Review: The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

Posted October 14, 2022 by Angie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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Review: The Honeys by Ryan La SalaThe Honeys by Ryan La Sala
Published by Scholastic Press on August 16, 2022
Genres: Contemporary, Horror, Young Adult Fiction
Format: eBook (341 pages)
Source: Library
Purchase: AmazonIndieBound
Add Book: GoodreadsBookhype

From Ryan La Sala, the wildly popular author of Reverie, comes a twisted and tantalizing horror novel set amidst the bucolic splendor of a secluded summer retreat.

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline's radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who'd grown tragically distant.

Mars's genderfluidity means he's often excluded from the traditions—and expectations—of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister's old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying—and Mars is certain they're connected to Caroline's death.

But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can't find it soon, it will eat him alive.

two-stars

Proceed With Caution:

This book contains death, murder, bullying, transphobia, homophobia, blood, and grief.

The Basics:

The Honeys is narrated by seventeen-year-old Mars, whose twin has just died after attacking him in his sleep. Caroline had been away at a summer camp for rich teens, but she returns different. After her funeral, Mars decides to return to this camp himself and try to learn what happened to her during that final summer. There he’s pulled into the mystical world of the most envied girls at Aspen.

My Thoughts:

I honestly had no idea what to expect going into The Honeys. I just know I adored the authors previous book, Be Dazzled, and need more queer reads! Plus this sounded super weird and kind of eerie and like these girls were possible part of some kind of summer camp cult for rich people. I don’t know. I just know that cover is gorgeous and I was drawn to it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me.

The Honeys is one of those books that makes me feel stupid. I simply didn’t understand anything going on. I couldn’t predict where the story was going. Even when all was revealed, I was left utterly confused. Trying to figure out how everything fit together looking back was making my head spin. I just don’t get it! Was any of it real?! Is this supernatural?! Was some of it all in Mars’ head?! Are they on drugs?! Somebody tell me!

Other than being confusing, I was also kind of not that interested in Mars. I was eager to read about a genderfluid character navigating this super binary elite camp. But he was kind of boring? Mars is bullied, as was expected, but I did love how he stands up for himself. However, his genderfluidity was all we really know about him. His whole personality was being genderfluid and Caroline’s twin. I wanted more!

I did really love the idea of the Honeys (the actual characters, I mean). They’re these girls who stay in a cabin that’s pretty isolated from the rest of the camp. They take care of the bees. Everyone wants to be them or with them or are intimidated by them. Every scene with them felt kind of surreal, like everything was just a bit too bright and perfect. I had to know more! But once I learned more, I wasn’t interested anymore, because like I said, I was confused.

The Honeys has a great premise, but it felt messy and convoluted to me. And when it wasn’t confusing, it was boring. I just don’t know what to think about it really. I can’t say it’s bad, because I don’t think it was. But I know it wasn’t the book for me.

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