Something sweet and wicked
This creepy horror is a perfect pick for the upcoming Halloween season
The Honeys is the story of how Mars is trying to cope with the death of his twin sister. He has always lived in her shadow, especially as the two of them started to hit puberty and his gender-fluidity became less socially acceptable for his politically-connected family. To solve the mystery of what really happened to his sister, he takes her place at the esteemed Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy. He soon discovers there is something more treacherous than hiking trails in the mountains.
From the first page this one was gripping. Honestly, I felt terror in my body reading the start of this book. La Sala does an incredible job of immersing you into the story even when it is completely disarming. The reader arriving right at the moment when Mars awakes to the attack from his sister creates immediate empathy for what Mars must have been feeling waking up groggy and confused.
Across the tale, La Sala does an incredible job of driving empathy for the characters and immersing you into their emotional state. Mars' grief of losing his sister is so real. His internal monologue or side conversations with his sister are indicative of anyone who is processing losing a close loved one. To say that the characterization is incredibly haunting would be an understatement.
Death isn’t the end of a life, but the division of it. When someone dies, their soul scatters into all the things they’ve ever given away. Love. Bruises. Gifts. You struggle to piece together what’s left—even the things that hurt—just to feel haunted.
Not only does he nail some of the big emotional moments, but La Sala also takes a lot of care of the small things. All of the details about the bees and the analogy to other characters creating their own hives is really well done.
The cabin is small and lively but the girls move among one another in a way that feels cohesive. I realize it reminds me of the bees among their comb.
There is a point between the dynamic opening and the incredible race to the finish that is the third act of this story that it starts to lull and drag. In the end, that time spend acclimating to camp ends up coming back around and finding value in the greater story, but in the moment it feels slow.
I will also say, that there is a sort of Riverdale aspect of the whole book. If this was a TV show, it would definitely show on The CW. Personally, that wasn't a problem for me. I was more than willing to accept the Riverdale of it all, but if that's not your thing proceed with caution. There are some things that don't fully make sense and a lot of the magic around the bees isn't fully explained. I didn't find that I needed it to be to be entertained, but to each their own.
Overall, this one was a big win for me. It's a lot of what I wanted Mexican Gothic to be, but that ended up weird and with a lot of plot holes. I found the book easy to read and thoroughly entertaining. I appreciated Mars' perspective being different from my general default, however this is not "great literature". If you're looking for something easy and spooky for Halloween season, check it out.
In the infinite eyes of everything, the present is nothing more than an intersection made out of space and time and—most important of all—intention.