Around Bathory boarding house roams the Bathory Beast and this Christmas, Nash has to deal with the beast (who may be responsible for deaths), a missing brother, responsibility of fellow students, and losing out on Head Girl.
So at its heart it was rather transparent. We have the somewhat neurotic over achiever who, for personal growth, must fail at her task coupled with some external pressure. The rival, the rebel, the weird and creepy one, and the one who needs protection. We have the love interest, the danger interest, and of course, the red herring. Isolation and the removal of parents is the final piece of the typical YA set up. Yet Skuse sold me this novel. I ended it feeling somewhat charmed, like I'd spent some time in surprisingly pleasant company. I could have been rolling my eyes throughout but I ended up on the pleased side of the balance. The love interest handling is cringe worthy and the boarding school interactions were full of stereotypical slut shaming and catty drama but Nash, the main character, does act with sense otherwise. It's never a horror story per say but rather stays in the thriller category with many ironic nods to the horror genre. I enjoyed how Skuse takes you through the various monsters in plain sight-the mythical and real.