"The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek" by Rhett McLaughlin & Link Neal

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

" It's 1992 in Bleak Creek, North Carolina- - - a sleepy little place with all the trappings of an ordinary Southern town: two Baptist churches, friendly smiles coupled with silent judgments, and an unquenchable appetite for pork products. Beneath the town's cheerful facade, however, Bleak Creek teens live in constant fear of being sent to the Whitewood School, a local reformatory with a history of putting unruly youths back on the straight and narrow- - - a record so impeccable that almost everyone is willing to ignore the suspicious deaths that have occurred there over the past decade. At first, high school freshmen Rex McClendon and Leif Nelson believe what they've been told: that the students' strange demises were all just tragic accidents, the unfortunate consequence of succumbing to vices like Marlboro Lights and Nirvana. But when the shoot for their low-budget horror masterpiece, PolterDog, goes horribly awry - - -and their best friend, Alicia Boykins, is sent to Whitewood as punishment- - - Rex and Leif are forced to question everything they know about their unassuming hometown and its cherished school for delinquents. Eager to to rescue their friend, Rex and Leif pair up with recent NYU film school graduate Janine Blitstein to begin piecing together the unsettling truth of the school and its mysterious founder, Wayne Whitewood. What they find will leave them battling an evil beyond their wildest imgainations- - - one that will shake Bleak Creek to its core. "

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If your best friend was sent away to a reform school, what would you do? You'd either let them do their 'time,' or you would come up with a plan to help them escape, and with a pinch of the supernatural, this is what 'The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek' is all about.

When you read this novel by two of the most well-known YouTube personalities (Rhett and Link of Good Mythical Morning), be sure you have plenty of time to spare because this is a book you won't want to put down. The novel follows three best friends of a small town in North Carolina in the early 1990's, when one of them gets sent to a infamous reform school for an accident, they start to uncover mysterious deaths that have taken place there, and begin to fear that their friend is going to be a victim of one.

In 'The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek,' the main characters, Rex, Leif and Alicia, make their debut at a pig roasting to raise funds for a church, whose copper organ pipes had been stolen days before. It's here we learn that the three are making a film called PolterDog, which leads to Alicia getting sent away after a near-deadly accident with the owner and headmaster of the local Whitewood Reform School.

Soon after, Rex and Leif run into an escapee from the school (Ben), who tells them that their friend's life is in danger while she's at Whitewood. While the three come up with a plan to rescue Alicia, a woman who's visiting the town of Bleak Creek, who is trying to film a documentary about kidney stones, becomes a valuable part of their rescue mission.

Not only do we get to see from Rex and Leif's point of view, but we also get to see from inside the Whitewood Reform School from Alicia's view. This view point is much needed to help readers experience the abuse that goes on inside the school (and to realize that Ben was telling the truth) and also to help readers root for the main characters' success in their rescue mission. Even though the majority of the story is the main characters getting everything together for this mission, the writing was done so well that all of it makes sense leading up to the end.

To not give too much away about this book, I have to cut my review short of it. The writing is really good, with the pace continuously keeping the reader going and wanting more.This story also encompasses everything that makes a great novel: best friends trying to save another, small town mysteries, well-placed humor and murder. I found all of the characters likable, and the situations they found themselves in made complete sense in the story. This will be one that readers can pick up more than once and enjoy it each time they read it. As a horror book, this story is high on my scale with scenarios happening that I couldn't see coming.

I highly recommend this book for people who loved Netflix's Stranger Things (which you can check out my review of three of the book spin offs here , here and here), or if you are a fan of the authors' YouTube series, Good Mythical Morning.

- Hadley

My rating:


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