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:: Spine-chilling stories are not always about evil witches or paranormal activity. In this anthology, readers are shown one of the most uncomfortable sides of human nature—keeping secrets and telling lies.

WICKED SOUTH: SECRETS AND LIES: STORIES FOR YOUNG ADULTS was the first Young Adult title we published a Blue Crow Books, back in fall of 2018. Since then, we’ve published many more YA titles: the award-winning novel THE BOND (2018), ONE WEEK OF YOU (2019), and we’ve signed the SEVEN SINS trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Emily Colin. In this post, Tamiya Anderson, our intern at Blue Crow, reviews WICKED SOUTH for our blog. 


Short stories tend to be sharp—their compression allows them to offer swift impact. The stories in Wicked South: Secrets and Lies are no exception. Throughout this collection of short stories, editors and contributors Katie Rose Guest Pryal and Emily Colin have proven that spine-chilling stories are not always about evil witches or paranormal activity. In this anthology, readers are shown one of the most uncomfortable sides of human nature—keeping secrets and telling lies.

All varied in subject matter, from romance to mysterious adventures, the stories below from Wicked South: Secrets and Lies are ones I have enjoyed, and I believe you will too. But don’t forget, there are also six other stories, too, each equally compelling.

Lauren Faulkenberry, “Girl in Pieces”

Sisters Maggie and Kylie have a deeply strained relationship. The reason for this—without giving away any spoilers—is rooted in a jaw-dropping secret kept between the two of them. Maggie, the younger and more reserved sister, has trouble dealing with her selfish, risk-taking older sister, Kylie. Doing everything not to let Kylie get under her skin—after a near-death accident (okay, maybe that’s a spoiler)—Maggie takes a summer job at a mannequin production factory. Complying with their ill mother, Maggie gets Kylie a job at the factory as well. As Kylie’s hunger for attention leads her to openly flirt with Maggie’s crush, an explosive fight ensues. Maggie must soon face the reality of her past and mend the broken relationship with her sister in order to steer her life in a better direction.

Chances are if you love Faulkenberry’s full-length novels, you will adore Girl in Pieces. In this story, creeping dread and inexorable romance are the blueprints for a much more complex narrative. The story ends with a thread of hope that shows power of forgiveness—leaving you to wish that there was just one more page to turn.

“Girl in Pieces” gives readers vivid characters and shows the importance of making peace with the past.

Amy Hyatt Fonseca, “A Thousand Holes”

Alma’s life is turned upside down whenever her father comes home. Ever since her mother’s death, Alma’s father has transformed into an abusive, drug-addicted monster. Her grandmother taught Alma a coping mechanism: Alma digs holes. Deep holes. In these holes, Alma hides the things that matter most—the shiny silver locket her mother gave her when she turned six, her grandmother’s pain medication (which her addict father has been stealing), and most importantly, her sanity.

While she battles fears of her father’s return, Alma’s friend, Violet, comforts her and stands by her side. A story ending with a powerful twist, A Thousand Holes tackles the fear, trepidation, and anxiety that accompany a stomach-turning relationship between a daughter and her abusive father. Readers will admire Alma’s bravery and the story’s gripping suspense.

Katie Rose Guest Pryal, ALEX AND LORA (novella)

Lora and her younger sister Freya are jolted into a supernatural world by the discovery of two mystical rocks. With newly discovered powers and the guidance of their neighbor Mrs. Lee, Lora and Freya learn the hidden secrets behind a world they never knew existed. Sucked into a world-saving adventure, Lora and Freya join Alex, their handsome, but rude, helper. As the three embark on their adventure, Lora is unable to conceal her secret feelings for Alex (literally, as they both have mind-reading powers). When their journey comes to an end, all appears well. But soon, Lora and Freya are forced to make a difficult choice that will determine the course of their future.

Alex and Lora is a spellbinding novella. The journey of Lora, Freya, and Alex is one of magic, adventure, and forbidden love, a journey that will have you captivated from beginning to end. Best of all, Pryal has revealed that the first full-length novel in the Earthkeeper Series is coming soon.

With heart-wrenching romance and unending thrills, this story will have you on the edge of your seat waiting for what comes next. Be sure to follow the author on Instagram or sign up for her author newsletter for the latest updates.

Get your copy of WICKED SOUTH: SECRETS AND LIES now.