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College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life - and what comes after - that would change his world forever.

A riveting story about love and loss, about growing up and growing old - and about those who don't get to do either because death comes for them before their time. It is at once a mystery, a horror story, and a bittersweet coming-of-age novel, one that will leave even the most hard-boiled reader profoundly moved.

285 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Stephen King

2,527 books827k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 15,018 reviews
Profile Image for Nataliya.
781 reviews12.4k followers
April 25, 2023
You gotta agree - Stephen King can tell a story like few others can.

Maybe it's because he can see the world in the way most of us do not, and then grants us the privilege to experience it through his eyes for a few hundred pages - the world that can be unsettling and scary and fascinating and different in subtle little ways that change the way you view it - at least for a little while.

Add to it that Stephen King also can do nostalgia like no other (well, perhaps excluding Bradbury - and there are very Bradbury-esque notes in this book about a carnival an amusement park) - nostalgia not really for a specific place or a specific time period but rather for being young and idealistic and resilient and yet fragile, cynical and innocent at the same time; making the readers long for something they have all experienced or will yet experience - even if their own experiences were (or will be) nothing like what King talks about.

It's really the longing for youth from the distance of years, wistful and melancholic, seen through the sharp and yet distorted lenses of a few decades passed, with the hope and bittersweetness and gentle quiet regret that such look into the long-ago can bring; the glance into the time that seemed simpler and more innocent because you back then were simpler and more innocent and vulnerable yourself.
"When you're twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It's only when you get to be twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect you've been looking at the map upside down, and not until you're forty are you entirely sure. By the time you're sixty, take it from me, you're fucking lost."
And add to it his knack for truly fantastic, amazing characterization, creating in the pages of his stories people that are alive, real, recognizable (for better or for worse); characters that inhabit the settings that with a few casual phrases turn hauntingly real, come alive from the paperback pages - and here, dear reader, we have Joyland.
"That fall was the most beautiful of my life. Even forty years later I can say that. And I was never so unhappy, I can say that, too."

Devin Jones is a poor college student with a newly broken heart and "such a really bad case of the twenty-ones", taking up a summer job at Joyland amusement park in North Carolina in the time when banning smoking at such venues was a strange new thing. He is young, charmingly naive, and unhappy - and a carny life could do him some good (granted, this life, unbeknownst to him, also comes with an old unsolved murder mystery and some ghosts, and a kid with supernatural ability, and a deranged mysterious serial killer).

It's a setup for a coming-of-age story, a few life-changing months that are impossible to forget - and such it is (but a *King* version - think The Body rather than David Copperfield), but told by King in his trademark casual 'Uncle Stevie' voice full of effortless grasp of perfect storytelling it grows and comes to life.

And suddenly we can see and hear the hot summer days, and the creaking of the giant Ferris wheel operated by the friendly Lane Hardy, and the happy screams of children as Howie the Hound (played with unexpected happiness by a twenty-one-year-old unhappy and brooding kid in his spare time listening to The Doors and entertaining suicidal thoughts while nursing his first real heartbreak), and the shrieks coming from the Horror House - rumored to be haunted by a girl with a blue Alice band - manned by a surly Eddie Parks who always wears gloves, even in summer heat, and the happy barks of a dog and happy voice of a young boy watching the kite fly up into the sky, and a kiss from a lovely girl who is no more than a friend, and the groaning of the Spin in the storm, and the eyes of a maniac, and beach fire and beer and smores, and the excited buzz of the crowds in Joyland - an amusement park (or, really, more of an overgrown carnival that knows it has not that much longer left) that, after all, as its owner knows very well, sells fun.

And we see the humanity of his characters shine like you wouldn't believe.
"All I can say is what you already know: some days are treasure. Not many, but I think in almost every life there are a few. That was one of mine, and when I'm blue -- when life comes down on me and everything looks tawdry and cheap, the way Joyland Avenue did on a rainy day -- I go back to it, if only to remind myself that life isn't always a butcher's game. Sometimes the prizes are real. Sometimes they are precious."
Joyland appears to have been presented as a crime story, a noir novel complete with a cover (a redheaded bombshell in a skimpy green dress, eyes wide and mouth open in an exaggerated shocked surprise) that is designed to help it seamlessly blend in with other occupants of a gas station cheap paperback rack.

