I was planning to read Joyland right after NOS4A2, but NOS4A2 felt so much like a Stephen King book, I decided to read a couple of unrelated books first. I couldn't hold off any longer than that, though, because I do love me some Stephen King.
"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts," says Stephen King, who has combined these elements into a wonderful new story. Joyland is a whodunit noir crime novel and a haunting ghost story set in the world of an amusement park.
It tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a 'carny' in small-town North Carolina and has to confront the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the way both will change his life forever. It is also a wonderful coming-of-age novel about friendship, loss, and your first heartbreak. Who dares enter the funhouse of fear?
Devin Jones is the main character and narrator of Joyland. He is now in his 60s, and he's looking back on the end of his first love and the summer he spent working for the Joyland amusement park in North Carolina. That is also the summer he encountered the ghost of a young girl and helped solve her murder. I loved the beach-side setting and the relationships between the characters. Stephen King excels at nostalgia. I love how he can evoke that feeling of longing. He also enjoys breaking my heart. I'm not always a fan of that, but I am a fan of Joyland.
The cover is a bit misleading with the "Who Dares Enter the Funhouse of Fear?". Joyland has a suspenseful climax, but there's not a whole lot of fear going on in Joyland. If you've been too afraid to pick up a Stephen King novel, this is a great one to try especially if you like mysteries or coming of age stories.
This wasn't a spectacular novel. I'm not clamoring to get this book into everyone's hands, but I really loved reading it. If you are a fan of Stephen King, it's a must read, but I also recommend it to anyone looking for a great summer read.
8/10: Great Read