Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton #bookreview #YA #fantasy

Title: Smoke and Key

Author: Kelsey Sutton

Publisher: Entangled: Teen

Publication Date: April 2, 2019

Page Count: 304

My rating: 3 stars

About the book:

A sound awakens her. There’s darkness all around. And then she’s falling…

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she’s dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names―from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn’t utter a word. There’s Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key’s instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can’t remember why.

Then the murders start. Bodies that are burned to a crisp. And after being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was―and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden―before she loses her life for good…


Before I begin let’s just have a moment to appreciate the cover on this one, two thumbs up for the creator it’s probably one of my favorites so far this year. Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton is a young adult fantasy read that is one of those that has a bit of mystery and a bit of romance in the mix too.

The story begins with a girl falling into a mysterious dark cavern and not knowing where or even what she is. She meets a boy named Smoke who begins to explain that she is dead and has fallen out of her grave into the area inhabitants call the “Under”.

Those that fall into Under are then named by whatever item they carried under with themselves, so now we have “Key” for our lead character. Key is not like the others in under as she fights to hold onto her memories of the before and this lead her to look for more answers to what brought her there.

Smoke and Key is one of those books that I hesitated on while trying to decide what to rate this one. There are things I liked but then things I didn’t too so I’m going down the middle at three stars after much debate. The biggest positive is this is certainly creative and dare I say different. But the biggest downside was it was a bit confusing in parts the way it jumps from one thing to another and still had some slower moments in it too. Overall though I did like the ideas behind it and think others may too.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

Kelsey Sutton is the author of The Lonely Ones, a middle-grade novel in verse that received a starred review from Kirkus. She is also the author of Some Quiet Place, and its companion novel Where Silence Gathers, both published by Flux. She is also the author of the YA e-book original GARDENIA.


Categories: Uncategorized

2 replies

    • The way the story goes it jumps from one area to another and I was sitting there going uh, what happened. Maybe some italics or something added in the final copy at those moments would do a world of good.

      Liked by 1 person

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