Thursday, October 27, 2022

Today's read... Creep: A Love Story by Lygia Day Penaflor

 Nothing screams Halloweeny like chills and thrills, and today's read should bring lots of these. I'd say more, but it's probably best to just dive in.

by Lygia Day Penaflor
Clarion Books
272 pages

You meets To All the Boys I've Loved Before in this twisted, tragic love story that follows Holy Family High School's cutest couple--as told through the eyes of the classmate who's stalking them.

Laney Villanueva and Nico Fiore are the perfect couple: beautiful, popular, talented, and hopelessly in love. Everyone looks up to them at Holy Family High School.

But Rafi doesn't just admire them. She watches them. She's drawn to them.

Intent on becoming their closest friend, Rafi weaves her way into their lives. She starts small: taking photos of the senior class for the yearbook, joining Laney's club, and babysitting Nico's little sister. And it works--soon they invite her to parties, take her on joyrides, and ask her for favors. Rafi's actions quickly turn invasive, delving deeper and deeper until she's consumed by their most intimate secrets.

When tragedy strikes the young lovers, Rafi's obsession spirals, and she will do anything to keep the perfect couple together. Anything . . .



Playing right along the lines of high school drama, this tale takes a step into the disturbing direction and leads down a chilling path.

Rafi is amazed at how perfect the high school's cutest Senior couple is, and she holds nothing but the highest regard for both of them. Determined to bask in their glory every moment she can, she finds ways to weave into their lives and become friends. First, she joins yearbook and makes sure that she's in charge of all Senior photos. Then, she joins the same clubs. With each opportunity, more doors are open to her, and soon, she's right there with least, until the two love-birds part. It's more than Rafi can stand, and she's going to do anything to keep them together.

This book fulfills the title completely. It's creepy, but not completely in the way I expected. Everything plays from Rafi's point of view. The reader dives deep into her head, watches the high school couple through her eyes, and is exposed to her every thought. It's clear right away that she's obsessive in a very unhealthy way. She knows it, embraces it, and follows her urges with full heart and no apologies. It is creepy to get to know Rafi and unsettling to watch her grow closer to the pair, move by move. Her thoughts are well laid, and her plan logical, even as it sends discomfort into overdrive. And worse, yet, there are times where it's hard not to feel sorry for her and wish they could become good friends. It's a tight weaving and well done.

Unlike many thrillers, violence isn't the main drive, but rather, the psychology...which isn't any less dark. Rafi's true intentions are also never hidden, and what surprised me, is that this tendency isn't even unknown to some around her. Here's where I do wish there had been a bit more, since is missing history surrounding a friend and an earlier teacher. 

Thriller fans, who love diving into high school drama, are going to want to take a peek at this one, since it does fulfill the promise its title makes. This one is creepy.

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