But it's not a crime noir story, nossir, trust me. And it's not a 'typical' King novel in a way media and those only marginally familiar with King think of his works. But, on the other hand, it is a 'classic' King, really - the one who has penned Shawshank and The Body and 11/22/63 - the one who transcends his pidgeonholed role as the King of Horror, the one who knows that it's the depths of the human nature that make life both terrifying and wonderful, the one who takes the trip down the Memory Lane and brings us a story of people being shaped by seemingly small events that happen around them.

And this is the thing about this book - it's not about the horror (there's none; the scary things are the everyday things that happen to people - death, loss, loneliness) or the mystery (the murder story is pushed so far into the background it almost fades out of sight) or the supernatural (it's hiding in the background right next to murder mystery). It's simply a book about people. It's about getting into Devin Jones's head and taking a life experience alongside him through the eyes of his older self, seeing him change and grow a bit at a time, and missing a part of us we left behind when we had to grow up, too.

At under 300 pages, this book is a tiny offering compared to King's as of late habitual door-stoppers, and it could have easily been developed more, stretched out to greater lengths and depths exploring the paranormal bits that have largely taken the backseat, exploring more of Mike and Annie's stories, bringing the murder mystery closer to the forefront, exploring more of the noir-ish promise the purposefully tacky book cover promised. Yes, it could have done all of that in the "usual" King fashion, yes.

But you know what? I'm glad he left it at this compact size, choosing instead to simply focus on a story of a young unhappy man coming into his own over a few months in the shadow of an amusement park where they "sell fun", playing Howie the Happy Hound on suffocatingly hot summer days (fifteen-minute shifts only!), looking at the world from the top of the Spin, thinking about the ghost in the Horror House while nursing his broken heart the way only the young can, flying a kite once a while, and all throughout going through the little subtle changes that bring you into the rest of your life, into adulthood, away from Joyland, into a world with sharp edges and hard corners.
"When it comes to the past, *everyone* writes fiction."
True, but few can do it as scarily well as King.

Almost perfect.
And you don't even have to be a fan to appreciate it. Trust me.

Also posted on my blog.
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,308 reviews2,192 followers
April 10, 2014
If I ever were to meet Stephen King, I imagine that the conversation would go something like this:

A: Mr. King, what a pleasure it is to meet you. I’m glad to have this opportunity because I owe you an apology.

SK: An apology? We don’t even know each other. Why would you need to apologize to me?

A: I’m sorry for avoiding your books all of these years and for thinking that you were a one dimensional author who only wrote horror stories. I’m sorry that it took me so long to discover your wonderful writing and that you didn’t write just horror stories.

SK: How did you come to that revelation?

A: It was in 2011, when I read some wonderful reviews about your new book 11/22/63. It was so appealing to me – a time travel story about saving President Kennedy. So I read my first book by you and fell in love with your writing, with the story and with Jake. It wasn’t just about the possibility of saving JFK, it was a beautiful love story.

SK: So glad to hear that you enjoyed 11/22/63.

A: I owe you another apology for waiting three years to read another one of your books. I have just read Joyland and once again love the story and the characters. I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to read it – it’s a mystery and a bit of a ghost story and I am not really a fan of those kinds of books. But this story is about much more than that. It’s about young man who learns a lot about life and who he really is; it’s about the first time your heart is broken. It’s about friendship, and an extraordinary little boy named Mike. I felt as if I really knew these people. I want to thank you for taking me to Joyland.
I probably won’t read the horror stories, but I am going to make a point of looking for your other books that are not horror stories. Can you forgive me?

SK: I’ll have to think about it.

A: By the way, I understand that you are a big Red Sox fan. Me,too! I lived outside of Boston for several years and even though I don’t live there anymore, I’m still a big fan.

SK: A Red Sox fan, huh? Okay , I forgive you.

A: Thank you so much, Mr. King
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,534 reviews9,937 followers
August 2, 2017

OMG! I love this King book! I had a feeling I might just from reading the synopsis of the book. It just blew me away! I loved the atmosphere of the carnival. I fell in love with Devin, Tom, Erin, Mike, Milo, Annie and a few other side characters.

I felt like I was in the book with each one of them and I could see all of the old carny rides and amusements. I could feel the old mystery of the girl that was killed. I wish they would make this into a movie, but do it right! It as to be to a T from the book and it has to have the old time feel when you walk inside the carnival gates.

