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The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek

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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 a seemingly 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 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 a seemingly 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 record of putting unruly teens back on the straight and narrow—a record so impeccable that almost everyone is willing to ignore the mysterious 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 tragic accidents. But when the shoot for their low-budget horror masterpiece, PolterDog, goes horribly awry—and their best friend, Candice 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 grad Janine Blitstein to begin piecing together the unsettling truth of the school and its mysterious founder, Wayne Whitewood. What they find, with Candice’s life hanging in the balance, will leave them battling an evil beyond their wildest teenage imaginations—one that will shake Bleak Creek to its core.


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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 a seemingly 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 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 a seemingly 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 record of putting unruly teens back on the straight and narrow—a record so impeccable that almost everyone is willing to ignore the mysterious 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 tragic accidents. But when the shoot for their low-budget horror masterpiece, PolterDog, goes horribly awry—and their best friend, Candice 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 grad Janine Blitstein to begin piecing together the unsettling truth of the school and its mysterious founder, Wayne Whitewood. What they find, with Candice’s life hanging in the balance, will leave them battling an evil beyond their wildest teenage imaginations—one that will shake Bleak Creek to its core.

30 review for The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek

  1. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    I have read my way through 315 books to bring you my Top 10 Books of the Year (video) . Now you know that this one made the cut, check out my video review to see the others! "I'm not used to people thinking I'm a bad kid. It's kind of exhilarating." "...I feel like I'm being judged. And punished with tomatoes." Rex McClendon and Leif Nelson are best friends (along with Alicia Boykins) in their small town of Bleak Creek. The three of them literally do everything together I have read my way through 315 books to bring you my Top 10 Books of the Year (video) . Now you know that this one made the cut, check out my video review to see the others! "I'm not used to people thinking I'm a bad kid. It's kind of exhilarating." "...I feel like I'm being judged. And punished with tomatoes." Rex McClendon and Leif Nelson are best friends (along with Alicia Boykins) in their small town of Bleak Creek. The three of them literally do everything together and their latest project - PolterDog - is sure to be a hit at the local film festival. However, while filming a vital scene, a series of unfortunate events (involving (but not limited to) a bacon belt, a crazed Tucker, an organ fundraiser, two baptist preachers duking it out and a pig roast) results in Alicia taking the fall for all of them. "They're taking her to the Whitewood School," Leif said. Whitewood, the local reform school, is praised by any and all adults living in Bleak Creek... No one exactly knows what goes on in the school but there are rumors...dark rumors floating about the school. People go in one way and come out completely different. Rex and Leif need to get their friend out, but how? No one believes them and even if they did, no one is going to go against such a fine, upstanding community school. No one's escaped unscathed, but Alicia is determined to be the first. She was no Princess Peach, trapped in a castle hoping that two plumbers were coming to save her. She will not let this place break her. She will not fall. She will not - For the first time since arriving at the Whitewood School, it hit her: She could die here. I have a confession. The ARC (advanced readers copy) arrived in the mail...and I finished it same-day. I couldn't help myself. It was that good. I had so many expectations going into this book and every last one of them was exceeded. I feel like making that cross-media leap can be difficult for most (if not all) celebrities but Rhett and Link write as if they have been authors all their lives. I was extremely impressed by the humor, the plot, the characters - essentially everything in this book - and was wholly entertained from cover-to-cover. First and foremost, I absolutely adored the humor. Humor is arguably one of the better-known qualities from Rhett and Link's YouTube careers and it absolutely shines in this book. There were so many little details that wove in and out of the book, playing upon each other and returning again and again for further hilarity. I don't want to give too much away, but one thing that I loved was the rivalry between the local churches. The entire book could have been about that and I would say that there wasn't enough church-on-church competition! ...the red-brick First Baptist Church with its towering steeple, less than fifty yards from the light brown brick Second Baptist Church with its slightly taller steeple.... And Rex's scootering leg! Oh my gosh. I could not handle that. Rex barreled down the blacktop...his scooter leg bouncing off the pavement, propelling him at a fraction of the speed of a bicycle." In addition, there were so many side characters with quirky personalities scattered throughout the book that truly made it memorable."Can you just...Can you just speed up a little? Try and lose 'em?" "For you, Neenie? Anything." GamGam pressed down on the gas, and Janine's head was thrust back... A lot of the humor relied on slow builds and reoccurring bits, so it was a bit hard to find the perfect quote to sum it up, but honestly, that made them all the more enjoyable (though, for the record, we definitely needed more mortician-dad and pig-roasting envy!) When I talked with the authors about their choice of names (Rex and Leif, opposed to Rhett and Link), they admitted that the first few drafts really did use their real names but eventually it felt too self-indulgent (and a bit awkward). They felt like they couldn't