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Book Review: Joyland by Stephen King
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July 14, 2013 5:15 p.m.

Stephen King's latest novel, Joyland, was released on June 4th of this year. It's the second book he's published under the Hard Case Crime book line (the first being The Colorado Kid in 2005).
For all of you ebook readers, this book is only available in print (for now). It's an interesting proposition in this modern age, but it really adds another dimension to the title. By being able to hold the physical book in your hands, it gives that "pulpy" feel that the Hard Case Crime imprint has strived to recreate.
Don't let the Hard Case Crime stamp fool you though, this book is more than a just murder mystery at an amusement park. Themes of growing up, lost love, death, and friendship course throughout the novel intertwined with a cold case, the supernatural, and an old-fashioned ghost story. Now this all may seem like a cluster, but it's weaved together perfectly.
It's told from the point of view of 60 year old Devin Jones, who looks back on his 1973 summer job at the North Carolina amusement park, Joyland. He encounters an interesting story about a girl's murder on a famous ride and her ghost that supposedly haunts it. But that's not all that haunts Devin. Losing his first love, learning to grow up, and having that one last summer, are all things he faces and that readers can relate to.
This book is the perfect summer read and at 288 pages, it can be blown through on a lazy summer weekend. The novel sticks around just long enough and doesn't over stay its welcome. In fact, I feel it left a bit too early, which adds to both its mystery and its charm. It could easily be The Body (Stand by Me) of the twenty-something.
I'll be honest, the last few Stephen King novels haven't "wowed" me and I had my reservations going into this one, but it is phenomenal. Joyland is definitely in my top 5 favorite Stephen King novels. Do yourself a favor and add this to your summer reading list!
A rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish, Joyland is charming and fun one minute, sad and nostalgic the next, twisting and turning with mystery and intrigue that leaves the reader with a satisfying end to the perfect thrill ride.
Joyland is a flawless 10 out of 10 Haunted Rides!

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