(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Also by this author: Blood and Salt, The Unfortunates
Published by Macmillan on January 10th 2017
Genres: Horror, Young Adult Fiction
“I plead the blood.”
Those were the last words seventeen-year-old golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad's throat when he discovered him dying on the barn floor of the Neely Cattle Ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest.
Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma slaughter, the whole town's looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society—a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship—won't leave him alone. Including Ali, his longtime crush, who suddenly wants to reignite their romance after a year of silence, and hated rival Tyler Neely, who’s behaving like they’re old friends.
Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals—but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity...or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.
The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett is described as Friday Night Lights meets Rosemary’s Baby and because of that, I was immediately intrigued. After reading, I have to say it leans more toward Rosemary’s Baby and the only tie to Friday Night Lights I could see was that the main character was at one time the popular quarterback. Even with that in mind the story that Liggett created was an interesting one.
Clay is the main character and he has been dealing with a lot since his father died a year ago. He is the oldest and that means he is the one who has taken on the responsibility of keeping things going since his mom hasn’t been the same ever since. Clay has two younger sisters, Jess and Noodle, and he is doing everything he can to keep his family together (including harvesting the wheat before the first freeze) and providing them with the things they need but with the anniversary of his father’s death, things are getting weird and he doesn’t know who to trust.
Clay’s family was one of the founding families of Midland, Oklahoma and along with 5 other families in town, they make up a group called the Preservation Society. The group is most recently led by a group of people that Clay goes to school with, including Ali, the girl he has had feelings for. Clay has done his best to avoid the group and the founding families but something happens one day while he is out on the combine that he can’t explain and he ends up drawn to the Neely farm where he sees something even more disturbing.
Liggett does a fantastic job of setting up this story and the setting is perfect. First, the small town setting is perfect for this story because it creates a weird vibe. Not only is Clay going through a major life event over the last year but he saw something with his dad that day that he doesn’t really understand. As the story moves forward, pieces are revealed that start to tie what happened with his dad to the things that Clay is facing today. There were some parts that were especially creepy and I appreciated how Liggett was able to set them up.
The characters in this story were quite interesting and definitely creepy. Of course, there is Clay and at times he seems completely clueless but I sympathize as it was really hard to figure out who to trust in this book. Just when he started to think someone would be able to help him out, something would happen that had me wondering whose side they were really on. I loved how much he cared about his family though and how willing he was to do whatever he could for them.
The characters that make up the society and go to school with Clay were mostly there to tie Clay to the group and the rest of the story. Ali and Tyler were the most prominent of the group. Tyler was Clay’s rival and when Clay stepped back from football and the group, he is the one who stepped in to fill the void…which included Ali. Clearly they didn’t get along.
Ali was interesting because she definitely had feelings for Clay but because of the society, she wasn’t allowed to talk to him or be around him as long as he kept his distance. When things turn around for them, they both admit their feelings and this eventually leads to the rest of the story. I have to admit, I didn’t fully see what was going to happen so kudos to Liggett for the successful twist.
Overall I enjoyed this book. Liggett does a fantastic job of setting up the reader to try to figure things out right alongside Clay from the very first page and I appreciated that what was really going on wasn’t completely transparent. If you are looking for something that has that creepy horror movie vibe and will keep you guessing on what will really happen, consider checking this one out. I will definitely be looking forward to whatever Liggett decides to share with us next.