystery, a compelling love story, and a setting so utterly alive you won’t believe it isn’t on a map. The Dead and the Dark will keep you in its grasp until the last perfect page." – Erica Waters, author of Ghost Wood Song
"The Dead and the Dark gave me everything I want from a great supernatural murder mystery: a haunting small town, a fresh new romance, and the very best kind of monster—the kind we make ourselves.” - Francesca Zappia, author of Now Entering Addamsville and Eliza and Her Monsters
Gr 9 Up—Logan is not really interested in going to her dads' hometown of Snakebite, Oregon, for the summer, but her dads are the ghost hunting duo the ParaSpectors, and they claim there is a case to solve there. Ashley has always loved Snakebite, but things have felt different ever since her boyfriend, Tristan, went missing six months ago, and they only get worse when the mysterious Logan arrives with two of Snakebite's former, scorned residents. When Ashley begins to see ghosts, she has to rely on Logan to help her find Tristan, and the person who took him, before anyone else gets hurt. This novel explores the consequences of hate, and the way hate can shape a town. While it is a ghost story, the ghosts are not the villains in the town of Snakebite. Residents are quick to blame the queer family for everything that has gone wrong, and in this way Gould shows us how hate and fear go hand in hand. This is a unique and important take on the horror genre. Logan is a lesbian, one of her dads is bisexual, and Ashley is queer. One of Logan's dads is Latinx as are two secondary characters. All others are presumed white. VERDICT Purchase for library collections where ghost stories are in demand, and where LGBTQIA+ stories in a genre other than realistic fiction are desired.—Mariah Smitala, Hedberg P.L., Janesville, WI
Logan Ortiz-Woodley’s dads return with her to their rural Oregon hometown, reawakening old tensions alongside a mysterious evil.
Snakebite is an insular ranching community where everything and everyone is reliably, stiflingly familiar and normal...on the surface. It was paradise to wealthy Ashley Barton before her boyfriend went missing; now trusted adults are keeping secrets and blaming paranormal investigation show star Brandon, who’s in town scouting locations for the next season. The arrival of Brandon’s co-star and husband, Alejo, and their adopted daughter, Logan, prompts further scrutiny and outright aggression—escalated by the revelation that Brandon and Alejo grew up in Snakebite—and leads Ashley to question her beliefs about her town and herself. Meanwhile, Logan quickly realizes that her family’s ties to Snakebite run far deeper than she thought—and that they’re not just there for ParaSpectors. She’s never been close with Brandon, and Alejo refuses to spill, so Logan reluctantly turns to Ashley for help getting answers. But as the girls get closer to the truth, the pool of suspects increases, and their friendship is tested (as well as the growing attraction between lesbian Logan and questioning Ashley). The paranormal elements—sounds, ghosts, and possession—support and enhance Gould’s broader project of interrogating the racist, homophobic ideology that has festered in Snakebite for years. Most characters are White; brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking, bisexual Alejo is presumably Latinx.
A complex and sophisticated thriller with haunting real-world connections. (Paranormal thriller. 13-18)