Thursday, October 26, 2023

This Was a Painful


TITLE: There's No Way I'd Die First
AUTHOR: Lisa Springer
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
PUBLISHING DATE: September 5, 2023
PAGES: 304   
SOURCE: Own Library

FROM GOODREADS: Debut author Lisa Springer delivers a spine-tingling contemporary horror that follows a scary-movie buff as she hosts an elaborate Halloween bash on her family's estate but soon finds the festivities upended when she and her guests are forced to test their survival skills in a deadly party game. 
Noelle Layne knows horror. Every trope, every warning sign, every survival tactic. She even leads a successful movie club dedicated to the genre. Thus, who better to throw the ultimate, most exclusive Halloween party on all of Long Island? And with the guest list including the coolest kids in her senior class, her popularity is bound to spike. Hopefully, enough to warrant an expansion into podcasting. Plus, the fact that attractive, singer-songwriter Archer Mitchell is coming is honestly the candy corn on top. Nothing is going to kill her party vibes. 
Except...maybe the low-budget It clown she hires to lead a classic round of tag. He's supposed to be terrifying, though in a comforting, nostalgic way. Instead, the guy is giving major creeps. But maybe Noelle's just that good at hosting? Her confidence is immediately rocked when the night's entertainment axes one of her guests. And he's not done yet. If an evil, murderous clown thinks life is a game, then Noelle is ready to play. She's been waiting a long time to prove that she's a Final Girl.

MY THOUGHTS: I read this as part of a Facebook Book Club, and it also fulfilled one of my challenge prompts for my readathons.  It sounded so good, and I was so excited, so it was a big disappointment that I didn't enjoy it more.

Noelle wants to throw an unforgettable Halloween bash for two reasons: she wants to capitalize on her "friends" social media contacts, and she wants to parlay her horror movie club into a podcast. She has hired a clown to play a game, but the stakes are much higher and one-by-one, the kids are picked off.

There was so much about this that didn't work for me, but I want to say that I had no issues with the writing and will definitely read future endeavors.  The book contained a great slasher premise, but I believe this book tried to be too many things at once. All the kids were so privileged and spoiled that I felt nothing when they died.  Then you have Noelle who is having philosophical conversations WITH the killer during all the escapades and then who uses trying to save her life to forge a relationship with a boy she's liked for years. I enjoy pop culture references in books, especially when it comes to the horror community, but this book was packed with them and toward the end, even that became too much.

If you like slasher books, I feel there are others you might want to check out first.  This book's cover does tend to draw people in, but don't let it fool you, the contents might be "scary" for all the wrong reasons.  



  1. Sorry it wasn't better for you. It's hard to be excited and then not like the book as much as you hoped.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  2. Sorry this one was such a disappointment. That's too bad.