I'm soooooo glad Dev got over that jerk Wendy. She was a right ass-hat! But he met so many good friends at the carnival. Oh and I forgot to mention I loved his dad, he was so sweet. I wish he could have come and seen him up at the carnival.

I'm glad Dev took a little time off college to stay at the carnival and get closer to the people he needed to get closer to. It was a turning point in his and a few other lives in the book.

I didn't think the killer was who it turned out to be, but I kept thinking it was someone close. I'm not giving away that spoiler!!

I cried at the end. OMG! It was so bittersweet. I'm not giving away that spoiler either.

I have to say this is going into one of my favorite books sections. I just have my reasons. It's damn good.

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for LTJ.
125 reviews65 followers
May 24, 2023
“Joyland” by Stephen King is an underrated gem that takes you on an emotional ride while being so relatable, it’s incredible. You’re getting a powerhouse of a read that has a horror, mystery, murder, and crime aspect to it. I found it to be pretty mind-blowing that King pulled this off so brilliantly that it kept me guessing all the way to the end while giving me my horror fix.

Before I jump into my review, I wanted to let everyone know about two trigger warnings I found while reading. They’re on suicide/suicidal thoughts and rape but don’t worry, there is nothing descriptive or too graphic with these trigger warnings. If either topic being mentioned while reading triggers you, please don’t read this.

Moving along, considering I’m reading this right before the summer hits the beautiful city of New York, this is a perfect summer read. I loved the authenticity of this novel when it came to that as well as dealing with love and heartbreak as a young adult, especially in long-distance relationships. This hit home with me since I’ve been through similar experiences and the way King wrote “Joyland” totally brought me back to those days as a young adult dealing with all that.

Growing up as a young adult as I’m sure with many others, I loved going to theme parks and carnivals. It was practically a staple every summer and something I looked forward to all the time. I also connected with this novel since it gave me a lot of nostalgia to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the carnival business, the lingo, and everything else in between. Besides the carnival being a huge part of this novel, I absolutely loved the creepiness of the Horror House. Just some wild situations in there that yeah, will send a chill down your spine.

Make no mistake about it, this novel is a genuine page-turner I enjoyed reading deep into the night a few times because it’s that good. Don’t worry, no spoilers here but it’s so addictive that I just couldn’t wait to see what the final reveal was after all that tension and build-up. My goodness, it delivered like you wouldn’t believe. Just when you think you figured it out, King blows your mind and takes you in a completely different direction. The ending was jaw-dropping and then King ends it in a way that words simply can’t describe but I’ll try my best. Your heart will be touched, that’s for damn sure.

The ending to “Joyland” was one of the most amazing and emotional endings I’ve ever read. It’s so good, I re-read it a few times just to envision it. To close my eyes and feel it. It’s that impactful and yeah, it’s something that hits you and will be a bookish moment you will remember for many years to come. I know I will. That was great and makes you cherish similar young adult memories you had since let’s face it, we all have our stories and moments like that. The kind that decades later, we still fondly remember as if it were yesterday.

I give “Joyland” by Stephen King a 5/5 because it’s a masterpiece. King once again delivers in a way only he can. This novel has an array of fantastic characters, a murder mystery that unravels over time, a few laughs, a few gross moments, ghosts, heartbreak, and just checks all the boxes for a perfect summer read. I will never, ever forget this book. Wear the fur!
Profile Image for Bionic Jean.
1,256 reviews1,133 followers
September 10, 2023
The American author Stephen King is one of today's most popular writers of horror and supernatural novels and stories, occasionally branching out into other genres such as science fiction, fantasy, or factual books. With Joyland, published in 2013, he has once again tried his hand at a crime novel. As with his first novel of this type, it was published by "Hard Case Crime" who specialise in crime fiction by both established and new authors who write hardboiled crime novels. Some of their books by well-known authors are published under pseudonyms. Some are what the publishers call "lost noir masterpieces ... by golden-age pulp stars", books which conjure up a nostalgic feeling of the paperback crime novels of the 1940s and 1950's.

In some ways this one fits the imprint's theme quite well. The cover Art implies pulp fiction, and although the novel is not exactly that, there are no surprises. The story is fairly formulaic, and it has to be said, rather dull. It is doubtful whether this would have got a large readership had it not had Stephen King's name attached.

