Blog Tour and Review: Smoke and Key

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 burnt to a crisp. 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 becomes the next victim…

Kelsey Sutton is a young adult and middle grade author. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She will soon have a master’s degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix, ordering a mocha at the nearest coffee shop, napping with her rescue dogs, or browsing a bookstore. You can visit her online at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter or Instagram.



Quick Reasons: mysterious, intriguing, atmospheric; this story unraveled brilliantly, in ways I wasn’t expecting; I’m actually sort of shocked I didn’t see that ending coming, honestly; hauntingly beautiful characters and journey

HUGE thanks to Kelsey Sutton, Entangled Teen Publishing, Netgalley, and YA Bound Book Tours for sending me a complimentary egalley of this title! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

This was an intriguingly atmospheric, mysterious read! The layers peeled back like those of an onion–with poignant, descriptive prose and beautifully rounded characters. And I, cursed with the ability to see endings from a mile away as I am….DIDN’T see the big reveal coming this time around. The way that Kelsey Sutton blended the “amnesia” with the unraveling mystery worked wonders in keeping me enthralled without giving away too much information too soon. I also appreciated how much care the author took to keep readers as in the dark–pun intended, for some instances–as possible.

I had a blast getting to know these characters from multiple angles, and unspooling the hidden secrets right alongside them. There were so many complex, multifaceted aspects of this story, it’s no wonder I fell so deeply into it I was afraid I wouldn’t find my way out before it ended. The purple prose and historical atmosphere only worked to immerse me more completely. Kelsey Sutton wove a tapestry of a masterpiece…and I’m so happy I got the chance to experience it!

Overall, this was an immersive, gorgeous read. Full of heart and atmosphere, I was captivated from the beginning. These characters are well-rounded and complex, coupled with a story that layers itself from start to finish. If you enjoy masterful mysteries and wild adventures–with just a touch of dark magic lurking–you’ll LOVE this story. If you were able to take one item with you beyond the grave, Penguins….what would it be?


One thought on “Blog Tour and Review: Smoke and Key

  1. Pingback: BLOG TOUR: Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton – REVIEW – Journey in Bookland

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