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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A teen girl disappears from her small town deep in the bayou, where magic festers beneath the surface of the swamp like water rot, in this chilling debut supernatural thriller for fans of Natasha Preston, Karen McManus, and Rory Power. La Cachette, Louisiana, is the worst place to be if you have something to hide. This tiny town, where seventeen-year-old Grey spends her summers, is the self-proclaimed Psychic Capital of the World—and the place where Elora Pellerin, Grey's best friend, disappeared six months earlier. Grey can't believe that Elora vanished into thin air any more than she can believe that nobody in a town full of psychics knows what happened. But as she digs into the night that Elora went missing, she begins to realize that everybody in town is hiding something—her grandmother Honey; her childhood crush Hart; and even her late mother, whose secrets continue to call to Grey from beyond the grave. When a mysterious stranger emerges from the bayou—a stormy-e…

Dark and Shallow Lies

by Ginny Myers Sain

Overall Book Review:

Grey might not call the tiny town of La Cachette, Louisiana home year-round, but she has spent her summers in the secretive, little town for as far back as she can remember. So, despite the fact that her best friend just went missing in La Cachette under suspicious circumstances, Grey has decided to continue her tradition of summering in the bayou with her grandmother.

Grey typically spends her spare time working in her grandmother’s spiritualist bookstore (La Cachette is the “psychic capital of the world”, after all) or hanging out with her close friends who were all coincidentally born in the summer and hold a special connection. Grey seems to know the small town inside and out, and not because she has any special mind-reading abilities like her grandmother and her dead mother, but because she genuinely seems to care for, and want what is best for the community. There are things that Grey doesn’t know, though, and as readers, we learn these shocking truths alongside her.

What at first glance might look like a simple case of a missing best friend is quickly revealed to be darker and more sinister than might seem possible. Grey starts to think that, behind it all, there might be something more terrifying than she can even begin to imagine. As the story progresses, different elements are added into the story that only enhance the unpredictability of what will happen next, keeping me on the edge of my seat until the end of this book.

La Cachette, Louisiana may not exist on a real map, but you wouldn’t know it after reading Dark and Shallow Lies. From the descriptions of the heavy southern summer air to the little details of Grey working in the shop from day to day, I absolutely loved this book and could not put it down! Ginny Myers Sain is an author I will be keeping my eye on and hoping to see another book from her in the near future.

Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Razorbill

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  31 religious exclamations; 49 mild obscenities; 20 religious profanities; 2 derogatory names; 62 scatological words; 18 anatomical terms; 54 F-Word derivatives.

Violence/Gore:  A minor recalls a brief scene where her best friend is angry and punches her in the mouth; a minor observes a missing poster that depicts her best friend; a minor has visions or flashbacks of being chased and attacked by someone throughout the book; a report is made of a teen walking into a swampy area and never being seen again; mentions are made throughout the book of psychic readings and contacting the dead; a local story of two young girls being found floating dead in a pond is referred to several times, as well as the man who they accuse of committing the crime being creepy and weird; a man is described as being a abusive to his family and it is mentioned that his wife killed him in self-defense, some mention of the scene of death is made, blood and brains splattered on the wall of their home; a mention is made of the main character’s parent killing herself; a man is reported to have been bitten by a venomous snake and almost dying; a brief scene occurs where a minor is almost bitten by a cottonmouth snake; a young girl mentions that she has seen a fantasy creature that stories have been told about for years, a wolf-like creature that kills and is called “the rougarou”; a brief scene occurs where a young man falls through a rotten section of a dock and is almost attacked by an alligator; a scene occurs where two young men who are rivals get into a fight, hitting and choking each other, at one point one of them kicks at and slams the head of his rival against the ground brutally, blood is mentioned; a young girl reports seeing the fabled rougarou attacking and killing a missing girl and leaving her dead and bloodied; a bad storm is mentioned to have hit a small town and destroyed houses; a girl envisions a physical attack and feels as though she is being attacked by someone though she is not actually being harmed; a young man recalls a time when his father was being run out of town and someone set their house on fire while he and his family were still inside, his brother is reported to have been trapped inside and to have died in the fire; a young man confronts a man who is verbally and physically abusive to his daughter and threatens him with a gun, it is mentioned that the man is later seen with an underage girl in his car; a storm is reported to be brewing and two people are reportedly dead; a young woman is shown a barrel with a dead body inside in one brief scene, a horrible smell and flash of bone is mentioned; a beer bottle is thrown in anger; a report is made of a man being killed after making accusations; a minor sees friend turning into a monster and becomes certain that he killed her friend who is missing; a young man confesses that he saw a missing girl being attacked and left for dead in one brief scene, detailing that her face was smashed, bloody and unrecognizable; a report is made of how two young girls were killed and ended up floating in a pond, dead; a person is threatened with a gun put against their head in one brief scene.

Sex/Nudity:  A girl recalls her first kiss at age thirteen with a boy she’d known her whole life; a girl recalls how an area of the small swamp she lives in is often a place kids go for kissing and “more than that”; a girl refers to a boy as “someone to do”; a brief scene occurs where two minors are drunk and kiss each other, touch each other; two minors kiss in a brief scene; minors take their clothes off and lay together and touch each other in one scene, it is implied that some sort of intercourse takes place, with no explicit detail; a young man and young woman lie together in a bed holding each other for comfort in a non-sexual way; a young man is mentioned to be shirtless in several scenes; “hooking up” is referred to; a boy and girl share a brief kiss.

Mature Subject Matter:

Domestic abuse; missing persons; murder; death; abandonment.; murder.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Minors are mentioned to drink beer and smoke multiple times throughout the story; minors are mentioned to smoke weed on occasion; minors are referred to as drunk; teens are mentioned to drink hard alcohol.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.