Review: The Pledge by Cale Dietrich

The Pledge by Cale Dietrich

The Pledge
Cale Dietrich
Feiwel & Friends
February 14, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About The Pledge

Scream meets Clown in a Cornfield in this young adult horror novel by bestselling Cale Dietrich featuring a masked killer who targets frat boys.

Freshman Sam believes that joining a fraternity is the best way to form a friend group as he begins his college journey – and his best chance of moving on from his past. He is the survivor of a horrific, and world-famous, murder spree, where a masked killer hunted down Sam and his friends.

Sam had to do the unthinkable to survive that night, and it completely derailed his life. He sees college, and his new identity as a frat boy, as his best shot at living a life not defined by the killings. He starts to flirt with one of the brothers, who Sam finds is surprisingly accepting of Sam’s past, and begins to think a fresh start truly is possible.

And then… one of his new frat brothers is found dead. A new masked murderer, one clearly inspired by the original, emerges, and starts stalking, and slaying, the frat boys of Munroe University. Now Sam will have to race against the clock to figure out who the new killer is – and why they are killing – before Sam loses his second chance – or the lives of any more of his friends.

Elements of horror, mystery, and a gay romance make this a story readers won’t want to miss.

The Pledge on Goodreads

My Review

I received this book as part of a package of books from the publisher, and I was the most nervous about it of all the others in the set. I’m still pretty touch and go with horror, so it’s always hard to tell from the cover or cover copy whether something is going to be a good pick or end up being too much.

Ultimately, I didn’t think the horror elements were too much for me. In some ways, THE PLEDGE reminded me of some of the R. L. Stine or Christopher Pike stories that I used to read. I also enjoyed that it was a story centered around a gay character– something different from the romance or contemporary stories I often read with LGBTQ+ protagonists.

It’s definitely a slasher story– so expect lots of scenes showing a masked assailant with a knife overpowering their victims and stabbing them. I’m a bit of a wimp about that stuff, but I didn’t find the descriptions overly graphic or gross.

The part of the story that really hooked me, though was the mystery element. Some people suspect Sam of being the killer, and he ends up getting involved in trying to figure out who is hurting people. He works with the police, trying to stop the killer before they strike again. I definitely got wrapped up in trying to guess who it was and what their motive was. I didn’t guess either one.

The story also includes Sam’s relationships with his family, which drew me in. He has issues with his mom, and he has a younger brother he loves a lot. I liked both those relationships and the way they impacted the story.

All in all, a slasher book is never going to be my go-to, but I enjoyed checking this one out. I think fans of THE WHITE RABBIT by Caleb Roehrig will like the mystery elements and romance of THE PLEDGE.

The Pledge on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Sam and some other characters are gay.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
References to Sam’s past relationship with Eli. He’s attracted to a new guy at college. In one scene, they kiss and retreat to a bedroom to have sex. The scene shows them naked together and vaguely describes that they have sex.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
It’s a slasher, so there’s a bad guy with a knife who stabs some people in some scenes.

Drug Content
Sam attends parties with the fraternity brothers and drinks alcohol. One of the boys in the process of joining the fraternity smells like pot.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of THE PLEDGE in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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