Slenderman, Online Obsession, Mental Illness and the Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls

Kathleen Hale takes a deep dive into the 2014 Slenderman stabbing case. Two young girls stabbed their classmate as an act of loyalty to the online folk lore figure, “Slenderman.”

I remember reading about the Slenderman case when it happened. I’ve always been fascinated with what was the reasoning that drove the two girls to plot and stab their friend – at 12 years old.

This story has layers upon layers of information about mental illness and how that relates to our online usage, not to mention what “tales” are believed by children. We could also go into a deep analysis of medication for mentally ill children and whether they could ever be functioning adults after committing a horrendous crime, but alas, it’s too much to cover.

For the review, I’ll stick to Kathleen’s writing of SLENDERMAN. I learned a LOT. I remember hearing about the case and following it slightly in the news.

The book delves into what happened with a lot of details and WHY the stabbing happened. We also learn of the aftermath – the interrogations, the detention center, mental institution, therapy, court cases, medications (or not). We also learn a bit about what happened to all three girls’ families in the years to come.

It was obvious Kathleen researched the case thoroughly. The details she wrote were helpful in seeing what really happened.

I wish she had been able to find out more about how the families are currently doing. I hope everyone involved has found a way to move on, but I’m sure it’s still something they deal with each day.

Thank you to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for providing me an e-book copy of SLENDERMAN, by Kathleen Hale, to review.

I rate SLENDERMAN, by Kathleen Hale, four out of five stars.

You’re Invited

That tagline: She’ll Wish She’d Never RSVP’D – so good! I love it.

Okay, okay, okay, I was SO excited to read YOU’RE INVITED by Amanda Jayatissa. I loved her first book, My Sweet Girl. YOU’RE INVITED did not disappoint.

Set in Sri Lanka, Amanda weaves a tale mostly told by our unreliable narrator, Amaya. She is determined to not let the wedding between her ex-best friend, Kaavi, and her ex-boyfriend, Spencer happen.

The story is told from a couple of points-of-view mixed in with interviews after Kaavi disappears on the day of her wedding.

The plot revolves around marriages and weddings. Particularly those in Sri Lanka. We see Kaavi dealing with the pressure from her family and community to get married before she’s deemed “too old.” We get glimpses of how arranged marriages work, how extravagant (and costly) weddings are in Sri Lanka.

The STRESS of making all these working parts come together is excruciating for Kaavi. And here Amaya, who has her own secrets and life issues, comes in like a wrecking ball ready to destroy the entire event.

I loved how the story would give little hints and breadcrumbs of secrets or twists and in the end everything comes together.

YOU’RE INVITED was a popcorn thriller that made for a great weekend of reading for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me an e-copy of YOU’RE INVITED to review.

I rate YOU’RE INVITED five out of five stars.

The Swell

How about this cover? Beautiful! THE SWELL is Allie Reynolds follow-up to “Shiver.” THE SWELL takes readers on a surfing adventure with characters straight out of a wanna-be cult ready to protect THE SWELL against … anybody else.

I love when a book transports me to a completely different world than the one I live in. Twice now Allie Reynolds has plopped me right into settings that, if I’m being honest, I would be found dead on the first day.

THE SWELL sends us to a dangerous outdoor world in which a mini-cult has the mindset of living day-to-day with no real jobs and facing your freaking fears, even if that includes a load of mental and physical pain.

The swell – aka Mother Nature’s hidden cove in Australia – may be the true villain in the story. Imagine heat and waves upon waves featuring jagged rocks and cliffs. Maybe you could survive surfing. However, if you jumped from one of these cliffs would it be fun or would it be the equivalent to dying on cement? Who the heck knows? Just go with it, mate! Ahhhh, this is the antagonist that would kill me on the first day.

However, I’m so na├»ve and trusting, the merry band of “the tribe” would do me in before supper.

Kenna is out to save Mikki. Convinced that her best friend since childhood is in an abusive relationship she jet sets from London to Australia to save her. To Allie’s relief, it appears Mikki’s boyfriend is a somewhat okay dude. But when he takes them both on a trip to The Swell, all hell breaks loose.

Last year I went from freezing on the sofa imagining being locked on a snowy ski mountain while reading Allie’s debut, “Shiver,” to this summer pretending I’m sunburned and sun-drained on the sofa reading THE SWELL.

Allie has the ability to make you feel like you are one of these nomad characters. I kept picturing myself with this group of people. They are just a bunch of surfers, living off adrenalin (with not much food) and are in great physical shape just doing their best to keep the swell a secret. They want the place to themselves and will do anything to make that happen.

I can’t wait to see what setting Allie takes us next. Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for providing me an e-copy of THE SWELL to review.

I rate THE SWELL five out of five stars.