Reading a book set near where you live is always a tricky thing which is why I was excited yet nervous to go into The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Griffis.
This was also my first time reading one of Gigi Griffis’ books, too so I had no idea what to expect from it. Additionally, I’m not much for reading YA books anymore so this book had a lot of things going up against it.
Even so, I decided to pick it up because the pitch was so great, and with a book set similar to where I live, I was all over it. Thankfully, it ended up being such an engaging and fun read that I’m still thinking about it.
If you’ve never heard of The Wicked Unseen or are anticipating it, I think you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
The Wicked Unseen by Gigi Griffis tackles all the best horror tropes.
Let’s just talk about the title of this one: The Wicked Unseen is such a great title and it also has a great cover. Set in 1996 in rural Pennsylvania, we meet Audre who is the new girl at school and she’s a bit odd. She has a nose ring, is obsessed with horror movies, and loves to discuss the Occult casually.
To try and make friends, she hosts a bonfire and invites some classmates including David, a friend, and Elle, her crush and the preacher’s daughter. It all comes to a head when Elle invites Audre to a “horror house” hosted by her church. Of course, it’s all based on the identities and things the church doesn’t understand which causes a fight between Audre and Elle.
That same night, Elle comes to Audre’s house to apologize and vanishes the next day. We follow Audre as she enlists David and his sister, Natalia to help her find Elle. Of course, they’re frequently interrupted by Elle’s “fiance” Ryan, and her dad who is obsessed with doing “God’s will” and making sure his town is free of Satantists or demons of any kind.
While I don’t want to get much more into the plot, I really enjoyed Gigi Griffis’ commentary on the satanic panic of the 80s and 90s as this felt like a fresh take on it. She also somehow managed to capture that small-town feel of rural Pennsylvania. Additionally, she talked about a lot of horror movies and even paid homage to a few.
All in all, The Wicked Unseen was such an intense and fast-paced read that I couldn’t put it down as I stayed up until 2 am reading half of it. Eventually, I went to sleep but this book had me captivated. From finding out about Elle’s fate to learning the truth about her father, it was such a gripping conclusion to the story.
Most people wouldn’t call this one a beach read yet I feel like it perfectly embodies a beach read. The Wicked Unseen is so engaging and captivating that I didn’t even blink and I was over halfway into the story. If you’re looking for a new YA horror, this one needs to be on your summer TBR.
Also, make sure to check this out as it already came out on June 20th. We call that an editor flub around here so you can now buy The Wicked Unseen at your favorite bookstore.
Will you be buying The Wicked Unseen when you head to the bookstore? Let us know!