*Received a physical copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The story kicks off with Tessa being given some news about her father and she has to return to a place she has dreaded after being gone for ten years. Throughout the story, she recalls some childhood memories of her own dysfunctional family, as well as a period of torture for her and others in her hometown. Her thoughts also enable us to experience the effects of what she and Callie had endured as children, as well as establish the kind of person Tessa is at present.
Now, a lot of people may not like Tessa's character. She's flawed, and there's nothing really sweet and cookie-cutter about her. She's rather honest in her mind but often conceals the facts from others. And she doesn't always have the most pleasant thoughts about her peers. But given that she grew up in a messy family and had gone through so much as a child, I think all those things contribute to her tough exterior and guarded mentality. And I liked that she started doing research and digging into things to find answers for her questions, as well as try and fix the mistake (even though she and friend were pressured and manipulated) she and Callie made as kids.
There's a lot I could get into but what I liked most about the story was how dark, intriguing, mysterious and unpredictable it was. I tried so many times to guess the real killer but failed each time. There was just no way to figure it out. Kara gave no clue as to how things would end and I liked all the twists and reveals along the way. The truth about Tessa's family, especially about her sister was a surprise. Not to mention the truth about Tessa. I did not see that coming. I feel like there was a tiny hint about the mother, but I never suspected the situation with her was to that extent. So very interesting and very realistic because these things do happen.
Characters came and went but the one recurring character I loved was Maggie, Callie's mom. She had a significant role in the story with the way she was always helping Tessa and she sort of stood in the place that Tessa's real mom should have been. At times Maggie seemed a bit overprotective, but after what happened to her niece, that was understandable and she only wanted to keep her daughter and Tessa safe. It's always a breath of fresh air to see moms portrayed in such a good way in books. Often times they're mostly like Tessa's mother, but Maggie is a sign that family doesn't have to be blood-related.
Another thing I liked about Darkest Corners is the fact that Tessa and Callie managed to restore the bond they had before with everything going on. Their friendship was damaged as children after what happened and both felt as if the other abandoned them in a way. But the fact that even after Callie and Tessa solved everything and still wanted to keep in touch brought a smile to my face. I feel like their past alone should strengthen their friendship and forever connect them. I was also happy that Callie's parents did that for her in the end because she truly needed it. But speaking of the end, what a way to leave us with questions in the epilogue Kara. Readers are definitely going to be wondering about that character and how she ended up in that situation. I know I am definitely curious.
Overall, an intriguing story with unpredictability you'll enjoy. The writing is quick and fluid; the setting is dark and suspenseful. And even though these characters aren't like the usual ones from sugary YA books, I still felt a connection to them, and the mystery of who the killer was and what was going on with Tessa's family had me locked in the story from start to finish. I recommend giving this one a read. Beware, though, it is creepy.