truly manipulate the world of Bleak Creek if they kept things so close to the truth. So, Rhett and Link changed their main character's names to create some distance between the novel and their real-selves. As a semi-professional reviewer and fully professional reader, I definitely appreciated that choice. If they had gone full Rhett-and-Link in these pages, that would take away some of the stand-alone qualities of the book. That's not to say that the duo didn't include things from their real lives. They kept a lot of their personality quirks but exaggerated them for the book (or explored them from a new direction). And there were a few key moments from their lives that were kept the same, such as how they both had their first crush on the same girl:Rex also had a crush on Alicia. As of a day ago. This was a painfully unfair turn of events. But overall, by creating that distance between themselves and their characters allowed for them to take the event, fictionalize it and then run with it. There were a few aspects in the book that needed a smidge of polishing - the ending felt a bit abrupt. There was so much building, and building, and building...and then BOOM, over. I wanted more! And there were a few of the earlier interactions with the "Whitewood School Graduates" that could have been a bit more polished but it wasn't so major that I was taken out of the book. But that being said, this is an ARC and will likely be smoothed by the time this book hits the press and those "issues" (if I could even call them that) were so minor in comparison to my enjoyment of this book that I honestly barely noticed. All-in-all, one of the best things about this book is that it is good enough to stand on its own two feet (pages?). The plot was fresh and exciting, the world building was strong and hilarious, and the characters were extremely well-fleshed out. This is truly the best book I've read all year! And...that ending...oh wow. I can truly say that I never saw it coming and that I cannot stop hoping for a second book - I'm keeping my fingers crossed. An absolutely unbelievably huge thanks to the authors (Rhett McLaughlin & Link Neal), Jenna Purdy, Brian Flanagan and the publishers at Crown for sending me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review - and for allowing me to talk to Rhett and Link about their latest literary adventure! All quotes come from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads Happy Reading!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    Will it Novel? YES!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    How do you know you’re old and out of touch? When you read other GR reviews and everyone talks about how they love the two authors and you have no clue who they are. Anyway, this book had a pretty high GR rating, so I decided to take a chance. The book started off slow. It jumped around a lot. The characters never seemed real, despite being based on the authors’ youth. It’s meant to be darkly comic. I didn’t see it. I listened to this book. I wasn’t enthralled by the narrator which didn’t help. How do you know you’re old and out of touch? When you read other GR reviews and everyone talks about how they love the two authors and you have no clue who they are. Anyway, this book had a pretty high GR rating, so I decided to take a chance. The book started off slow. It jumped around a lot. The characters never seemed real, despite being based on the authors’ youth. It’s meant to be darkly comic. I didn’t see it. I listened to this book. I wasn’t enthralled by the narrator which didn’t help. So, after about 2 hours, I gave up and DNF.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    Many thanks to Crown for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review okay... so.... I DNF-ed this book way back in October of 2019 (I don't remember when... Oops) but I kept telling myself I'd finish it but after trying multiple times and even getting the audio from Audible, I'm just not feeling this. And so, I'll just share what worked and what didn't. Please note, this is from the perspective of someone who didn't finish the book and doesn't know how it ended. What worked: ➵ Creepy, eerie Many thanks to Crown for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review okay... so.... I DNF-ed this book way back in October of 2019 (I don't remember when... Oops) but I kept telling myself I'd finish it but after trying multiple times and even getting the audio from Audible, I'm just not feeling this. And so, I'll just share what worked and what didn't. Please note, this is from the perspective of someone who didn't finish the book and doesn't know how it ended. What worked: ➵ Creepy, eerie - This book was very spooky in a small-town, hidden-secrets-all-around way which I loved. ➵ Character chemistry - I really loved the chemistry between Rex and Leif and Alicia (Apparently, she's been renamed Candice for some reason?) It all felt very real and made me flash back to middle school when things were simple for lil Tucker. ➵ Mysterious Benedict Society - This book reminded me SO much of the Mysteries Benedict Society (which I loved, by the way) and I really loved that. It was almost enough to keep me hooked. What didn't work: ➵ Childish-ness - This book is marked on Goodreads and marketed as YA. The problem—for me, that is—is that it does not feel like a YA novel at all. Mostly, the characters. They had the maturity and behavior of middle schoolers. I really wish the authors had aged down the characters a bit. They could have kept everything else the same and it would have worked so much better. Unfortunately, I just couldn't help but be slightly annoyed by the immaturity of the characters. ➵ Mysterious Benedict Society - I said this aspect was positive and it was. But it was also negative (If that makes sense). While I was pleasantly reminded of a great series while reading this book, I also couldn't kick the feeling of "I've read this before". Obviously, I'm not accusing the authors of stealing the idea. It was just SO similar that it was hard to not feel like I wasn't reading a copy. Overall, I am very conflicted about this book. There were things I liked and things I didn't. I recommend giving it a try because you might like it more than I did. ********** I am temporarily dnf-ing this. I'm just not feeling it right now. And rather than forcing myself to read it and thus not enjoying it, I'm gonna wait a bit. ********** hmmmmmm celebrities + trying to write a book = disaster BUT 1/10 celebrity books are good. so | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram

