Title: Smoke and Key
Author: Kelsey Sutton
Genre: YA Supernatural
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Finished copy received from publisher which did not influence my opinion
My rating: 3 stars
“Full of dark mystery and unexpected twists.” —Meg Kassel, author of Keeper of the Bees
A sound awakens her. There’s darkness all around. And then she’s falling…
has no idea who or where she is. Or why she’s dead. The only clue to
her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she
and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had
when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and
secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in
order to escape it.
She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon
seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence
hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn’t utter a word.
There’s Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living.
And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key’s instincts tell
her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can’t
Then the murders start. Bodies that are burned to a
crisp. And after being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out
of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to
kill to keep hidden—before she loses her life for good…
Purchase links can be found HERE.
So, honestly even though it started with what was supposed to be a pretty exciting or sudden frightening event, I felt as if it started a bit slow for me. It took a bit to get in. A third of the way through it did pick up, and I became invested in the characters and what was happening. As I continued to read I started thinking of what might be the twist. While I thought I knew what it might be, the author definitely kept me guessing till the end with the true motivations. There was at least one twist I did not see coming, even as who certain characters were fell into place, one or two still were surprises when I found out who they had been in the world before. While I get who and why all of this happened, I feel like the twists and turns made it harder for me to believe exactly how it all went down. It was original in how it ended and its overall plot, but I wouldn’t put it as a top read of mine for the year. However it did keep my attention for the most part, and had some good moments and interesting character development, it maybe be more for you than it was for me.
your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you
start? Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants
writing)? If you plan it out, how do you do that? Outline, notecards,
story, I have a general idea of where I want it to go. The big scenes are
fairly clear in my head—the beginning, the climax, the final scene. Those are
what I write first, so I know what I’m aiming for. Then… yeah, the rest is
pretty much winging it! Haha.
go, or wait till you’re finished before you edit? How many times would
you say you go over it yourself before having another set of eyes look it over?
go when it comes to sentence structure, word choice, etc. But I save the big
stuff—plot, character development, timeline consistency—for later.
of a writer’s group that gets together and helps each other with their writing?
been difficult for me to both find a group and also carve a spot out of my
insane schedule that matches up with meeting times. NaNoWriMo is about as close
as I’ve gotten to a regular, consistent group.
come up with your ideas for your stories?
each one, really, but I always begin with a half-formed concept. For example,
with SOME QUIET PLACE, it was emotions as physical beings. I’d typed something
totally cliché, like, “Fear rooted me in place.”
and wondered how I could make this utterly unique from other moments consumed
by fear. Somehow, that fear became a tall, blonde, snarky creature that roams
the earth and instills terror into every human being simply by touch. It became
Fear, who is now one of my favorite characters.
idea I asked myself questions that lead this concept to becoming a story. Who
is the main character? What makes her different from all these people the
emotions see every day? What is the main conflict? How do the emotions play
you have for aspiring writers?
biggest piece of advice has been the lesson I only recently learned
myself—write your book like it’s never going to be published. Like no one else
but you is ever going to read it. There was a long period for me in which my
writing was more difficult and felt less sincere to my readers because I was
doing exactly that. It added so much pressure to the work, and this is a
process that doesn’t need any more pressure. Writers are already hard on
themselves. In the beginning, the story should be purely yours and what you
want for it.
having me, Lisa. These are wonderful questions. Happy reading!
About the Author:
Sutton is a young adult and middle grade author. She lives in Minnesota, where
she received a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from
Bemidji State University. She will soon have a master’s degree from Hamline
University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an
IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013.
When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix, ordering a
mocha at the nearest coffee shop, or browsing a bookstore.
You can visit her
online at www.kelseysuttonbooks.com, like her on Facebook, and
follow her on Twitter or Instagram.
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