Title: Pretty Dark Nothing
Author: Heather L. Reid
Release Date: April 23, 2013
ARC provided by NetGalley
The eerie cover attracted me on the spot. I love the colors, the wisps of fog, and the young girl lying on a large tombstone. Intriguing. After reading the blurb, I had to read it. It sounded dark, disturbing, and different. Right up my alley as an avid reader.
Quinn has been seeing demons in her dreams. Nightmares that are described with a superb eeriness by the author. These demons are taunting Quinn and now they are spilling over into her waking hours. And Quinn can no longer tell her dreams from real life.
Quinn's long relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Jeff, is over. Her father has left her and her mother for a younger woman. And people are starting to talk about her in school. She feels lost and abandoned with the exception of her best friend. Now she has been put on probation as captain of the cheer leading squad. And the battles with the demons are worsening each day.
Aaron has a crush on Quinn. But he's afraid to ask her out. And it doesn't help that Quinn hasn't gotten over her ex, Jeff. So he watches from the sidelines, so to speak, and pines away for a girl he will never have. But he cannot stop the pull she seems to have over him and despite his inner arguments that he is better off, he rescues her one night and kisses Quinn. There is a definite spark--a connection.
One beautiful night, Aaron whisks Quinn away on his bike and the two share a romantic moment under the stars. Aaron confides to Quinn his darkest secret--about the night his mother and little sister were killed in a car accident, leaving him 'dying', only to be brought back to life with no memory of his past. Feeling hopeless and desperate, he tries to take his own life, and again, fails to die. He feels that he survived twice for some purpose.
Quinn wants desperately to reach out to Aaron. She can see herself falling in love with this boy. But the demons are not happy that Aaron is in the picture. They torment Quinn, and stop her from telling Aaron her biggest secret--the nightmarish hallucinations that plague her and the demons that won't leave her alone.
From here, the story fell apart for me when Jeff makes an appearance and tries to make amends with Quinn. He wants her back. And Kiersten, Jeff's new girlfriend, has made Quinn's life a living hell. She is determined to keep Jeff and Quinn from reuniting by revealing a huge secret of her own.
Despite the macabre theme that bordered on too-much narration, the romance of Quinn and Aaron fell flat for me. There wasn't a balance of paranormal and romance. Too much time was spent on the dreams, the hallucinations, and the voices that Quinn heard. There wasn't enough development on the relationship. And when you get to the end of the story and see what kind of connection these two actually have--I felt cheated. I wanted more of that story.
And the story only picked back up near the end, when explanations were given as to why Aaron was connected to Quinn. But by then I had lost faith in Quinn and Aaron's relationship. The ending was abrupt and chopped off, leaving a huge cliff hanger that I hope will be resolved in another book.
Overall, Pretty Dark Nothing is heavy on the unearthly but light on the romance.