Trigger warning: Rape and incest
Look, I grew up on Flowers in the Attic and this book was TOO MUCH! I maybe screeched a few times. I have usually enjoyed all of Tankersley Cusick’s young adult horror books, but this was just a bridge too far for me. Maybe because the main character was Too Stupid to Live (TSTL). Maybe it was because the secondary characters practically held up “We are Bad People” signs were being ignored by TSTL main character and were also cliche as hell. It could also be because the writing was painful to wade through after a while. Or it was the whole Black people did this shit plot that I could have done without.
“Blood Roots” follows I think 18 year old Olivia to her mother’s home. Olivia we find out is kind of a mess. We don’t know what happened to her mother, but it didn’t sound good. It also didn’t sound like her childhood was any great shakes either. But Olivia decides to go back to where her mother came from because she’s all out of ideas. She arrives at Devereaux House, a plantation in I don’t even know what state. The south. Let’s go with that. But Olivia overhears something and even though every sense should have been like let me leave, she fakes being ill and lies to the people present (one who is her grandmother) and asks for a job. Because Olivia is TSTL she ignores the fact that there are portraits around with a dude that she later finds called Jesse. And then another dude, named Skyler. Skyler is sadistic and seems to be stalking her and wants to abuse her, but you know…TSTL.
Honestly the book just goes on and on forever with Oliva playing peekaboo with the mess that is the Deveraux House. I get what Tanksersley Cusick was trying to do, trying for some Southern Gothic YA horror. But it just doesn’t work in the end. The writing was not good and the flow was just awful. I started getting so frustrated I started just skimming at one point. The book feels endless.
And then the ending with the reveal had me going yuck maybe a thousand times. So there’s that.