Clay Boy Review
Special thanks to NetGalley and Brigids Gate Press for the ARC copy they provided.
One thing I will say for Clay Boy, this book… it made me sit down and lay out a format for my personal reasoning behind star reviews. Until this point, I had been going off a more arbitrary gut feeling about a book, but after reading a little over half of Clay Boy I wrote down a set format to determine why I rate a book the way I do.
Unfortunately, Clay Boy will be my first ever two star review, based on the criteria that I had trouble reading this book, due to the blatant developmental and copy editing issues that got in the way of my enjoyment of the story, and made the book hard for me to read.
I managed to read roughly 62% of Clay Boy before realizing the basic level of storyline and plot development, not to mention the constant and consistent tendency of the author to just say what a character was feeling, instead of showing their emotion through actions and dialogue, were killing my enjoyment of what would otherwise be a fine, and rather classic, horror story.
Clay Boy is, at its heart, everything lovers of 80’s horror movies crave, all unabashedly tossed together in a wonderfully greedy miss-mash. That element of the book I loved, and it is what kept me reading for as long as I did. Nostalgia and a classic feel go a long way and set a marvelous tone. However, that tone was the only thing I felt this book had going for it.
The story, the base plot of the book was there, but not well executed. The characters felt wooden and unreal, emotionless. They all acted, in general, the same, making age distinctions hard to identify. Adults were, well, “adultish,” but the pre-teen characters acted the same as the teenagers closer to graduation, and they all felt childish. Motivations were also unclear, and oftentimes stated rather than demonstrated through story development.
Story development… was… basic. Near the 62% mark, where I stopped reading and started skimming, just so I could figure out how the plot was resolved, a teen was discovered to have a gun in his glove box. His reasoning for acquiring said illegal item, as well as how he got it without adult assistance, weren’t well defined. There was the implication that the character wanted/needed the gun to defend himself from kids supposedly younger than himself, which made no sense to me, and tied into my frustration at not receiving cues to characters’ ages and maturity levels.
In short, Clay Boy just did not jive with me. I come from a reading/writing background where story development and clear language are king, and I just didn’t find those elements in this book. Given, the copy of Clay Boy I read is an ARC, and many, or all, of these noted issues could be corrected before Clay Boy hits shelves. I do not know, and I won’t be finding out as I have no inclination to read this book again.
If you’re looking for a spooky story you don’t have to think hard about, with some 80’s aesthetic thrown in, Clay Boy might just be the book for you. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the book for me.