  5. 5 out of 5

    ☠Kayla☠

    This book is very hard for me to rate, on one hand I love Rhett and Link, they're so talented and funny and I really enjoy their content on there youtube channels. But on the other? The book was ok. I loved the story line! It was very interesting and had me fully engaged the whole time wanting to find out more and more. Sadly though the writing style was a bit of an all over the place mess. There were times I felt like I was reading a book specifically for a very young child and times it felt li This book is very hard for me to rate, on one hand I love Rhett and Link, they're so talented and funny and I really enjoy their content on there youtube channels. But on the other? The book was ok. I loved the story line! It was very interesting and had me fully engaged the whole time wanting to find out more and more. Sadly though the writing style was a bit of an all over the place mess. There were times I felt like I was reading a book specifically for a very young child and times it felt like I was reading a book meant for adults. At first it seemed like the writing was super terrible and it slowly got better the more you read, but again that could just be because I was so intrigued by the story. I might be a bit biased since I do like Rhett and Link as much as I do, but I still give this book 4 stars. Plus I love how the characters Rex and Leif were clearly ment to be Rhett and Link. All in all the story line was amazing, the writing was just a bit off. I'm still really glad I picked this book up though.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    2.5 Stars A Young Adult Novel that ‘reads’ like a Middle Grade book. Rex and Leif are best friends living in Bleak Creek. Freshmen in High School, the two live in fear of a reformatory school called “The Whitewood School.” They should after all, the two pulled a huge prank with their other best friend Alicia and she got sent there. Now the two have to pull out all the stops to try and get her back. Unfortunately, this book felt a tad bit too young for a YA Novel. The voices, the dialog, everything. 2.5 Stars A Young Adult Novel that ‘reads’ like a Middle Grade book. Rex and Leif are best friends living in Bleak Creek. Freshmen in High School, the two live in fear of a reformatory school called “The Whitewood School.” They should after all, the two pulled a huge prank with their other best friend Alicia and she got sent there. Now the two have to pull out all the stops to try and get her back. Unfortunately, this book felt a tad bit too young for a YA Novel. The voices, the dialog, everything. I read a few Young Adult novels each year and I really enjoy them, but this one didn’t feel like a Young Adult novel. Even though the characters are supposed to be High School Freshman, this felt like it was meant for much younger readers and therefore it was not my cup of tea. I do however think that the premise of this novel is really cute and can see how it could appeal to Middle Grade Readers. Thank you to Mimi at Goodreads for the arc. Published on Goodreads on 5.22.20.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    I see a lot of positive reviews for this title, so I am sure my opinion is unpopular and rare, but I just did not enjoy The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek . I felt like the narrative was kind of sporadically all over the place, and the story was kind of been there, done that. I actually don't see how this book could be ranked in the nominees for 2019 best horror, because I wasn't scared once. I guess you can label it as a horror novel, but it's better suited as a young adult novel as the dialogue I see a lot of positive reviews for this title, so I am sure my opinion is unpopular and rare, but I just did not enjoy The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek . I felt like the narrative was kind of sporadically all over the place, and the story was kind of been there, done that. I actually don't see how this book could be ranked in the nominees for 2019 best horror, because I wasn't scared once. I guess you can label it as a horror novel, but it's better suited as a young adult novel as the dialogue between the main characters tends to be a bit juvenile. I feel bad writing a terrible review, but I have to be honest as I read so many books per year, and I wouldn't want to steer someone in the wrong direction. It's a fast read, so it could work for those gearing up for the holidays and want to spend some alone time away from family. Will I pick up another book by the authors, probably not.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Once I began reading THE LOST CAUSES OF BLEAK CREEK, I didn't want to put it down. What seems like a normal southern town is in fact anything but! Rex, Leif and Alison are three best friends who are all 14 years old when Alison is sent to the local reform school. This is a school where several students have mysteriously died over the last decade. Rex and Leif are determined to rescue their friend when everything goes arie. Get ready for a great story with a surprise ending. I highly recommend!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    I wanted to love this one a lot, but I merely liked it. GMM is great, however I felt that the authorial insertion actually detracted from what at it's core is an interesting "kids on bikes (and scooter)" story. Hardcore, GMM fans will likely enjoy it