The novel is told by the protagonist in flashback. Devin Jones is remembering the time back in 1973, when he was a gauche college student at the University of New Hampshire. He took a summer job at a small struggling and dingy amusement park called "Joyland" in North Carolina, hoping to get over his first love. Apparently Stephen King has said that "Joyland" is based on the real life "Canobie Lake Park", an amusement park in Salem. The first section deals with the history of Devin's failed relationship with the girl who broke his heart. For the first quarter of the book, this reads like a routine coming-of-age story.

There is a lot about Joyland, and the "carny" people who work there. The reader is introduced to a lot of the "talk the talk" slang language which the carnies use, sometimes so that the people using the amusement park will not understand them. Fairly soon, Devin is given some information by a fortune teller, which he half believes. The other running theme in the book is that there was a brutal murder of a young woman in "the haunted house", the one spooky ride in the park, several years earlier, and that her ghost is said to still haunt the ride. The murderer has never been caught.

For much of the book, these facts just stay in the background. We learn more about Devin's emerging friendship with his fellow summer workers, Tom and Erin, with whom he shares lodgings in a boarding house. There are descriptions of a handful of other staff at the amusements park, carnies, some of whom have been there for many years, others who have toured around.

By now we are halfway through the book. We then meet two new characters, a rather aloof woman, Annie, and her wheelchair bound son, Mike, plus their dog. Earlier the reader had to plod through the details of a sad stereotypical three-pronged friendship. Now the reader has to put their brain out of action yet again. Two suspiciously random facts are thrown into the mix, facts so unlikely that they scream "telegraphed ending" to us.

At this point anyone who has read even a few detective novels may feel by now that the story is not worth the telling - unless the reader is particularly interested in the workings of an amusement park in the 1970's. Even the period feel is not particularly vivid. There are few details which convey the time - no references to music, nothing about current events, no details about fashions, TV programmes, fad foods of the time - at one point a microwave oven was used, which is a bit of an anachronism for a hard-up student in 1973. There seems to have been no attempt to invoke any nostalgia, or atmosphere, which is rather a missed opportunity. Neither is there any suspense at all, until nearing the end.

Apparently the author reports that 20 years previously he had seen a boy in a wheelchair flying a Jesus kite on a beach, and that image stayed with him until he wrote this story. In the novel Devin teaches the boy Mike to fly a kite, and the metaphor for flying, for being free of his wheelchair shackles, is rather heavy-handed. Devin also begins to get closer to the woman who had seemed so reserved, and although she is quite a lot older and very protective of her child, a sort of intimacy grows up between them, which helps him to cope with his lost love.

They both realise that the son has remarkable powers of second sight. Of course he has. It's almost inevitable that a child who is destined to die young will have inexplicable supernatural and psychic powers in a book such as this. It wouldn't be very surprising if he could levitate or walk on water.

Approaching the end, some tension does begin to build up, although the hero being trapped with the murderer The ending is entirely predictable. It even takes place as a storm rages overhead.

This is a book which passes the time. It is reasonably well written; Stephen King has not become a best-selling author of over 50 novels without knowing a thing or two about story-telling. There is a mystery, but it is very low-key. There is some emotional content; some attempt to make the main character grow through his experiences of love and loss, but the characters are all rather shallow, superficial descriptions of small town people. There is no real puzzle, and the denouement is rather pedestrian rather than gripping. It would possibly have made a better short story than a novel. There is a lot of padding about carny in the novel. It is an odd choice for the collection, as it is not particularly hardboiled; there is no cynicism on Devin's part, nor is he a detective.

In the end it is corny rather than carny. And perhaps this was entirely intentional.

(Oh, and by the way, don't wait around for the scene on the cover. It never actually happens.)
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,963 followers
February 29, 2016
There’s a ghost that appears in the haunted house ride of an amusement park in the 1970s? Jinkies! Is this a Hard Case Crime book or an episode of Scooby-Doo?

Actually, it’s a Stephen King novel. And as we found out the last time Uncle Stevie wrote a book for the HCC line he doesn’t have a problem with blurring the line between crime and supernatural. Since HCC needs all the help it can get I’m pretty sure nobody bitched too much when he turned this one in.

Devin Jones is a struggling college kid looking for a summer job in 1973, and he lands a position at Joyland, a third rate amusement park in North Carolina. Poor Devin gets dumped by his first love shortly after starting work, and he spends a good part of the summer brooding over his broken heart. But it’s not all bad. Devin enjoys the atmosphere at Joyland which is populated with colorful carnies who show him the ropes, and he manages to make some friends as well as develop a talent for entertaining kids. The park has a dark side in its haunted house where a young woman was once murdered, and her killer was never caught. Some claim to have seen her ghostly form. Zoinks!

