Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther’s father is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.

Esther doesn’t know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.

Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn’t counted on: love


This book was a rollar-coaster. It was everything I wanted from it and so much more. It was mysterious, fast paced and intriguing and also had some added diverse elements to it. (POC main, mental illness: anxiety, depression, selective mutism)

Krystal’s writing style never fails to have me hooked from the beginning, with her unique and always refreshingly new characters to her really mysterious plot that had me page turning non stop for hours until I had read the whole book in the one sitting, the plot was filled with twists and turns, sarcasm, and also had its dark moments, it had a really nice contrast of laughter and tears.

Esther was a really quirky character to read about, her love for movies and dressing up as different fictional characters was a trait I really liked about her and especially because I myself am obsessed with movies (certainly not to Esther’s taste of horror though lol!) and all of us readers adore fictional characters. I also found myself in Esther as she suffers from social anxiety and I myself do suffer from anxiety and felt a really strong relate to Esther in that sense. Jonah was a really hidden and mysterious character, I liked learning more about him as the book went on and also him being a POC was a really cool diverse addition to the story.

The message of the story was also a really good one and I got a lot out of it, the lesson I learnt from it was that having fears is normal, and facing fears was better than just letting yourself live in fear of them. With the helping hand and some courage you can do just about anything.

Overall, this book was mysterious, quirky and a real breathe of fresh air to what I’ve read lately, I haven’t read anything like it and after finishing I still have a lot of thoughts on the book that I can’t fully put into words yet. I really do recommend this book to anyone that is looking for something unique, and something that isn’t your normal typical Young Adult read.


PRE ORDER HERE: https://www.bookdepository.com/search/Semi-Definitive-List-of-Worst-Nightmares-Krystal-Sutherland/9780399546594



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