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Diving Into a Sapphic YA Horror Read: A Review of "A Guide to the Dark" by Meriam Metoui

Updated: Jul 15

A Guide to the Dark book cover shows two girls of Arab descent one on the rigth has an olive green cropped top and orange jeans. Her hair is brown and wavy. The one to her other side has a camera on her hand and long black hair. She's looking longingly at the other girl and is wearing a dark red dress.
A Guide to the Dark Book Cover

Rating: 5/5

"A Guide to the Dark" by Meriam Metoui is a captivating YA horror novel that skillfully explores the themes of grief, guilt, and the intertwining of these emotions. Reminiscent of Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House," this book takes readers on a chilling journey set in a small town in Indiana, where a motel room becomes the epicenter of malevolence.

What sets this book apart is its clever use of multiple narrators, including the room itself. Metoui's genius shines through as the room becomes a unique and sinister voice, taunting the characters while they remain oblivious. The presence of Room 9 as a narrator adds an extra layer of tension, intensifying the already eerie atmosphere.

The story follows best friends, Mira and Layla, each grappling with their own secrets and unspoken desires. Mira yearns to pursue her passion for photography in Chicago, but family expectations hold her back. Meanwhile, Layla embraces her identity as a bisexual individual, navigating the complexities of acceptance. The book skillfully weaves together romantic tension and psychological horror, creating a truly engaging experience.

Metoui's writing delves deep into the complexities of grief and guilt, showcasing how the loss of a loved one leaves an indelible mark on the psyche of those left behind. This is not a mere horror story; it is a layered narrative that explores profound emotions and the lasting impact of death.

If you are a fan of Shirley Jackson's chilling tales or enjoy psychological and paranormal horror, "A Guide to the Dark" is a must-read. With its rich layers and depth, this book offers a captivating blend of suspense, romance, and profound themes. Prepare to be immersed in a story that will linger in your mind long after you've turned the final page.

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