As a Stephen King story this is pretty good. It’s told from the perspective of older Devin looking back to a summer of his younger days and King has the melancholy tone of faded youth down cold. Devin’s a likable character, and the ghost in the spook house thing isn’t overdone. It mostly hangs in the background as Devin tries to get over being dumped and learning the carnie trade. It’s obvious that the behind-the-scenes stuff at the amusement park is the idea that King really got into and he even goes so far as to create a whole bunch of carnie lingo on top of the actual stuff he used.

The early ‘70s setting gives the whole thing a bit of vintage charm although there are more than a few seemingly anachronistic tidbits. Were microwave ovens available and affordable enough then that a kindly landlady would have one? Were fruit smoothies a regular breakfast beverage back then? Wikipedia tells me that it’s possible, but it really doesn’t feel like they’d be commonplace. Plus, I really had a hard time believing that the owner is so forward thinking as to ban smoking in his amusement park.

Devoted Hard Case Crime fans might grumble that this isn’t really a crime story. While Devin is fascinated by the ghost story and has a friend dig up some research on the murder for him there’s really no active effort by him to try and solve the case. It’s really more of a bittersweet coming of age story with a little murder and spooky happenings around the edges and providing a wrap-up.

Still, it’s an entertaining tale in an off-beat setting with one of the most famous story tellers of our time. It’d be a great diversion to read while you’re standing in line to get on a rollercoaster.

Also posted at Shelf Inflicted.
Profile Image for Stephanie *Eff your feelings*.
239 reviews1,231 followers
December 31, 2013
Now I know how Neil DeGrasse Tyson felt while he watched the movie Gravity.

I give Joyland three stars as far as story goes, and a one star when I take into consideration that Stephen got everything wrong about how amusement parks are run. He obviously did zero research. The most believable thing in this book is the ghost part, but I know the vast majority of you out there did not spend twenty odd years hopping around the United States working in amusement parks like I did, and therefore would not be bothered by the stuff that bugged me, but damn it, he couldn’t have asked a question or two??

College student Devin Jones finds himself at loose ends at the close of the school year in 1973. He finds a job at a small amusement park in an equally small town in North Carolina in which he does every job in the park (insane). While running around like a mad man doing all the jobs, he finds that he also has to add ‘ghost hunter’ to the list while he was doing ‘something’ in the haunted house ride.

He meets a MILF that has a disabled son and a very cute Jack Russell and mom is a sharp shooter that won the big shooting competition at Camp Perry in Port Clinton, Ohio. I find this interesting because Camp Perry is 15 minutes from my house, it really does exist, so he got that right, and there really is a big shooting completion held there.

Now I’m going to rant about stuff you probably don’t care about. But I have to do it. I’m sorry.

If Stephen had set this in a carnival all would have been fine, but amusement parks are not carnivals.

College students DO work at amusement parks, old carnies do not.

People who work in A.P. do not have a special lingo.

A.P. s have departments. Merchandise, ride operators, food, maintenance, finance, concessionaires, ride maintenance….ect. When a person is hired for the season, they are put into a department and they remain within it. I know Stephen went on the same assumption that most people do, and that is when a person is hired into an amusement park that person jumps around to all the jobs in the park from day to day. One day you’re drawing caricatures, the next you are running a roller coaster, followed by making corn dogs the next…..what? I know most people think this is the case because I would get asked the question “So, is this the only place you work? or do you move around the park and run the rides and stuff?” Several times a day, every day. I don’t get it, but I can forgive the masses for thinking this, but not Stephen King. Research.

Costume characters do not go out without a guide person. Vision is quite limited in those giant heads. Without someone to lead them, those creepy characters could take out a kid or ten. Also, getting hit in the nether regions is a common occurrence; they need someone to watch out for possible injuries.

A front gate photo person (Hollywood girls) would quit their job within an hour if forced to wear high heels whilst standing on concrete in the boiling hell of North Carolina in the summer time. Then she would put said heel in her managers’ eye on the way out of park. Besides, the photographic technology did not exist for such an operation in 1973.

A non smoking park in North Carolina (especially) wouldn't have existed in 1973. If it did, it would die.

