BOOK REVIEW: The Pledge by Cale Dietrich


Title: The Pledge
Author: Cale Dietrich
Publication: February 14, 2023
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Teens, YA Fiction, Mystery, LGBTQIA+, Romance
Pages: 304

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SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

Freshman Sam believes that joining a fraternity is the best way to form a friend group as he begins his college journey – and his best chance of moving on from his past. He is the survivor of a horrific, and world-famous, murder spree known as the Lake Priest Massacre – where a masked killer hunted down Sam and his friends.

Sam had to do the unthinkable to survive that night, and it completely derailed his life. He sees college, and his new identity as a pledge of a historic fraternity, as his best shot at living a life not defined by the killings. He starts to flirt with one of the brothers, cute journalism student Oren Fisher, who Sam finds is surprisingly accepting of Sam’s past, and begins to think a fresh start truly is possible.

And then… one of his new frat brothers is found dead. A new masked-murderer, one clearly inspired by the original, emerges, and starts stalking, and slaying, the frat boys of Munroe University. Now Sam will have to race against the clock to figure out who the new killer is – and why they are killing – before Sam loses his second chance or the lives of any more of his friends.


**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Cale Dietrich’s The Pledge instantly gave me Scream two vibes with a college setting and a masked killer. I was ready to love this book and everything it had to offer.

The story follows Sam as he has already survived a crazed killer and is now off to college to redeem some form of his life and live normally. Unfortunately, that would be a boring book. This story was definitely not boring. A lot was going on and a lot of PTSD feelings from Sam on what he deserved and what happened to him. I was able to feel some empathy for him as he was trying to get back to some semblance of normal. I really liked Oren’s character and the antagonists in multiple characters. Of course there is the bad guy/killer, but there were other smaller antagonists in this story that kept that suspense up. I also did not guess what was happening and was unable to guess the ending, which is always a plus.

Unfortunately, the delivery of the plot and these characters was what really caused me to struggle. The writing wasn’t bad at all, but there were a lot of plot holes or missteps. Things like the house being full of party-goers to minutes later the house is completely empty and not a sole in sight. This is a frat house we are talking about, so highly unlikely there was no one inside it at any given time. I also felt like the police procedures were off and not researched well on what proper protocol would be, which is very important when working with detectives and an investigation. These plot holes had me confused at times and caused me to struggle on even wanting to finish the book. I think the story itself is a good one, but the delivery needs work.

With that said, I would definitely check out more books by Cale Dietrich, mainly because the idea behind this story was a good one and I can see the writing improving the more it’s done. Practice makes perfect after all. I encourage anyone to pick it up, and check it out because you may love it even though I didn’t. Get yourself a copy!

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