Quinn had the perfect life. Cheerleading captain, star pupil, the perfect boyfriend…she had everything. But now it’s all falling apart. Her boyfriend dumped her for another girl, her grades are slipping and she’s been replaced as cheerleading captain and suspended from the squad. She hasn’t slept for more than minutes at a time for weeks, and when she inevitably succumbs she has to face the demons that have invaded her dreams and ruined her life.
Aaron has always been drawn to Quinn. He’s never quite felt himself after the car accident that killed his mother and sister and left him with no memory of his life, but his love for Quinn is one thing he’s always been sure of. Somehow, he’s there when she needs him, knows just what to say and do to make her feel better.
But how can she love him when, despite everything, her heart still belongs to Jeff? How can she trust him with her secrets without pushing him away, when the demons in her mind will do anything to keep them apart?
When I first read the summary for this book, I did wonder if it would be too Quinn/Aaron centric for me to enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good love story as much as the next person, but I do have a tendency to pull away from books where that love story is absolutely central to the plot. Because of that it did take me a teeny bit longer than usual to get into the story. But. Ms Reid I take my hat off to you because – no joke – the first thing I did after I finished was try and find out when the next book is out.
Yes, Quinn and Aaron are obviously up front and centre throughout the entire story. Yes, there are several charmingly awesome secondary characters, but they are secondary. I think the demons and the story behind them will grow into the star attraction in books to come, they just haven’t got there yet. So no, if you like your romance to be second fiddle then this isn’t the book for you. If you want your books to be sweeping, epic fantasy on the scale of Middle Earth and Narnia then perhaps you’d rather give this a miss.
If you like stories where you really get to know the characters to the point where your heart actually aches for them, where when you’re not reading about what’s happening to them you’re thinking about it, where you really wish you could just walk up to them and give them a hug and where you’re trying to work out how to get them out of whatever pickle instead of doing your work…then this is the book for you.
One reason I hesitated slightly is because it is entirely based in the ‘real’ world, but in the end that was actually one of the things I loved most about it. The reason I felt so invested in what was going on with Quinn was because you could actually envisage this all happening. Ok, maybe not the demons invading your dreams bit, but definitely what happens to her life because of that. And since Quinn has no idea what’s happening to her, neither does the reader. There’s a fine line between leaving the reader asking too many questions for too long and keeping the suspense exciting. But while there were a few times when Pretty Dark Nothing came a bit too close to crossing it, I for one will be keeping my eyes peeled for round two.