Today I am going to be giving you a spoiler-free review of Haley Newlin’s new release (publication date: January 8th 2020) of Take Your Turn, Teddy. I was lucky enough to receive a physical copy from the author herself in exchange for an honest review. I was also given the opportunity to interview Haley, which will be coming soon to this blog. Furthermore, I got to read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) and provide a testimonial on the back of the book. I feel so lucky and honoured. If you are interested in ordering a copy, please click here. Without further ado, let’s get into the post!
Nothing has been normal for Teddy, not since discovering the harsh identity of the monster he had been living with his whole life…his own father. Teddy and his mother leave that behind to start over in a small Indiana township. But as Teddy begins to learn of humanity’s monsters, he unveils an otherworldly evil he calls “The Shadow.” The Shadow tests Teddy’s vulnerability and growing sense of isolation, poisoning his mind and conjuring a vile killer-in-the-making.
A year later, Officer Leonard Strode is called in to offer consultation on a case similar to the most brutal and scarring of those he’s worked on before. One is the case of Jackie Warren, the other, Theodore “Teddy” Blackwood – two missing children. As he and two other officers follow the trail of clues, Strode is haunted by the ghosts of his own past and horrified to find them wreaking havoc on his present.
When both Teddy and Strode finally meet face-to-face, they must confront their inner darkness as well or else be consumed by it…
To be perfectly honest, this book triggered me in ways I didn’t expect. I grew up with an abusive father very similar to Teddy’s, so reading about the experience from his perspective was very relatable. From the first page, I was protective over the protagonist; his childhood mirroring my own in a lot of ways. However, as the story progressed, I saw less of the innocent boy and more of The Shadow take over. I truly loved the parallel stories of Teddy and Strode. Strode was also a relatable character. We get to witness him processing trauma and grief through horrific hallucinations. I almost felt like he deserved a book of his own. As a woman, I appreciated the diverse characters representing female strength; fighting the oppression of men. We see this in Finch and Teddy’s mother. The Shadow itself was an interesting entity that fed off its vulnerable victims. It was deeply unsettling and unmerciful. I honestly wanted more from all of them!
THE WRITING STYLE
What I loved most about the writing style was the way it was broken up into different parts and timelines. We begin with Teddy’s narrative and a year later, we follow Strode as he attempts to locate the missing children. It felt like a blend of horror and crime/mystery. If I were to describe this novel in one word, it would be: dark. It is heavy; both emotionally and physically. As I mentioned above, it hit close to home but not only that, it made me uncomfortable. Witnessing an innocent child transform into a vicious killer was intense. That is the sign of good writing – when words on paper can make you feel something strongly. I didn’t expect it to go down such a tragic path. It also legitimately terrified me. There is a scene involving Strode and a clown that still haunts me. My only criticism was that I wanted more. I would’ve loved for both Teddy and Strode’s storylines to have been stretched out a bit more. There was definitely room to go further. Other than that, Haley is an excellent writer. She certainly knows how to draw a reader in and leave them speechless.
I gave this 4/5 stars. It held my attention the entire time and left me gasping by the end. I highly recommend it!
My Testimonial – @You’ll Read Too Bookclub
I hope you enjoyed this honest, spoiler-free review. Feel free to order a copy for yourself from the link above.
Thank you for reading
Peace & Love xoxo
Disclaimer: This post contains a link to my Book Depository Affiliate. I am not being paid or sponsored for this post/products – all my thoughts/opinions are my own