The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 2/22/20-2/23/20

How I Found It: Youtube

This book marks off the “A Book Written by More Than One Author” badge on the 40 Book Reading Challenge from Once Upon a Book Club

For about a week, I was extremely sick. And as someone who couldn’t read thanks to all the pain in my head, I went with the next best option, Good Mythical Morning. As I went down a Internet spiral, I came across a 3-part series where they went to their hometown and showed the things that were featured in their novel. Immediately, I jumped on the train and quickly bought the book. Before I read the novel, I knew that the book was based on Rhett and Link’s hometown of Buies Creek, North Carolina, United States of America. I knew bits and pieces from the series that were featured in the book, specifically the giant tree and the big and little rocks, but they overall story was something that I tried to avoid getting any other spoilers about the book, so this reaction is completely pure for you guys.

Set in Bleak Creek, North Carolina, Rex and Leif are determined to make their movie, PolterDog. They encourage their best friend, Alicia, to film their big scene at the charity pig roast for the Second Baptist Church. But that ends in disaster when the church organist, and headmaster of the local reform school, gets run into causing severe burns to his hands. Alicia’s parents, not knowing what else to do, send her to the Whitewood Reform School. But quickly, Alicia begins to fight back against the people of the school, causing her to constantly be on Whitewood’s radar.

Janine came to visit her grandmother in Bleak Creek after a tough breakup. Wanting to still be creative, she begins looking for something to make into a documentary. Starting originally with an idea on the high amount of cases of kidney stones in the town, she quickly shifts her gaze to the school. Soon, the people of the town make her into a pariah with the hope of making her leave.

Rex and Lief can’t get over their guilt about Alicia’s new school situation. Trying to find comfort in their favorite spot, they meet a boy named Ben who has created a makeshift home at their tree. Ben used to be a student at Whitewood until he ran away, which gave him context that Rex and Lief needed to try and save Alicia. Soon, they find themselves in a situation they couldn’t have ever imagined.

I really enjoyed this novel. At any given point, I read it really quickly, but there were moments where I definitely put it down. Once I reached the last 150 pages or so, I read through this book in a FLASH. There were moments that I really enjoyed it and there were others where it just wasn’t there. It is super confusing for me as a reviewer because I genuinely thought this book was good, but I also feel like I would be lying to you if I didn’t let you know about those seconds where I wasn’t all in. Those good moments definitely outweigh the not-so-good moments, but they are still there nonetheless.

I also think the whole crush thing was a little weird, but how can you write a story about 13-year-olds without them wanting relationships? There is so much detail in this book that makes it so connected and unique, but also you could nitpick details until you run out of breath. As a whole, I love this book and am confused and conflicted but in the best possible way. And notice how I am talking about details because the actual story is SOOOOO good that you can’t really focus on anything in the general plot that needs to be changed. I would give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I truly think that for two people who have never really sat down and written a novel before, this is an amazing debut.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

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