HEARTLESS by Leah Rhyne


Age Range: 12 & up
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A reanimated girl seeks answers.

After a fight with her boyfriend, Jolene storms off into a blizzard at night. The next thing the white 19-year-old remembers is waking up in some sort of a morgue, unable to talk, no longer needing to breathe, and oozing stink. Those behind this, who have abducted and experimented on more girls than just Jolene, are luckily so laughably bad at security that she is able to walk out and simply run back to her college campus. She turns to her best friend, an ambassador’s daughter, for help, and the two decide to try to fix things on their own and tell only Jolene’s boyfriend. Early gross-out humor, jokes about Jolene’s rank stench, and the kind of inappropriate puns and jokes that emerge as a defense mechanism slowly evaporate into a never-ending stream of reminders that Jolene stinks. With the comedy and camp drained away, what’s left is a thriller rendered tensionless by inexplicably unintelligent characters, heroes and villains both, and baffling plot holes. Readers will be frustrated in particular by watching the heroes struggle to detect obvious villains. By the end of the book, both plot and conspiracy reach peak ludicrousness. There are late-occurring attempts to recapture the early camp, but by then most readers will likely have stopped caring—and they probably won’t care about the sequel-bait ending either.

Not so-bad-it’s-good bad—just bad. (Horror. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 10th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-940610-87-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Polis Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2016


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