ARC Review: This Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham

Posted April 22, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review:  This Delicious Death by Kayla CottinghamThis Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on April 25, 2023
Genres: YA Horror, YA LGBTQ
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: four-half-stars
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Four best friends, one music festival, and a cooler filled with human organs: this summer is about to get gory. ​​​

Jennifer’s Body fans will clamor for this new sapphic horror standalone from New York Times bestselling author Kayla Cottingham.

Three years ago, the melting of arctic permafrost released a pathogen of unknown origin into the atmosphere, causing a small percentage of people to undergo a transformation that became known as the Hollowing. Those impacted slowly became intolerant to normal food and were only able to gain sustenance by consuming the flesh of other human beings. Those who went without flesh quickly became feral, turning on their friends and family. However, scientists were able to create a synthetic version of human meat that would satisfy the hunger of those impacted by the Hollowing. As a result, humanity slowly began to return to normal, albeit with lasting fear and distrust for the people they’d pejoratively dubbed ghouls.

Zoey, Celeste, Valeria, and Jasmine are all ghouls living in Southern California. As a last hurrah before their graduation they decided to attend a musical festival in the desert. They have a cooler filled with hard seltzers and SynFlesh and are ready to party.

But on the first night of the festival Val goes feral, and ends up killing and eating a boy. As other festival guests start disappearing around them the girls soon discover someone is drugging ghouls and making them feral. And if they can’t figure out how to stop it, and soon, no one at the festival is safe.

My Review

So, I was extremely glad I gave this author a second chance after I did DNF her first book, because I really liked this one a lot! As much as I do enjoy a good zombie movie, zombie books aren’t always my favorites, or I do prefer a little extra with them to keep my interested. And this one had some definite uniqueness and such a fun take on what if zombies weren’t actually undead, but just people who had only a taste for human flesh now. I mean I guess that is kind of just cannibalism in one way. But it was more than that because these zombies also transformed their bodies when they ate, mouths and jaws unhinging and opening really wide, claws on their hands and feet, lots of physical changes similar to maybe more of a werewolf type of monster in some ways.

The whole illness/pandemic that started the new order of things was called The Hollowing, and I liked how it was woven throughout the story instead of just a bit at the beginning. Almost every chapter began with a flashback for one of the main four characters, except for a few at the end with more recent outside story details. I liked that even though the story was told from Zoey’s viewpoint for the most part, we got our little inside information on each of the other girls with these chapter starters.

The blurb talks about how the people like Zoey and her friends, or ghouls as most people call them, are being targeted at this festival. And while that is basically a part of what was going on, the book went in a lot different way than I expected from that bit of the blurb. The representation of LGBTQ characters in this story was really good in my opinion, but was also done in a way that it wasn’t necessarily made the focus point of the story like it sometimes ends up being. I like reading when that’s just the people and who they are and while it obviously feeds into where romance and other things might go, it isn’t brought out in a way that feels awkward or added on.

So I’m pleased to say that I really really enjoyed this one and will definitely be continuing to give this author a chance in the future!

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2 responses to “ARC Review: This Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham

    • Lisa Mandina

      I agree! I think there might have been a trans social media influencer in the Lord of the Fly Fest by Goldy Moldavsky maybe? Can’t remember for sure.

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