I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!
I find it only fair to let you know that I'm the type of reader who is fairly desensitized to horror novels at this point. I read a lot of them and, since I found this genre early on when YA horror wasn't a big thing, most of them are targeted to adults. So take my review with a grain of salt, my friends. I expect a lot from books that market themselves as horror. I love to feel the tension, hate/love the characters, and be completely blindsided at every turn. Basically, The Last Harvest had a lot to live up to. It nearly made it there too.
First off, credit where credit is due, Kim Liggett does an excellent job of setting the stage for Clay's possible descent into madness. The little town of Midland, Oklahoma is brought to life almost immediately. You can feel the breeze on a humid summer night, see the sunset over the corn fields, and relish in the small town feel of the characters and their day to day lives. I love books with settings like these. They settle you firmly into a sense of nostalgia, in my case for a place I've never been. This is my favorite kind of story, and that's one of the reasons I loved it so much.
Liggett also shines with her creation of the characters in this book as well. Clay, the golden boy quarterback turned outcast, is easy to fall in love with. As I met the rest of this not quite friends, I saw how easily each of them fit into the setting that was so expertly built. These are kids who raised in a town that sees them as the budding next generation. They are the future of Midland and, as such, can do no wrong. Although there wasn't as much time to get to know them as I would have liked, I at least appreciated the fact that they felt like real people, with real issues.
What took the star rating down for me in this book, and again I remind you that I'm pretty picky about books in this genre, is a mixture of how slow it was to build and how unsurprising the majority of the story was. Don't get me wrong, YA horror has it rough. There's a line that you can't cross in terms of the actual horror/gore aspects and I really feel like it hampered this story. What should have been shocking events in Clay's story, felt more like small breaks from the lull of this book. Although I liked most of the characters well enough, their fates never really resonated with me. As I mentioned before, my favorite part of this genre is the attachment and tension that I usually feel. I didn't feel much of that here at all.
I can say that this book is very easy to read through though, despite anything else. I powered through the story in roughly two hours, and didn't feel like I wasn't going to finish. There was enough to keep me invested in what the ending would actually be, even though I thought I had figured it out, and so I appreciated that. I just wish there had been more to make me feel really invested. I'll give this three stars, and highly recommend it to anyone starting out in the horror genre! It's well written, and not too terribly terrifying. An excellent place for a beginning.