Seasonal amusement parks did not remain open on weekends past Labor Day (especially the small ones) in 1973. Not being a Disney or a Cedar Point, they were not destination parks, so there was no point. Only when the Halloween Weekends (spooky themed weekends) became all the rage did staying open until the end of October became the norm. That started in the early 2000’s.

I'm very disappointed. *Sigh*….I’m sure there was more, but rant over. Stephanie out.
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,133 followers
July 10, 2019
I am not sure what bubble I was living in that I hadn't heard about Stephen King's new book JOYLAND, so it was just luck that the day it was released, I just happened to in the book store browsing. The cover shouted out "look at meeeee!!!" I quickly grabbed a copy off the shelf, and thought to myself, "Mine, mine, mine!" When I finally got around to reading it, I was not disappointed...

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This was one of those Stephen King books that made me feel like I was sitting on the front porch on a warm Summer night, sipping lemonade, listening to my grandfather/father/or favorite uncle talk about one of the adventures of his youth.

JOYLAND is the story- set in the innocent 1970s,- of college student Devin Jones who spends his summer working at an amusement park as he attempts to overcome the crushing blow of his first experience with heartbreak. Along the way he meets an interesting cast of characters, and because this IS of course-a Stephen King novel- he also learns that one of the rides -The House of Horrors- harbors a sinister past, and the ghost of the murdered girl is said to haunt the place. The “Funhouse Killer” was never discovered and Devin becomes curious about her story and is determined to solve the case.

This is the perfect book for people that have been thinking about reading Stephen King, but have never wanted to tackle one of his 600+page novels. It is a coming of age story with a mystery, supernatural elements, a little romance, and a main character I was sad to leave behind.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,412 reviews35.2k followers
April 12, 2018
Joyland by Stephen King

Joyland is not a typical Stephen King book. If you are looking for horror, supernatural gore, scary clowns, vampires, fire setters or children who come back from the dead, or any other really scary parts - you will not find them in this book. This book is not like the typical books Stephen King wrote in the 80''s.

I had not read a Stephen King book in many years prior to picking this book up. Don't let the cover turn you off, this book is a jem! It is a mystery, and a unique coming of age story. Another great book by Stephen King. He is a fantastic storyteller and he has done a great job telling this story. I often go years without reading a King book, but when I do, I am always reminded about just how gifted a writer he is.

First I will start off this review by stating that I think this is a great book to read for those who have never read Stephen King before, for those who do not like horror novels or being scared. This is Stephen King doing what he does best - tell a story. This is the Stephen King whose Novella "The Body" inspired the movie "Stand by Me", This is the Stephen King who wrote the novella "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" which inspired the movie The Shawshank Redemption. This is also the Stephen King who wrote "The Green Mile" which inspired the movie by the same name.

Joyland is not a typical Stephen King book. If you are looking for horror, supernatural gore, scary clowns, vampires, fire setters or children who come back from the dead, or any other really scary parts - you will not find them in this book. This book is not like the typical books Stephen King wrote in the 80''s (or since then).

I had not read a Stephen King book in many years prior to picking this book up. Don't let the cover turn you off, this book is a jem! It is a mystery, and a unique coming of age story. This book is about love and loss, growing old and those who never get to grow old. Stephen King is a fantastic storyteller and he has done a great job telling this story. His characters in this book are well developed as is the plot which has a couple of twists and turns. The story is told from the perspective of an older man looking back on a pivotal summer of his life.

Devin Jones, a college student, takes a summer job at Joyland hoping to recover from a broken heart. But as it turns out Joyland was once the scene of a viscous murder and a ghost of the murdered girl sometimes haunts a popular ride at the park. Intrigued, Devin sets out to solve the murder. Over the course of the summer he also meets a young mother with a dying child. This summer and it's revelations will change his life forever.

This is a smaller book by King. Well worth the read. I think this book will surprise readers who have not liked King in the past or who do not like horror.

