* I have received this book for review from Readers First but this in no way affects my review *
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Source: From Readers First
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Rating: 5/5 stars
Book Summary from Goodreads:
Ever since Esther Solar's grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther's father is agoraphobic and hasn't left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.
The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.
Esther doesn't know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.
Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn't counted on: love.
Krystal Sutherland's debut book, Our Chemical Hearts fell flat for me when I first read it last year, however, when I read the first look of her new book, A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, I fell in love with the writing and the setting of the book and it did not disappoint. A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is a truly unique story which is now one of my new favourites.
The book follows Esther who has bad anxiety and on one night gets robbed by Jonah, a boy who was once her friend until he moves away. With the robbery, Jonah gains Esther's semi list of worst nightmares which are things that she is scared off and Jonah suggests that they tackle these on a weekly based and with this a story is born.
Sutherland's writing is one of those that can keep you engaged with the story and I often felt that this had to be completed as the book goes to some dark places at moments but this is still done well even when mentioning pop culture references which don't take you away from the story and even add to it at moments.
The characters in the book where the main part of why I enjoyed the story so much as they are complicated and are completely lovable and I fell in love with Esther from the first page and as the book continues she develops so much and for me, that was so lovely to see. I also liked Jonah's character as he too did change over the course of the book especially from the first time he is seen on the page. The side characters of Eugene and Hephzibah were also wonderful.
I really also loved the way that this book dealt with anxiety and for me personally it was very an accurate portrayal of this and some of the ways that Sutherland writes this was accurate in describing what goes through my head at times.
The book often at times has two different plot points, the facing the fears side and the murder mystery, curse side which both does intertwine nicely and it was so nice to be resolved and to be both well throughout the book. I was never once bored through the story and was kept entertained.
A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is one of my new favourite books and encapsulates what it means to face your fears and beat them.
Have you read this book? Did you like it?
See you soon,