Blog Tour for A Darker Mischief by Derek Milman (earc review)

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Darker Mischief by Derek Milman.  This tour is being hosted by TBR and Beyond.

A Darker Mischief by Derek Milman

Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller

Publishing Date: July 2, 2024

A Darker Mischief

The Honeys meets The Secret History in a work of dark academia like no other — a boarding school thriller about a queer teen from Mississippi who finds himself swept into a world of old money, privilege, and the secret society at the heart of it all.

When Cal Ware wins a scholarship to an elite New England boarding school, he’s thrilled to leave his past behind. Back home in Mississippi, he was the poor, queer kid who never fit in. But at Essex Academy, he’ll be able to reinvent himself. Or so he hopes…

But at Essex, Cal’s classmates only see his cheap clothes and old iPhone. They mock his accent, and can’t believe he’s never left the country, or heard of The Hamptons. Cal, at his breaking point, is about to give up and return to Mississippi when he learns about a secret society on campus — the key to becoming Essex royalty.

Cal knows he’s not exactly secret society material, but to his surprise, he finds an unlikely champion in the handsome, charismatic, and slightly dangerous Luke Kim. As they get swept up in the mystery and glamour of the Rush process, Cal finds himself falling in love for the first time.

But as the initiation rituals grow riskier — and increasingly nefarious — Cal must decide how far he’s willing to go, and how much of himself he’s willing to sacrifice, to save everything and everyone he cherishes most. Because nothing at Essex — not even Cal’s first love — is quite what it seems.

Content Warning: Trauma from gay bashing incident (past), kidnapping, parental illness (cancer), instances of cutting and branding, physical abuse

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I flew through this one. I’m honestly not surprised. I love Derek’s writing. But this was definitely hard to put down.

Cal is such a sweet kid. He doesn’t fit in at school or his hometown. There was an incident that happened that made his parents send him to this school on scholarship. His dad is possibly being sued or charged with a crime and his mom is battling cancer. It’s really hard for him to be a sophomore transfer but he gets along ok with him roommate. He also meets Luke and is charmed right away. Luke is bit dangerous and a loose cannon. But Cal can’t stay away. They both pledge for the secret society and get to partner up. Most of the society stuff is fun exploration, but it starts to change. Cal worries about getting caught, but this society can also help him. And then there’s Luke. So Cal stays in and keeps doing things that seem more dangerous as the year goes on. He makes some new friends, but he also finds that he can’t trust everyone he’s around.

I very much love that there was an ending that was in the future. I needed to know what happened. So thank you Derek. I gave this book 5 stars.

Thank you to Netgalley for my earc.

author info

Derek Milman

Derek studied English, Theater, and Creative Writing at Northwestern University. Derek started off as a playwright and screenwriter–his first play was produced in New York City right after he graduated college–and went on to receive an MFA in acting at the Yale School of Drama. As a classically trained thespian (Derek’s favorite word), Derek has performed on stages across the country, and appeared in numerous TV shows and films, working with two Academy Award winning film directors (who probably have no recollection of working with Derek).

Derek has taught at a film school in NYC, worked the front desk of a yoga studio, and had a very short stint as a DJ in a Lower East Side club (if you tipped him well enough, he would pretend to have that New Order B-side no one ever heard of). He began writing YA fiction a few years ago.

Derek currently lives in Brooklyn, where he writes fiction full time, wanders the waterfront staring at the Manhattan skyline, plays video games, and buys lime green hoodies made out of locally-sourced hemp.

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