Book Review: Wranglestone – Darren Charlton

Welcome back!



In a post-apocalyptic America, a community survives in a national park, surrounded by water that keeps the Dead at bay. But when winter comes, there’s nothing to stop them from crossing the ice.

Then homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore and he’s forced to leave the community of Wranglestone. Now he must help rancher Cooper, the boy he’s always watched from afar, herd the Dead from their shores before the lake freezes over.

But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary’s secret past. One that forces the pair to question everything they’ve ever known.


When I discovered Wranglestone, I had a real ‘drop everything and read this’ moment. I loved the publisher’s description of ‘zombies meet Brokeback Mountain’ and the opening of the story is great.

There were a few things I loved about this book. Firstly, it’s actually a teen book and not MG or YA, and it has LGBTQ+ representation. The main characters, Peter and Cooper, have a very typical teenage relationship. It is intense, loving and they give themselves over to each other entirely. Their budding relationship isn’t met with any surprise or shock – they are just two boys on the brink of being men, in love.

Charlton’s writing is highly descriptive and I have nothing but praise by the way he describes the movement and behaviour of the Dead [zombies] induces shivers. Likewise, the descriptions of the snow-covered surroundings immerse you in the story.

I’d love to say I only have praise for Wranglestone, but unfortunately there were some parts of the book that I didn’t get on with. Firstly, the plot didn’t make sense to me as we’re not enlightened with the entire backstory. In some respects that is part of the book, but I got frustrated towards the end when there was an unresolved element, possibly for a future book.

Additionally, the story peaked and troughed too drastically for my liking. There were big plot points which slowed right down before another big plot point. I’d like to have seen it keep some pace between the points. Having said that, it picked up toward the end and the last quarter of the book is fantastic.

Overall, I think this is a good book and I love that Charlton has written a book that he wanted to read as a teenager so he felt represented. It has a The Hunger Games feel to it that I think many people will enjoy.

Many thanks to Stripes Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Order now

You can support your local bookshop by buying Wranglestone through them directly, or via Hive.

Comment below

What do you think of Wranglestone? Will you be reading it? Let me know in the comments below.

Wishing you a wonderfully bookish week,


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