Welcome to Blackwood (Hawkeye Publishing 2020) by Khaiah Thompson is a young adult paranormal fiction novel about a town where ‘nothing is as it seems’.

Featuring shape shifters, handsome strangers, a fairy-tale feel, Truth-Seekers, the Mundanes, genetics, Soul-Stealers, the supernatural and family secrets, these are combined with the expected adolescence angst and issues of self-identity common to most young adult novels. The protagonist, Freya, is clever and quick-witted and the dialogue is funny and engaging. This genre is not my usual read, but I can see why some readers – especially young adult readers keen on mystery, the paranormal and supernatural, the unexplained and the unknown – would be simultaneously frightened, enchanted, enamoured and excited by this story of unusual characters set in an unusual place. The dialogue is especially authentic. I suspect this will be the first in a series of books that develops an almost cult-like following amongst certain readers.