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  • Mandy McHugh

Small Favors, Erin A. Craig: A Review

Craig has been on my must-read list since her debut HOSAS, so as soon as I saw this title, I clicked request as fast as I could. I mean--that COVER. It's one of my favorite cover reveals of the last few years. I was thrilled to be approved and quickly dove in.

Ellerie Downing has lived in Amity Falls her entire life. It's a small town built on steadfast rules and community, and until a supply run goes horribly wrong, Ellerie never considers that Amity Falls could be anything but what it is. Orderly. Content. Thriving. But that was before the creatures beyond the bells threatened their existence and the world as Ellerie knows it is irrevocably changed. Oh, I loved this book. To start, Craig's writing is meticulously detailed, creating a fully-immersive read in which you will get totally lost. The storytelling is top notch, with rich back stories, anecdotes, town legends, and gossip. Each side character becoming a piece of the larger picture, a seemingly innocuous narrative choice until the strands start weaving together. Then, it's chaos and beauty. Ellerie's voice carries the story, and I found her to be strong, curious, and endearing. I was invested in her goals, in her desire to earn her father's pride and her mother's adoration, in her nurturing relationships with her siblings, but above all, I was invested in her burgeoning love interest--and as someone who doesn't typically gravitate toward these storylines, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. No spoilers, of course, but this was an excellent sub-plot that added layers to both the characters and the conflict. And it was scary. Stripped of all electronics and modern-day preoccupations, we get a community fighting against unseen monsters and each other. We get the metaphor and the reality, an indiscernible evil that manifests in so many small moments that the reading itself is an elongated tension. The imagery here wins, both understated and subtle and a punch-in-the-face. Overall, Small Favors is a chilling, un-put-down-able read that will keep you on your toes until the very last page and then some. It's a story about love and family and coming of age. It's a story about hope and consequences and the monsters that live inside as well as behind you. I'd recommend to fans of atmospheric horror in the vein of The VVitch or M. Night Shyamalan or anyone looking for a strong POV with elements of the supernatural. Big thanks to Delacorte and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

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