Reviews

My Dearest Darkest by Kayla Cottingham

cobwebshelves's review

Go to review page

adventurous mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

"<...>how easily they walk into a trap, a voice whispered softly in her mind. humans are but animals, i suppose. and all animals can be lured with the right bait."

so you've just died and come back to life, got into your dream academy, and during your first week you do wandering in the tunnels under the campus, only to encounter a strange being who promises to bring you gifs out of the kindness of her heart. perhaps with a small payment attached. what could possibly go wrong?

i had a lot of fun with this one! in "my dearest darkest", cottingham has brought solid eeriness to their private school setting, doing a pretty solid job balancing the supernatural and the mundane. finch and selena's POVs are both distinct, painting a clear contrast and helping build up the relationship. both the bisexual and lesbian rep was lovely – having one character who's out and comfortable and another who's just starting to figure things out made for a good contrast, and i also commend cottingham for speaking about how traumatic being outed can be. i'm not a big horror reader, so this had just the right amount of that for me. there were some rather gory moments that made me a little queasy but someone who's more used to the genre probably wouldn't find to be that much.

the only real downside was the pacing and how it affected the character development. certain scenes felt fast-forwarded, making the timeline seem disorienting. i had thought several months had passed at one point, only for the story to drop a halloween mention. this led to conversations and relationship building being skipped over with short paragraphs of "for the next week, finch did this" or "the following two weeks, selena did that". the cult storyline felt lost in the time skips too and i felt like victor was underutilised for the storytelling. i certainly expected him to play a bigger role in the final act.

despite it, i found myself immersed in "my dearest darkest" and kind of wishing i had a story like this when i was 18-19 and hungry for spooky academia.

initially received this book as an arc from netgalley and sourcebooks fire.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

sapphodemia's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark mysterious tense medium-paced

3.5

abby1234oscar's review against another edition

Go to review page

adventurous dark emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

andreea11's review against another edition

Go to review page

dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

honeybee_reads_'s review

Go to review page

dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

haialiel's review

Go to review page

dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

kaleereads's review

Go to review page

4.0

another great read from cottingham, which is ironic since this is actually her debut. i just went backwards! my dearest darkest is like head like a hole’s younger, gayer sister: there’s a powerful inhuman entity, a mysterious school, a group of friends being targeted for their human body parts - very similar! but kayla has a talent for weaving classic YA romance and coming of age themes with some very inventive horror and mystery. just like this delicious death, my dearest darkest is at once funny, heartfelt, romantic, gory, horrific, gripping, and satisfying. plus i cannot overstate how much it means to me to read a sapphic romance at the heart of all of that. i will definitely be reading kayla cottingham’s future offerings, im officially a fan.

kitkat175's review

Go to review page

4.0

More of a 4.5 to be honest that's rounding up.
Creepy ghosts, cult teenagers, what could go wrong? Everything!!!!
I loved all the twists and turns, did not expect the girls and girls, but I loved the whole book. This book would take you out of a reading slump, loved all the queerness in this book.
This book is so good, I flew through this book. I loved the romance in this book in this book as well, it was so cute and was happy when the characters finally got together.
I love books that include the LGBTQ community in books. Some twists I did not see coming, but they were so good. I will always recommend this book.
This book definitely gave Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes which I loved.

sami_stark's review

Go to review page

adventurous dark emotional hopeful mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0

Super cool paranormal stuff, very spooky, great mystery, and an awesome sapphic romance in the background. Maybe needs more death? Haha jk unless?

jaselynn_23's review

Go to review page

dark emotional mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0