Paranormal Book Club: Something Strange & Deadly

Welcome to another Paranormal Book Club post! The Paranormal Book Club is a casual book club I do with my friends RachelKristin & DJ, and it came into being because we decided we wanted to revisit (or experience for the first time) a few older YA paranormal/fantasy books together. Our fourth and final quarter pick for this year was Something Strange & Deadly, the debut novel from author Susan Dennard.

Summary: Eleanor Fitt has a lot to deal with: a missing older brother, a mother determined to marry her off and familial financial struggles. But the Dead are rising in Philadelphia and when Eleanor Fitt realizes her brother's disappearance may have something to do with them, she must team up with the notorious Spirit-Hunters in order to discover the truth.

What were your initial thoughts about the book? Were you excited to read it?
I hadn't reread this book in literal years, but I have very fond memories of it (and the rest of the series). Seriously, I loved this series so much that Rachel & I teamed up to host the Something Strange and Deadly Celebration and the Something Strange and Deadly Surprise Party back in the day! I was genuinely excited to dive back into this world... and luckily, it turned out to be an excellent experience all around. I loved revisiting this world, this lore, these characters and their story; while there were key events that I remembered, there was a lot of detail I'd completely forgotten about too. That aspect of my reread, plus listening to the entire trilogy on audiobook, made the whole experience feel almost brand new! That said, as a reread, it definitely held up for me from start to end!

What was your favorite quote or passage, and why did it resonate with you?
“How could I dream when I knew I could act instead?" This feels like a very fitting quote to pick out from our last read of the year. It still fits the theme of endurance in the face of great odds that has been sprinkled throughout the year for me, but what I really appreciate is the the agency in the statement. Eleanor isn't just going to sit back and dream about what could be; she's going to do something to try to reach for it.

What character did you relate to the most, and what was it about them that you connected with?
There are many things about Eleanor that I don't relate to, but I did identify with her tenacity of spirit, her determination to do right by those she loves and her willingness to go the distance herself when it comes to facing the obstacles in her life.

Was there anything you wanted to see more of in the book, like more page time for a secondary character or a plot point you wish was explored more?
I genuinely would have loved to read more about Eleanor's brother Elijah (especially his own journey prior to the events of this series as he travels a lot). I would also have liked to read more about a character we encounter in the second book who quite easily has won their spot in my heart.

What are your final thoughts? Would you read this book again and/or continue with the series? Would you read another book written by the same author?
I can confidently say that it's one of my favorite series of all time, as it's one of the few that truly held up on a reread. And yes, I did reread the entire trilogy instead of just the first book, which already says a lot in and of itself. I'm certainly planning on continuing to read Dennard's Witchlands series (I've only made it through the first two books and the novella) and will also be checking out her new book The Luminaries.

If you're interested in finding out what the others thought, check out their posts below:

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