Clay Tate never believed his dead father’s crazed ramblings about devil worshippers in Midland, Oklahoma.
When he finds a slaughtered calf on his family’s farm, though, Clay knows that something evil is plaguing his town and that he and his friends—who also happen to be the sixth generation of the town’s founding farmers—might be responsible for ushering in the apocalypse. Though populated and narrated by young people, the book does not feel in touch with its putative audience, and in particular, Clay’s teenage voice is unauthentic. Supporting characters come across as generic: Clay’s mother is a prop character whose purpose seems to be to give the illusion of an authority figure in Clay’s life; the town sheriff plays the dual good cop–bad cop role but never moves beyond that character arc; and one of the novel’s main villains has no real substance. Clay, white with dark-blond hair, and Ali, white with dark-brown hair, spend much of the novel pining for each other, but unfortunately, Ali is a cookie-cutter version of the girl next door, and their romance is lackluster.
Though the book seems to want to read like a teen version of Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn” with romance, its implausible characters and chaotic plotline will leave readers cold. (Horror. 14-18)