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Sturm

    I wanted very much to love this book but there are some inherent problems. I enjoyed moments for sure; I’d find myself swept up for a chapter only to be bogged back down into a sense of malaise and slow reactions. When something intense happens to a character in peril it’s followed immediately by a chapter that talks about pop culture references that have no real bearing or some “inside joke/real life thing” that Rhett and Link wanted to share but it felt like that was all. The book suffers main I wanted very much to love this book but there are some inherent problems. I enjoyed moments for sure; I’d find myself swept up for a chapter only to be bogged back down into a sense of malaise and slow reactions. When something intense happens to a character in peril it’s followed immediately by a chapter that talks about pop culture references that have no real bearing or some “inside joke/real life thing” that Rhett and Link wanted to share but it felt like that was all. The book suffers mainly from the fact it’s main characters are homages to the authors themselves. Because this is “them” it can’t find its legs in the actual fiction of the novel. It become something, because Rex and Leif are stiff cardboard replicants, that is neither horror or comedy, suspense or drama. It’s just a story. I always come back to one particular part where a character is in extreme peril. I was on board and really into it at that point, but the very next sentence and chapter was the main characters sitting around hitting each other in the balls and going “It’s real bad what’s going on with our friend.” What’s the point? It might feel more natural if every other sentence wasn’t a forced 90s reference or friends inside joke. Instead it bogs things down and makes it hard to care about anyone. They hit the climax so hard and fast that the wrap up was a real let down and I’m not sure if they’re planning a sequel but if they do I’m not sure I care to find out what happens to everyone in Bleak Creek. I love GMM and Rhett and Link, but another year of edits and reworks would have made this way better. It just seems like the novel itself was rushed to publishing and/or just needed more time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    As a huge R&L fan, I was ecstatic to receive an advance copy of this book. The story of Rex, Leif, and Alicia had me staying up late with "one more chapter." I love the easy use of humor in the writing, and I had a huge wave of nostalgia with the reference to the Hardee's California raisins as my late grandmother had every one lined up on her fireplace mantel. That definitely caused a teary smile. What keeps me from giving a 5 star rating is the supernatural turn in the story. While it held my a As a huge R&L fan, I was ecstatic to receive an advance copy of this book. The story of Rex, Leif, and Alicia had me staying up late with "one more chapter." I love the easy use of humor in the writing, and I had a huge wave of nostalgia with the reference to the Hardee's California raisins as my late grandmother had every one lined up on her fireplace mantel. That definitely caused a teary smile. What keeps me from giving a 5 star rating is the supernatural turn in the story. While it held my attention, I just was not able to suspend my disbelief with that plot line. I would consider this book to be geared toward the young adult audience, so maybe it's just due to me being an old lady and not in the intended demographic. Overall, R&L impressed me with their writing skills and their story, and I fully recommend this book. I look forward to discussing it with other MBs!

  12. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Marla Warren I have always said that I love debut novels, but it isn’t often that I get to read a debut novel that is this well-crafted, this engrossing, and this much fun. With a truly unique balance of humour and horror, McLaughlin and Neal have established a world that is instantly both familiar and fascinating. The story is set in 1992, in the small North Carolina town of Bleak Creek, and with this setting comes all the 90’s nostalgia you coul Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Marla Warren I have always said that I love debut novels, but it isn’t often that I get to read a debut novel that is this well-crafted, this engrossing, and this much fun. With a truly unique balance of humour and horror, McLaughlin and Neal have established a world that is instantly both familiar and fascinating. The story is set in 1992, in the small North Carolina town of Bleak Creek, and with this setting comes all the 90’s nostalgia you could want! From New Kids of the Block to Hyper Color T-shirts, those of us that remember that time can’t help but smile, (and those that don’t probably can’t help but laugh at us), either way, it’s a good time. Our main characters are Rex McClendon and Leif Nelson, who McLaughlin and Neal have readily admitted are based on themselves, at least in part. The town of Bleak Creek is also (somewhat) based on the small North Carolina town where they grew up, which has undoubtedly helped them to create such a richly textured world. In addition, if you have ever lived in the South, particularly in a small town, you will most certainly recognise the cast of characters in this book! While there are both expected, and unexpected, laughs throughout the book, this is ultimately a thriller/horror story that gets dark in both real and supernatural ways. There is a local reform school (with a history of suspicious deaths), called Whitewood School, that looms over the youth of Bleak Creek, with everyone frightened about what kind of infraction might result in them being sent to Whitewood. Yet they aren’t even aware of some of the very real horrors that are happening there. It isn’t just the youth of Bleak Creek who are suspicious of Whitewood. Janine Blitstein, a former resident of Bleak Creek who is now working as a documentary film-maker, is back in town and clearly not welcomed by many of the residents. Besides her grandmother, lovingly referred to as “GamGam,” her aunt, and her cousin Donna, who she had once been very close to, Janine no longer has connections to Bleak Creek. But as circumstances change in the community, she is pulled into the orbit of Rex and Leif as they all seek to find out what secrets are being held by the town and its residents. With themes of friendship, teenage angst, relationships, and courage, the story is structured in a clever, interesting way that keeps the reader glued to the page and engrossed in the well-drawn, very real characters that have been created. The cleverly plotted resolution is yet another aspect that sets this book apart from so many other debut novels. Best of all, the story is resolved in a way that lends itself to possible sequels (fingers-crossed!) It is definitely a world you will want to revisit.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Denise Mullins

    If this had been marketed as YA fiction, there would be no problem. But as it is not, it struck me as a poorly executed melding of "Holes" and "Hoot" with a totally incongrous sprinkling of Stephen King. Although tweens might find this a fun read, the attempts at humor consistently fell flat for me with characterizations that were very one-dimensional and stereotypical. Very disappointing with a wonky ending that hints at-heaven forbid- a sequel.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Beverly

    I had so much fun reading this book. If you’re looking for a serious book, keep right on looking. If you just want to have fun, stop right here! It’s also well written and an intriguing story!

