Storytime with Sophie: The Dead and the Dark


Sophie Barkett

The Dead and the Dark is a YA novel, any thriller enthusiast would enjoy. The novel is by Courtney Gould and can be found on Amazon.

The Dead and the Dark is a complex, well-developed novel by Courtney Gould, that leaves readers unable to put it down. Released on August 3rd, this novel is a romantic YA thriller that may be enjoyed by fans of Stranger Things and American Horror Story, due to many similarities.  

The story surrounds the Ortiz-Woodley family, and their return to the rural town of Snakebite, Oregon. Logan and her dads, Bradon and Alejo, have moved around the United States throughout Logan’s life, for their supernatural television show, “Para-spectors”. After temporarily living in Los Angeles, the family returned to Snakebite, where Brandon and Alejo grew up. However, shortly after their arrival, a local teen boy goes missing, followed by other disappearances. Logan’s father Brandon is suspected for the crime, due to his eccentric demeanor. 

After a series of awkward and traumatic events, Logan grows a somewhat strained relationship with Brandon, and often feels lonely among her family. When getting to Snakebite, she meets local Ashley Barton. Ashley, the girlfriend of the missing boy, is another main character. Ashley and Logan team up to find the culprit of the crime. Ashley hopes to find her boyfriend, and Logan wants to prove her parents innocent. 

While the novel has romantic elements, the romance blends with the supernatural plot, neither necessarily overtaking the other. The various elements of the story all work well together, and fans of one specific genre would still enjoy the combination of the thriller- supernatural- romance that is The Dead and the Dark. 

This thriller novel is nail-biting, with tense scenes that leave readers desperate to continue. The novel goes to places that readers would not see coming, but still manages to resolve all loose ends. After concluding the novel, readers can connect the pieces, and understand the aspects that might have not made sense initially. 

The story progresses somewhat quickly, with chapters often being separated by time jumps of multiple days. The chapters themselves are another positive trait of the novel, with shorter chapters ranging from 5 to 20 pages. While it depends on reader preferences, these shorter chapters allow for the book to progress quicker and never allow a dull moment. 

Gould also includes a page with potential content warnings. These warnings allow for readers to see what potentially triggering content, (such as the death of a child and homophobia), is included. This good-natured gesture from the author ensures that readers are comfortable with the material. 

The novel includes lgbt+ representation, with the main character identifying as lesbian, as well as Logan’s fathers being openly gay. The conflicts resolving the sexuality of the characters are done in a tasteful way. The novel does not revolve around a queer coming-of-age story, but is rather a novel with queer characters. 

One aspect of the novel that was somewhat weak, was the development of the main romantic relationship. The relationship seemed to progress quite quickly, and could have benefited from more maturation.

However, overall the novel is easy to understand, and leaves readers on edge for what’s to come. Gould’s writing is skillful, especially coming from a ew author. Gould is releasing another novel in 2022, called Echo Sunset, which fans can eagerly anticipate after the success of this novel. Gould’s novel is a nail-biting read with a satisfying end that will leave any thrill seekers thoroughly pleased.