After Mars’s twin sister Caroline attempts to kill him and then dies under mysterious circumstances, he decides to attend the Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy in her place to discover the truth behind her actions. He seeks out her friends, a group of girls known as The Honeys who tend beehives.
As the summer keeps melting on, the beauty of the summer camp starts to wear itself away to reveal something rotten. Mars must figure out who he wants to be if he is going to survive the monsters hunting him, both in his body and his mind.
Society (horror film) meets Heathers (dark comedy film) in this coming-of-age horror story. The Honeys is a dark, fun, supernatural, summer camp thriller about expression, identity, and the perils of community.
This story is one of the better-written horror novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Rather than using darker themes for cheap shock, the author takes genuine care in how they present the more difficult concepts. Mars is one of the most interesting protagonists I’ve read in a YA novel, with their identity adding a layer of complexity to their character that fits the story perfectly.
The Honeys is a story that sticks to you long after you flip the final page.
Keep in Mind
Does this book have gender themes?
Yes! Our main protagonist Mars is genderfluid and the Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy focuses on very rigid gender roles that Mars has trouble fitting into.
Are there any content warnings I need before I read?
Yes! LaSala writes about “surreal things happening to queer people”. Transphobia, manipulation, and body horror were common themes of this book. Luckily none of the content feels gratuitous and it all serves an important place in the narrative.
Any recommendations for similar books?
Ryan LaSala has other similar works in Reverie
and Be Dazzled
which I would definitely recommend. If you are looking for something more horrifying, I’d recommend Hell Followed With Us
by Andrew Joseph White.
It has very similar themes if you can handle the darker aspects of the content, plus there are some interesting parallels between
Mars from The Honeys
and Benji from Hell Followed With Us.