  15. 5 out of 5

    kenzie

    ok first of all i’d like to formally apologize for saying anything mean about this cover because once i held it i absolutely fell in love. and second, this is the first fictional story i’ve ever read from randl, though i don’t think there’s many more to read yet, and i was so emotional by the time i got to the end i was crying at the acknowledgements ahahahahaha i would go from laughing because someone said scooter leg to crying because of their reactions to something, anyway i’m just so proud a ok first of all i’d like to formally apologize for saying anything mean about this cover because once i held it i absolutely fell in love. and second, this is the first fictional story i’ve ever read from randl, though i don’t think there’s many more to read yet, and i was so emotional by the time i got to the end i was crying at the acknowledgements ahahahahaha i would go from laughing because someone said scooter leg to crying because of their reactions to something, anyway i’m just so proud and so happy for these boys also naming a character ben already made me cry, but THEN having a character with the thing that he died from?????????????? i am so sad

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    2/5 stars "Soon the lights at the Whitewood School gate came into view, the only indication that there was anything behind the pine trees lining the road. On the rare occasion when Leif had passed by the school, secluded as it was on the far side of town, he'd been unsettled with how much the utilitarian chain-link fence seemed much more like the gateway to a prison than to an educational institution." **SPOILERS AHEAD** Honestly, it hurts me to have to rate this book so low. I am a big fan of Rhet 2/5 stars "Soon the lights at the Whitewood School gate came into view, the only indication that there was anything behind the pine trees lining the road. On the rare occasion when Leif had passed by the school, secluded as it was on the far side of town, he'd been unsettled with how much the utilitarian chain-link fence seemed much more like the gateway to a prison than to an educational institution." **SPOILERS AHEAD** Honestly, it hurts me to have to rate this book so low. I am a big fan of Rhett and Link and their internet talk show, Good Mythical Morning. I went to see them live a few years ago for the release of their first book, then again for the release of this book (I received a copy of the book with my ticket purchase). I love their creativity and their genuine enjoyment of everything that they do. I have the utmost respect for them as creators and as people. But this book just missed the mark for me in so many ways, and I have to be honest about that. First of all, I didn't think the writing was that great. The writing style felt a little juvenile, which might have made sense considering that the characters are freshmen in high school, but it just didn't measure up. There is some great writing in YA fiction these days, but this ain't it. Second, the story was intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying. There were a lot of loose ends left at the conclusion of the novel. For example, we never learn what caused the curse on the spring (at least not that I can remember reading), what the monster/spirit was living down there and where it came from, why it took Mr. Whitewood's daughter in particular, how he got all those people to go along with this crazy scheme, why exactly it needed "Lost Causes," etc. and etc. We also never got a real conclusion on the Leif-Alicia-Rex subplot. We find out that Alicia really has feelings for Leif, but nothing comes of it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I just felt like it got dropped so suddenly. The climax of the book felt pretty rushed, with not much payoff. Additionally, the message of the book was pretty heavy-handed, and I had mixed feelings about it. I was conflicted about the characters. I thought Alicia and Ben were cool characters, and I loved Rex and Leif because they were the self-inserts for Rhett and Link. Because I love Rhett and Link and their friendship, I enjoyed Rex and Leif's friendship as well. So many moments between them made me smile because I could picture adult Rhett and Link having the same conversations. Other little details, like Leif's aversion to tomatoes and general picky eating, as well as Rex's assertive personality, made me smile because it reminded me of the guys through and through. But other than that, most of the characters didn't catch my interest. Janine, the filmmaker, felt out of place for me. Other people were straight up boring. Not to mention we get a villain backstory for Mr. Whitewood that basically boils down to: "cool motive! still murder!" I can understand why Rhett and Link made the choices they did in writing this book, but I was underwhelmed by the final product.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A really good debut for these first time novelists! I tore through this book over two days - it's got a lot of deep cut call backs for long time mythical beasts, but it can be enjoyed by everyone!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Indrė

    This was really easy, fun and enjoyable read, and if it wasn't for any other outside reasons, I would have finished it ages ago. Like seriously, so much fun! I love my internet das, Rhett and Link, so much; and their alter egos, Rex and Leif, were a mirror image of themselves. Reading the book, knowing them, the places they talk about (they have mini-documentary made about it) and people (a very nice tribute to their deceased real-life friend) is half the entertainment. And the story itself, well This was really easy, fun and enjoyable read, and if it wasn't for any other outside reasons, I would have finished it ages ago. Like seriously, so much fun! I love my internet das, Rhett and Link, so much; and their alter egos, Rex and Leif, were a mirror image of themselves. Reading the book, knowing them, the places they talk about (they have mini-documentary made about it) and people (a very nice tribute to their deceased real-life friend) is half the entertainment. And the story itself, well... made me think of Edgar Wright "Hot fuzz" (2007). For the greater good :D

