All the Dead Lie Down
Katherine Tegen Books
Published May 16, 2023
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All the Dead Lie Down
The Haunting of Bly Manor meets House of Salt and Sorrows in award-winning author Kyrie McCauley’s contemporary YA gothic romance about a dark family lineage, the ghosts of grief, and the lines we’ll cross for love.
The Sleeping House was very much awake . . .
Days after a tragedy leaves Marin Blythe alone in the world, she receives a surprising invitation from Alice Lovelace—an acclaimed horror writer and childhood friend of Marin’s mother. Alice offers her a nanny position at Lovelace House, the family’s coastal Maine estate.
Marin accepts and soon finds herself minding Alice’s peculiar girls. Thea buries her dolls one by one, hosting a series of funerals, while Wren does everything in her power to drive Marin away. Then Alice’s eldest daughter returns home unexpectedly. Evie Hallowell is every bit as strange as her younger sisters, and yet Marin is quickly drawn in by Evie’s compelling behavior and ethereal grace.
But as Marin settles in, she can’t escape the anxiety that follows her like a shadow. Dead birds appear in Marin’s room. The children’s pranks escalate. Something dangerous lurks in the woods, leaving mutilated animals in its wake. All is not well at Lovelace House, and Marin must unravel its secrets before they consume her.
I completely fell in love with Kyrie McCauley’s writing in her book WE CAN BE HEROES, so when I saw she had a new book coming out, I didn’t even read what it was before requesting a copy for review. Ha.
The cover copy gave me some THE TURN OF THE SCREW vibes– a girl comes to an old estate to work as a nanny for two children who have some creepy habits. This isn’t a retelling of that play, though. The setup is similar, but the plot goes a whole lot of other places.
I liked the dark, endlessly creepy vibes. It definitely has that edge-of-your-seat, something-really-bad-is-about-to-happen kind of feeling all the way through the book.
The characters really hooked me into the story, too. It’s a very predominantly female cast. I think the only male named characters are the Lovelace girls’ father and a neighbor man who kind of looks out for danger in the woods. The younger sisters are mischievous and odd. It’s easy to tell they’re lonely and grieving, and that they’re keeping some kind of secret. I liked the push and pull feeling of the relationship between them and Marin, who feels drawn to them because of their sorrow and loneliness but wary because they can be capricious and cold.
As Marin tries to untangle the mystery around the Lovelace estate and the complicated history between her mother and Alice Lovelace, she also meets a girl her age, and a tenuous romance develops between them. I loved the sweetness of that love against the darkness of the rest of the story.
I feel like ALL THE DEAD LIE DOWN left me with a lot of questions. Not in the sense of the story seeming unfinished– I liked the end a lot. It just left me with a lot of questions about how to weigh out someone’s motives versus the outcomes of their choices.
Overall, I definitely recommend this book for readers looking for a romance with a really dark edge to it. I could see fans of WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart or IT LOOKS LIKE US by Alison Ames really liking this one.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Marin and a girl have a romantic relationship. Major characters are white. Marin has anxiety and panic attacks.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used somewhat infrequently.
Kissing between two girls. References to more than that. They sleep in the same bed overnight.
Marin sees animals who are critically, even fatally, injured limping around. At first she isn’t sure whether they’re dying or if something else is happening to them. Several birds in this state end up in her room.
See spoiler section at the end for more.
Situations of peril. See spoiler section.
Marin and Evie drink alcohol together one night.
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Marin encounters creatures that are undead… they were dead but are somehow alive, even in their decayed state. Some descriptions of partially rotted or decrepit animals and people. She learns that someone has the ability to bring back the dead.
Sometimes the creatures who are reanimated come back “dark”, meaning they are bent on causing harm to people. Marin and her allies fight more than one undead creature intent on harming them.