Joyland by Stephen King



Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.


This was a really good and moving book! Like none of Steven King’s other novels.

I have read quite a few of his novels before like Misery, Carrie, and his short story, The Mist. This was absolutely nothing like then. It did not really have many hair-raising moments like there were in The Mist, as many stomach churning moments as in Misery, and as many strange moments as in Carrie. This was completely different and stands on its own.

I will say this now that it is a book for more mature readers (as in older teens and adults) as there is sexual content, explicit language, and some violence.

This book is about this college student, Devin, who wants to have a summer job and goes to work at Joyland, a local amusement park. It starts out great, as the best summer, but later his girlfriend, his first love, breaks up with him and he becomes depressed but with the help of the people at this amusement park, he get’s over it, partially. But then there is the story of the murder which really does not come into play until later in the novel. People have supposedly seen the ghost of the murdered girl on the horror ride and toward the end of the novel you learn more about the killer and eventually find out who he is. The end of the novel read more like a CSI episode with the analyzing of the pictures and information.

To be honest, I was kind of disappointed in the book. Since Steven King is known to be more of a horror writer, I was expecting some more hair-raising moments. Moments that would not let me sleep at night, like in The Mist. Unfortunately there really were none of those moments. Do not get me wrong. This was a fabulous book and if I didn’t know anything about Steven King, I would have loved it (even thought I still do), but since I was expecting more horror, I was kind of disappointed.

The characters in the novel were really developed well though. You got to see the many sides of Devin and got to see that he was depressed after the break-up. You also got to see how his character changed throughout the course of the novel. Then there was the little boy who you really got attached too and cried over later in the novel. You also got close to the murder and many of the other characters. You got to see how they felt and how they reacted to different situations which was really nice.

I also really liked how King developed and created the scenes, places, and atmosphere. You really felt like you were in a places where events happened and like you were in an old amusement park with the classic rides and the type of people that worked there. I was a little confused sometimes with the carny language because it was so different, but it wasn’t used that much and if it was it would be used for the same ride over and over and you would get what it was talking about.

I loved the cover of the novel. It carried on the carny theme. I was and am a little unsure as to who the woman is on the cover, but non the less, the cover still gives the old carny feel to the novel. I believe that the girl is supposed one of the girls that worked at the carnival and takes the pictures, but I am not sure if she is one of the characters in the novel. It also has those vibrant colors which are not natural colors, which really add to the effect of the cover.

Also on a side note, there were quite a lot of time jumps between present and when the story was told. It was a little confusing sometimes but it was an interesting effect.

Overall it was a very good novel, but if you are looking for more of a classic Steven King, one that makes your hair stand on end, this really isn’t the one you would be looking for. I still recommend that you read it because it was still an amazing novel and I think that most people would enjoy it. It is hot off the press since it only came out on June 4th of 2013. So go and pick it up at your local library or you will probably find it on display in the front of your local bookstore.