My Dearest Darkest (Paperback)
*Bustle Best Book of March 2022
*Buzzfeed Highly Anticipated YA Novel
*Lambda Literary Most Anticipated LGBTQIA+
*BookRiot Best New Dark Academia YA Book
Wilder Girls meets The Craft in this Sapphic horror debut that asks: what price would you be willing to pay to achieve your deepest desires?
Finch Chamberlin is the newest transfer student to the ultra-competitive Ulalume Academy... but she's also not what she seems. Months before school started, Finch and her parents got into an accident that should have left her dead at the bottom of the river. But something monstrous, and ancient, and terrifying, wouldn't let her drown. Finch doesn't know why she woke up after her heart stopped, but since dying she's felt a constant pull from the school and the surrounding town of Rainwater, like something on the island is calling to her.
Selena St. Clair sees right through Finch, and she knows something is seriously wrong with her. But despite Selena's suspicion, she feels drawn to Finch and has a sinking feeling that from now on the two will be inexplicably linked to one another.
One night Finch, Selena, and her friends accidentally summon a carnivorous creature of immense power in the depths of the school. It promises to grant every desire the girls have kept locked away in their insecure hearts—beauty, power, adoration—in exchange for a price: human body parts. But as the cost of their wanting becomes more deadly, Finch and Selena must learn to work together to stop the horror they unleashed, before it consumes the entire island.
About the Author
Kayla Cottingham is a YA author and librarian. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Kayla lives just outside of Boston where she loves to go hiking in the woods, pet any and all dogs, and play RPGs. She is passionate about connecting young people with books featuring diverse voices so they can see themselves and their communities represented on the page. My Dearest Darkest is her debut novel.
"[A] call back to '90s teen horror movies a la The Craft and The Faculty" — Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Fans of cult-classic film Jennifer's Body and similar scary tropes will revel in Cottingham's atmospheric, spine-tingling horror-romance" — Booklist
"A sweet, queer romance makes this a good option for genre lovers in search of more diverse characters" — Youth Services Book Review
"The tenacity of youth, love, and friendship go to war with the horrors that create nightmares and it really is uncertain who will end up the winner" — Missouri River Regional Library
"Cottingham's debut opens with a gut-wrenching first chapter and doesn't let up, juxtaposing vivid and unsettling horror with Sapphic teenage angst" — Kirkus
"A spine-tingling thrill ride that calls on classic prep school dynamics and eerie gothic imagery" — Publishers Weekly
"Cottingham succeeds in crafting a truly inventive, gruesome horror story that fans of blood and gore will relish" — School Library Journal