  19. 4 out of 5

    Aristotle

    Creepy Creek just in time for Halloween A reform school is not what it seems. What secret is hidden beneath a natural spring on the grounds of the school? A secret the townsfolk of Bleak Creek are willing to kill for. I didn't know who Rhett and Link were before receiving this book. I'm not a big fan of watching YouTube. So when i heard they were internet stars i was doubtful. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this story was. Told mostly through the eyes of a trio of 14-year-olds this was a w Creepy Creek just in time for Halloween A reform school is not what it seems. What secret is hidden beneath a natural spring on the grounds of the school? A secret the townsfolk of Bleak Creek are willing to kill for. I didn't know who Rhett and Link were before receiving this book. I'm not a big fan of watching YouTube. So when i heard they were internet stars i was doubtful. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this story was. Told mostly through the eyes of a trio of 14-year-olds this was a well written story with crisp, funny, and at times disturbing dialogue. How much would you be willing to sacrifice to save your child? Your soul? The souls of other children? Stephen King's It meets Stranger Things with a splash of Poltergeist. Thanks to Goodreads giveaway.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    4.5 stars! This was super entertaining and fun to read. I loved the fact it was set in the early 90s, and had a bit of a Fear Street (R.L. Stine) vibe!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emilia

    I usually don’t write reviews, but with the experience I’ve had reading this and the relentless praise this book has been getting I feel the need to speak my mind. (spoilers ahead, obviously) First of all, the writing. I saw a reviewer say that Rhett and Link write like they have been authors their entire lives, which is not true and claiming so is absolutely ridiculous. There are plenty of authors who make their debute with a well written novel, but Rhett and Link are not to be compared to any o I usually don’t write reviews, but with the experience I’ve had reading this and the relentless praise this book has been getting I feel the need to speak my mind. (spoilers ahead, obviously) First of all, the writing. I saw a reviewer say that Rhett and Link write like they have been authors their entire lives, which is not true and claiming so is absolutely ridiculous. There are plenty of authors who make their debute with a well written novel, but Rhett and Link are not to be compared to any of them. It’s painfully obvious that they’re trying to sound quirky and funny in every sentence, even at times where the mood should be completely different. The entire book reads as one long comedy sketch, which isn’t surprising considering that that’s, to my knowledge, their only previous writing experience, but it is still disappointing. I’ve seen people say they read the entire book in one sitting because “it was just that good!” but I think it would be closer to the truth to say that this book is such a quick read because the language has the complexity of a poorly written Wattpad fanfiction. The sentences feel short and choppy and every attempt at a metaphor or simile is either so obvious it’s cliche or lacking effect by the constant use of “quirky” humour. Nothing is left for the reader to decipher, as everything is made so obvious that reading this book feels like the literary equivalent of someone holding up cue cards for emotional reactions. The writing is a perfect example of the problem of telling instead of showing; Every time a feeling or personality trait is introduced, it is explained through exposition backstory instead of being naturally incorporated into the story. For example, on page 32 where it’s explained that Leif has a crush on Alicia: “Lately he’d been thinking about Alicia in a very different way. [...] He had tried to put these thoughts about Alicia out of his head, but that only seemed to intensify them. His distant-future visions had been replaced with present-day fantasies: the two of them tandem-biking through the woods, feeding each other popcorn at the Twin Plaza, eating a fancy dinner at TGI Friday’s. And making out. A lot. Complete with serious mouth-exploratory tongue action.” Not only is that last sentence close to the grossest thing I have ever read, but more importantly it’s an incredibly boring and lackluster way of telling the reader the character is falling in love. Because that’s the problem: Rhett and Link write as if the reader is stupid and has to be told everything instead of showing us through interactions, thoughts, dialogue or body language. Second of all: The characters. The two main characters are not just based off of Rhett and Link, they straight up just are Rhett and Link with no real attempt at coming up with a new, original and complex character dynamic. Their interactions are less of a subtle nudge to the fans of Good Mythical Morning, and more of a painfully obvious attempt at showing off their quirky friendship dynamic. An example of this is on page 88 where they argue about Link (sorry, I mean Leif) not liking tomatoes, an exchange GMM viewers are familiar with as it has been taken straight from their real lives and not changed in the slightest: “‘I don’t think it is at all’, Leif said. ‘I feel like I’m being judged. And punished with tomatoes.’ ‘Just take the tomatoes off.’ ‘But they’ll contaminate whatever they touch.’ ‘With what?’ ‘Tomato...ness.’ Rex rolled his eyes.” Now, if I didn’t know about Rhett and Link or watched their content, I wouldn’t really take issue with this exchange, but I can’t help but feel like when you take every detail of a friendship or character dynamic from your real life, it doesn’t really count as creating nuance to your story. Although, I will admit that some sort of hope for this story kindled in me halfway through the book when the character of Josefina was introduced. Her interactions with Alicia are actually not badly written at all, as illustrated on page 139: “Then, still not completely sure what was happening, Alicia grabbed her hand. The simple touch of another human - after days of feeling so isolated - seemed to raise her body temperature. She felt her face flush. [...] Josefinas words made Alicia feel like her resilience had been worth it. She smiled. ‘We should get back,’ Josefina said, rising from her chair. ‘I’ll go first, then you follow after a minute.’ ‘That’s it?’ Alicia said. She knew Josefina was right, but she desperately wished they had more time. Even just another minute.” I want to clarify that I’m not of the opinion that every story has to include some sort of love interest to be deemed valuable or well written, but if there is going to be a couple I would prefer the connection being based on honest human interaction rather than just thoughts of making out “complete with serious mouth-exploratory tongue action”. Now, I realize I haven’t talked much about the actual plot and that’s probably because I didn’t really care much for it. I mentioned earlier about the “cue card” effect this book has, which led to me not being able to take anything that happened seriously. I quite frankly did not care about these characters and thus didn’t give a fuck about what happened to them. The story, despite trying so hard to shock the reader, ended up being very predictable. I mean, did anyone actually think Alicia was going to die? While on the topic of the readers, I can’t say I have any idea exactly who this book is for. The main characters are thirteen, leading me to think it’s supposed to be a young adult (although maybe a bit too young to be considered interesting by the average reader of young adult literature). But at the same time there’s another main character in her twenties, as well as one more character we get the perspective of later who is at least 30 years old and a father, which makes me think Rhett and Link tried to write for the same demographic as Good Mythical Morning: Everyone. Oh and apparently it’s not even marketed as a young adult, but as a horror novel despite the fact that it possibly couldn’t be considered scary by any reader who is above the age of 5 years old. With all of that being said, I have nothing against Rhett and Link, quite the opposite. I have been a fan of theirs for close to five years. I thoroughly enjoy their content and I think it’s great that they’re dabbling in fiction writing. If they genuinely care about their writing and about improving as authors, I think that the people around them are doing them a great disservice by acting like The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek is some kind of genial masterpiece when it’s a mediocre bordering on bad young adult novel wrongly marketed as horror. To write a better book next time, they need actual constructive criticism and not for everyone to praise them and kiss their asses just because people watch their youtube content. And if the case is that they don’t actually care about writing and just used this mediocre story to make money since they knew there’d be a market for anything they make, I think you’re all foolish for not holding them accountable for the content they put out.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Linda McCutcheon

