Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
"How much do you remember about your childhood?
In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you'll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him. If you've ever stayed in the woods just a little too long after dark, if you've ever had the feeling that someone or something was trying to hurt you, if you remember the first friend you ever made and how strong that bond was, then Penpal is a story that you won't soon forget, despite how you might try."
Penpal is a standalone horror novel by Dathan Auerbach.
This book took TikTok by storm and, naturally, I got curious. There were countless videos of people saying that this book creeped them out, and once it hit spooky month I knew I had to read it. I will admit I was a bit hesitant to pick it up due to the hype, but this ended up being worth it because this was a really solid horror book that had me hooked from the first page.
What started as an innocent class project turned into something far more sinister than expected. In all honesty, I don't really want to delve further into the plot than this since I think that it is better to just go in blind. That probably is the intent as well considering how vague the book synopsis is. I will say though that I am someone who doesn't get freaked out easily by books. Movies and shows sure because of the jumpscares, but rarely do I get chills down my spine. This gave me some, like I was genuinely creeped out and had to pick up the book the next day because I was reading it at 1 in the morning and my imagination was going wild.
That is all I will say though. Really solid book, just not quite higher than four stars due to it not quite giving me all the information I wanted.