Jaime Winn’s ‘Pull’ Is the Intense Beginning of a Dark, Mysterious Series

Jaime Winn’s ‘Pull’ is the start of a series you’re not going to be able to put down.

Imagine showing up to prom in a dress you technically got on sale prepared for the best night of your life … only to end up fleeing desperately from a possible murder.

Yeah, Mischa isn’t going to have the night of her dreams after all. It doesn’t help that her dreams lately have been more like nightmares, a faceless boy, terror and all.

And then there’s Casey. There’s just something about him, something that seems to be pulling her toward him as if she’s not actually in control of anything at all.

Pull is one of those stories that starts out like any other YA narrative but quickly takes a dozen turns for the weird. And don’t get me wrong — I love a weird book. Weird is a positive adjective in my book reviewers’ handbook. Weird means different, and the literary landscape NEEDS different.

Reading this, for me, was also one of those instances where a more in-depth read of the synopsis might have helped prepare me for what I was getting into — again, that’s not a dig at the story, author, or publisher. I generally read enough of a synopsis to get an idea of whether or not I want to request or accept a galley without spoiling myself too much. Lesson learned? Maybe? We’ll see.

I liked this book. I liked the main characters and the mysterious antagonist(s?) and how it was all presented.

The drawback for me is that this book relies very heavily on the fact that it’s the first in a series. You pretty much reach the end of the book knowing there’s a mystery and “not all is as it seems” without being given any actual clues or answers about what’s actually happening. This can create a lot of confusion but, admittedly, does make me REALLY want, almost need, to read the next book.

From a storytelling standpoint, I personally don’t think giving readers all questions and no answers in the first book is the best way to go about it. Readers need a little bit of hand-holding when the author is creating an unfamiliar world, and by the time I got to the end of this book I did feel a little lost as if I’d missed something. And maybe I did! Possibly worth a reread before the next book.

Overall, however, I LOVED the writing and especially the dialogue. Sometimes while reading a book the dialogue takes you out of the story because it’s just not realistic, but Pull had the opposite effect for me. Almost as if it pulled me further in. Eh? Eh??

The moral of the story may not be to tick off your worst enemy before prom, but it’s sure nice to be way (way …) past all that high school drama. Why do I still spend my free time reading about it anyway? The world may never know.

You’ll love this book if you love stories about seemingly ordinary teenage girls who fall in love, worry about prom, and also may have been born for a greater purpose than living out that ordinary suburban life? Unclear. But also intriguing, in a good way. Promise.

Pull is the first book in a series and is available August 2, 2022 wherever books are sold.

Meg Dowell is the creator of Brain Rush, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words, and Not a Book Hoarder, celebrating books of all kinds. She is an editor, writer, book reviewer, podcaster, and photographer. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about nonsense and Star Wars.