    There is so much I love about this book. First it is well written. It grabbed me with the first sentence and shocked me with the last sentence. I was fully invested in every character including the ones that were minor. The authors brought the people, the town and the decade it takes place in to life. The authors have been best friends since third grade and it shows in the two protagonists, Rex and Leif, who are best friends since forever and are entering freshman year of high school in the smal There is so much I love about this book. First it is well written. It grabbed me with the first sentence and shocked me with the last sentence. I was fully invested in every character including the ones that were minor. The authors brought the people, the town and the decade it takes place in to life. The authors have been best friends since third grade and it shows in the two protagonists, Rex and Leif, who are best friends since forever and are entering freshman year of high school in the small southern town of Bleak Creek in 1992. They are would be film makers because camcorders back in the 80s and 90s made everyone the latest Spielberg. Their other best friend, Alicia, is helping them make their masterpiece movie, PolterDog. You know, like Poltergeist, but with a dog ghost! The cultural references in this book are many and are awesome. Everything from Goodfellas (one of my favorite movies) to Saved by the Bell makes an appearance. The fact that New Kids On the Block music plays a role in a rescue attempt is one of the things that made me smile while my heart pounded as our heroes find themselves in a dire predicament. This ability to make me smile when I am in a panic is an amazing gift that the writers bring to this original work. I don't want to give too much of the plot away about this book. There are many surprises especially near the end. Basically, our heroes unwittingly discover an evil in their town and it's up to them to do something about it. Along the way they encounter a host of characters that bring comedy, fear and insight into this world. There are no unnecessary people or moments in this book. Speaking earlier of Spielberg, this book must be made into a movie. It has that feel of innocence, fierce friendship, and wonderment that were so prevalent in the movies in the 80s and 90s; such as Back to the Future and Stand by Me. I enjoyed this book as much, if not more, than I did these iconic movies. I won an advanced copy of this book from Penguin Random House and Goodreads for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Justin Brendel

    4.5 stars! A fun mystery book that read a lot like Stranger Things, 90's edition. Pop culture references were abundant, the characters were likable, and barbeque! Leif and Rex sure felt like name nods to Link and Rhett. Great story from the guys at Good Mythical Morning!

  24. 5 out of 5

    J.S.

    “I feel like I’m being judged. And punished with tomatoes.” “Just take the tomatoes off.” “But they’ll contaminate whatever they touch.” “With what?” “Tomato…ness.” Rex and Leif are making a movie, PolterDog, and trying to finish in time to submit it to the Raleigh NC Film Festival. The Second Baptist Church of Bleak Creek fundraiser to replace the organ's copper pipes (which were stolen) provides the perfect opportunity, as well as a crowd of unwitting extras. But when their filming goes horribl “I feel like I’m being judged. And punished with tomatoes.” “Just take the tomatoes off.” “But they’ll contaminate whatever they touch.” “With what?” “Tomato…ness.” Rex and Leif are making a movie, PolterDog, and trying to finish in time to submit it to the Raleigh NC Film Festival. The Second Baptist Church of Bleak Creek fundraiser to replace the organ's copper pipes (which were stolen) provides the perfect opportunity, as well as a crowd of unwitting extras. But when their filming goes horribly awry, their friend Alicia ends up being sent to the dreaded Whitewood School. Also in town is Janine, a recent NYU film school graduate, who is visiting her grandmother and making a documentary about... kidney stones. But she stumbles upon a story much more interesting than kidney stones, for it seems the Whitewood School isn't quite the savior of wayward children that it seems, and there have been a number of fatal accidents in the past. Rex and Leif end up teaming with Janine to expose the school, but they might be up against more than they expected. This was a very weird but rather entertaining story. The authors are "YouTube celebrities," and have a following for their weird brand of humor, so fans will no doubt love it. And the book was funny, but in a nerdy kind of way ("scooter leg" is a somewhat recurring joke). It tries to pull in elements of 1992 but it's kind of limited and doesn't really take full advantage of any nostalgia anyone might have had (in contrast to how successfully Stranger Things does with the 1980s.) The humor didn't quite do it for me (although I agree totally about "tomato...ness" contamination) but the story pulled me in enough that I enjoyed the book. One thing, however, that really annoyed me was that the chapters about Rex and Leif combine their POV, so that it was often difficult to read and keep them straight. One paragraph is in Rex's head and thoughts, and the next is in Leif's - not cool to me. Still, it was a fun read that I can round up to 4 stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brittani Allen

