Books by State: North Carolina

The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin & Link Neal

“It’s 1992 in Bleak Creek, North Carolina—a sleepy little place with all the trappings of an ordinary Southern town: two Baptist churches, friendly smiles coupled with silent judgments, and an unquenchable appetite for pork products. Beneath the town’s cheerful façade, however, Bleak Creek teens live in constant fear of being sent to the Whitewood School, a local reformatory with a history of putting unruly youths back on the straight and narrow—a record so impeccable that almost everyone is willing to ignore the suspicious deaths that have occurred there over the past decade.

At first, high school freshmen Rex McClendon and Leif Nelson believe what they’ve been told: that the students’ strange demises were all just tragic accidents, the unfortunate consequence of succumbing to vices like Marlboro Lights and Nirvana. But when the shoot for their low-budget horror masterpiece, PolterDog, goes horribly awry—and their best friend, Alicia Boykins, is sent to Whitewood as punishment—Rex and Leif are forced to question everything they know about their unassuming hometown and its cherished school for delinquents.

Eager to rescue their friend, Rex and Leif pair up with recent NYU film school graduate Janine Blitstein to begin piecing together the unsettling truth of the school and its mysterious founder, Wayne Whitewood. What they find will leave them battling an evil beyond their wildest imaginations—one that will shake Bleak Creek to its core.” –Summary from Amazon.

I’ve been a fan of Good Mythical Morning for about 8 years, so of course I had to go with Rhett & Link’s book for North Carolina! Not only is the story often funny (because of course it will be, look who wrote it), but it also is truly suspenseful. These guys really know how to tell a good story and entertain in many different ways.

Nearly everything in the story other than the creepy, cult-like reform school was inspired by or directly mirrored the town, people, and activities that Rhett and Link grew up around. In that sense, it also gives people who love their YouTube channel a glimpse into their youthful years growing up in North Carolina.

In regards to the writing, pacing, and story-line, I found it to be incredibly engrossing and done masterfully. Rex and Leif are as loveable as they are completely out of their depth in this whole debacle. Alicia, Janine, and her cousin Donna (who was a former student at the reform school) are all strong and determined young women that you are constantly rooting for. Working together with a couple other friends in tow, they do their best to turn the town on its head to face what is really going on behind the scenes. But what they are faced with is much more evil than they could have imagined. Something that not everyone can escape from.

Felicia Day described it as “Stranger Things meets the south,” and I would certainly say that is accurate. It does have the same vibes as Stranger Things, so if you enjoyed that show or are fans of Rhett and Link or just love a good suspenseful horror novel, you should definitely check this one out!

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