I’m sorry, but I didn’t like this, y’all. I LOVED the concept of a fictional horror story set at a hotel inspired by the Cecil and–my God would you look at this cover?! I want to blow that up and frame it on my wall! If only the story was just as glorious, but it was a dud. Here’s my list of gripes:
The multiple narrations: Each chapter is narrated by one of the members of the Scooby Doo gang of kiddos, and they ALL SOUND THE SAME! I had to keep flipping the pages back to see who was narrating what because their voices just morphed into one–same tone, same snarky commentary, same lingo, same self-serving decision-making, yada yada. As per usual with young adult books, it was hard to like any of the characters. Hmm…maybe I need to just stop with YA once and for all and just read the classics. Either way, I digress. I had a hard time caring about the poor little rich boy/wannabe YouTube viral sensation, the flirty fashionista “influencer” girl, the edgy nose ring girl, or the sensitive girl who sees dead people. They all sounded like one person to me in each of the short, choppy chapters, making this thing a real bear to get through.
The hiding of bodies: So, the gang stumbles upon not one, but two murder victims while staying at the Hearst Hotel. For me, personally, my kneejerk reaction would be to call the police because– oh, I don’t know, maybe because a murderer needs to get caught?! But that would throw a wrench in their plans to reach their 1-million hits on YouTube while investigating the Hearst, so it’s just best to hide the bodies, contaminate the crime scenes and continue on with the ghost hunt. Cool. I’m sorry, but this is just very strange decision-making, and I’m just not sure I’m understanding. Then again, we live in a weird “look at me!” society, so I guess this is just par for the course.
The whodunnit: So, this is supposed to be somewhat of a whodunnit with a killer on the loose and all. I was hoping to have the rug ripped out from under me at the end, but nope. The killer turned out to be the most likely suspect, so whomp whomp.
Sorry if that was a spoiler. I’m just keeping it real here. At the risk of sounding like an ol’ lady, YA books just ain’t what they used to be. I’m becoming more and more disappointed with these books filled with vapid characters, people speaking in acronyms and really flat character development. If you’re in the mood for a spectacularly spooky haunted hotel book, pick up The Shining by the dark master Stephen King. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James was also quite thrilling and atmospheric.