    I love Rhett and link so much! This book was just as hilarious as I would’ve expected. That being said, I wasn’t really sure what this book was supposed to be. The content was pretty dark but the tone was super light.. I also couldn’t tell who this book was meant for. It would seem for an older audience sometimes and a really young audience other times. I will listen to any book Rhett and link write though!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Luwanda Dunfee

    This was an excellent book about friendships and facing horrors together. It had a surprising twist that makes it worth the time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tessa Kikkert

    I really, really, really like this book, and I definitely didn't expect that to happen after reading "wind-up bird chronicle". I'm a huge fan of the authors,so I'd gotten the signed edition as a collector's item,but I wasn't planning on liking it this much, for it being a ya book. While it does start off rather slow and tedious, it picks up momentum at around the 60 page mark and it just keeps going from there. Normally, every book has a portion somewhere right before the final that could be deem I really, really, really like this book, and I definitely didn't expect that to happen after reading "wind-up bird chronicle". I'm a huge fan of the authors,so I'd gotten the signed edition as a collector's item,but I wasn't planning on liking it this much, for it being a ya book. While it does start off rather slow and tedious, it picks up momentum at around the 60 page mark and it just keeps going from there. Normally, every book has a portion somewhere right before the final that could be deemed the "Marathon" of the book, in which usually the momentum gets put on a hold. Some writers make great use of the Marathon,even succeeding in making it the most interesting part,while others fail miserably. Rhett and Link joined the first group mentioned,for the entirety of the book kept me wanting to read more. Paranormal, creepy and unsettling with a touch of humor,all played out within the parameters of a religious southern town. Surprisingly well written and thought through.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kansas

    As a hardcore Mythical Beast, I wanted to love this book. After preordering it months ago, the closer we came to the release date, the more anxious I became. I was so afraid this book would not live up to my expectations. THANK YOU RHETT AND LINK FOR ALWAYS BEING MYTHICAL! This book was absolutely incredible. The world building was on point, the characters were fully fleshed out and relatable, and the storyline was fresh and original. It was the perfect mix of funny, creepy, and WHAT THE CRAP!ne As a hardcore Mythical Beast, I wanted to love this book. After preordering it months ago, the closer we came to the release date, the more anxious I became. I was so afraid this book would not live up to my expectations. THANK YOU RHETT AND LINK FOR ALWAYS BEING MYTHICAL! This book was absolutely incredible. The world building was on point, the characters were fully fleshed out and relatable, and the storyline was fresh and original. It was the perfect mix of funny, creepy, and WHAT THE CRAP!ness. (Yes, that’s a thing.) I should never have doubted the creative abilities of Rhett & Link. No matter the form of media in which their Mythicality manifests itself, they always COME UP BIG! Please let there be a sequel to The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek because I’m totally here for it!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary Drover

    Okay, realistically, is this good? Not really. If you’re not a fan of Good Mythical Morning and picked up this book, you’d probably put it down again pretty quickly. Truly, this book is like if you took this: https://youtu.be/3ytwcOGk32g and allowed it to go further. This is strange, it made me laugh, I kept forgetting that the characters names were supposed to be Rex and Leif, and continuing with the book was near impossible because every chapter made me want to go cackle over a GMM episode. Okay, realistically, is this good? Not really. If you’re not a fan of Good Mythical Morning and picked up this book, you’d probably put it down again pretty quickly. Truly, this book is like if you took this: https://youtu.be/3ytwcOGk32g and allowed it to go further. This is strange, it made me laugh, I kept forgetting that the characters names were supposed to be Rex and Leif, and continuing with the book was near impossible because every chapter made me want to go cackle over a GMM episode.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I am very impressed with what Rhett and Link created! It was very engaging and entertaining, I read it practically in one sitting! While there may have been a few shortcomings or weak spots, I overall enjoyed the book and wouldn't mind a sequel. And while there were definitely opportunities for things to fall flat or feel goofy, they actually worked very well. Some language warning, but recommended for a fun, quick read.

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