Ugly Young Thing – Jennifer Jaynes

13437065Sixteen-year-old Allie has already experienced a lifetime of horror, having lost her mother and serial killer brother to mental illness.

Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana, Allie ends up in foster care and is placed with Miss Bitty, an eccentric but kindly older woman who shows her a new direction and brighter future.

But Allie’s new life takes a devastating turn when young women in the area start turning up dead, and she begins to see shadowy figures outside her bedroom. As Miss Bitty grows inexplicably distant, a nagging voice makes Allie wonder if death has found her yet again…or if it never really left her at all.

I was fortunate enough to receive this book as an ARC from Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. In fact, I didn’t even realize it was Book #2 until after I had already started reading it, but I was still able to pick up most of the back story. I don’t usually find myself reading a lot of thriller/mystery but this book caught my attention and hooked me immediately.

Allie comes from a very unfortunate background. Her mother was a prostitute, murderer and mentally ill. Her brother was mentally ill and a murderer as well so it’s not a shock that Allie would be worried that she was going to end up just like the two of them. Upon Allie’s return to Louisiana she is quickly taken under the wing of Miss Bitty who wants to take care of Allie in every way possible. However with her past Allie has trouble trusting anyone and is always suspicious when someone wants to do something nice for her. But that won’t stop Miss Bitty. She even involves some of her old and new friends to help the young girl.

Meanwhile there is a killer on the loose that is stalking women for the purpose of killing them. And its clear early on that he is definitely mentally ill and very methodical. In fact, he has even been watching Allie very closely.

This was a great book! Full of mystery and intrigue. The characters were well developed and Allie was exactly what you would expect from a girl with such a traumatic background. Her dialogue, inner thoughts, and outward actions were so real. Jennifer was able to be blunt about some very real issues in today’s society, and some accounts were more descriptive than I was expecting. I actually found myself taking notes trying to connect and compare characters and even jotting down theories and coincidental facts all in hopes of figuring out what was really going on. And I applaud Jennifer for making me second guess every single theory by writing such a great thriller that had me guessing right up until the end. Definitely worth 5 out of 5 stars!



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