The Punished has an interior appearance of a YA at first, but as you get further along into the story, you soon realize it’s much more than that. This is a bumpy rollercoaster ride of creepy twists and turns that will leave you on the edge of your seat as you turn the pages to find out what’s to come of the characters. It has an intelligence and a darker side that I feel is part YA, part adult, and it left me spinning in my chair--thinking of obvious influences the author may have like Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe. There’s more to it than horror; there’s a mystery and nail-biting suspense. I liked the tension that builds in the beginning and the character development of small Curt. My only disputes with The Punished was the editing to be honest. I found some glaring mistakes--understandably, my copy could have been an ARC or an unedited version--but I still want to make a note in case it was a finished copy that it should be reviewed again (no I could not point out particular spots at this time now that I‘m finished. I just remember seeing a few areas as I was reading, mostly punctuation mishaps or grammar misuse in sentences--nothing TOO terrible honestly). I also didn’t particularly like the notes that were passed back and forth between the kids. Yes, I understand the need for the poor grammar and spelling to be displayed due to their lack of education, but I didn’t understand how at times they could spell some “hard” words (words that would have been hard for them to spell anyway if they weren’t educated), but couldn’t capitalize the I’s? Even second graders know the always capitalize those, and according to the characters, all of them at least had that much of an education. So that stumped me a bit when reading. Minor nitpicks there really. Not trying to sound be harsh. I’m a big horror fan though and I think the author did a tremendous job in creating the setting and story--setting up the fear for the reader. Silence can be frightening in itself--personally, I hate being in total silence. It makes me feel too isolated, and this is the same sense that I got from the characters when reading. I sympathized with the kids easily, tensed along with them, and worried for them. I like that the action and tension begins right away for the reader, and I like the mystery that ensues throughout. There are a lot of twists and turns, spooks and creeps for this one if you love horror. I’d recommend it. :)3.5 stars!