Read more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
Profile Image for Tina Loves To Read.
2,528 reviews1 follower
May 27, 2023
This is a Young Adult Horror Suspense Mystery. I do not think this is super scary. I use to collection and read books written by Stephen King when I was in high school, and I cannot remember when I stopped reading Stephen King books. This year I made a small goal of picking up Stephen King books again. This is the first Stephen King book I picked up in years, and I really loved this book. I did not see the twist. This book was all about finding who killed the girl in the fun house at joyland. I would not say this book was super scary, so if you are reading this book to be scared then this is not the book for you. I really loved the characters in this book.
April 19, 2022
I’m guilty of calling books a ‘wild ride’, but this was quite literally a wild ride! So, if you get your hands on this book, be sure to buckle in and enjoy. 🎢
After really enjoying ‘Later’ from Stephen King (also part of Hard Case Crime), I wanted to read his two others Joyland and The Colorado Kid which I have coming up a few books from now.
I’ve always thought it would be interesting to read a book that has a few different genres combined in one book. Movies never work with multiple genres (have you SEEN Sharknado?), so I thought maybe a book could pull that off way better. Leave it to King!! 🙌🏼
With a mix of horror, thriller and contemporary, Joyland has you feeling the feels AND the spine tingles. The setting was great and gives awesome imagery to make it seem like you’re at a theme park. I’ve never craved chili dogs so many days in a row in my life. 😂 There we’re multiple interactions between the main character, Devin, and a little boy that really tugs on those heartstrings and those were some of my favorite scenes in the book. The ‘thrilling’ aspect of the book was good but a bit corny (corndoggy?), yet still enjoyable and believable.
A long time ago (almost 10 years ago now) , I used to work at DisneyWorld in Orlando as a character attendant. The scenes where Devin worked as Howie the Happy Hound were completely reminiscent of my days getting Winnie the Pooh and Tigger stage ready. It was fun to read about and made me super nostalgic about those days!
Good ‘Ol Uncle Stevie does it again. 👏🏼
Profile Image for Arah-Lynda.
337 reviews532 followers
February 26, 2017
JoyLand is a slow burn of a book and that was alright by me. I love getting to know King’s characters and Devin Jones is no exception. He’s our young, intelligent narrator, burning with the passion and enthusiasm of youth; he is also healing a broken heart, his first, when he signs up to work at the carnival.

This is a Hard Case Crime file so one would expect a murder or two and there is, except it happened years ago and remains unsolved. While never really taking center stage through most of the book, this crime remains a backdrop to the story being told, one that is never forgotten but somehow seems to thrive in the shade, where Jonesy and his new friends are coming of age: it waits quietly, constantly there, carefully camouflaged in shades of fear.

If you are looking for fast paced, adrenaline fuelled horror, look away, but remember this is King, who spins a good yarn and we are at a carnival; you do the math. As for me, like my Doyl every time I get the brush; I lapped up every stroke.

And I fell in love with Mike, who wouldn’t? And his little dog Milo too.

I like the fact that it was told from a distant perspective, as a recollection of events past, the ones that shaped Dev’s 21st year of life.

After all………When it comes to the past, everyone writes fiction.

My goodreads friend Brandon Sears, in his review of this same work, says Stephen King is like literary comfort food. I couldn’t agree more, in fact, I wish I’d said that.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
671 reviews4,285 followers
July 12, 2019
"I'm not sure anybody ever gets completely over their first love, and that still rankles. Part of me still wants to know what was wrong with me. What I was lacking. I'm in my sixties now, my hair is gray and I'm a prostate cancer survivor, but I still want to know why I wasn't good enough for Wendy Keegan."

In the summer of 1973, a student named Devin Jones takes a job at Joyland, a North Carolina amusement park. Shortly after his arrival, his girlfriend finishes their relationship and breaks his heart. In an attempt to forgot about the girl, he quickly becomes engrossed in an unsolved murder that happened in Joyland a number of years ago. He also meets a young woman and her dying child, and begins to learn a lot more than he first anticipated he would at Joyland.

I've been on such a great run recently with King books, and this one was no exception. From the very first page, I was drawn in and constantly writing down quotes in my little notebook. It literally felt like this book was speaking to me personally. The sense of nostalgia and the loss of your first love is overpowering. It's a sweet look back on the heartache and self-doubt that comes with such a loss.

The plot itself at Joyland was possibly a tad predictable at times, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable. The characters themselves were some of the most likeable King has ever written - Devin himself, Annie and Mike. I wanted to spend more time with them, but I also feel like a lot of the charm of this book is in the fact that's it's relatively short and sweet. Devin is a good man, sweet, dependable, reliable. Wendy Keegan is a goddamn fool for breaking up with him! You can tell from the very beginning that he is just a lovely guy, and his relationship with both Annie and Mike is a perfect example of this.

This is a great book to suggest to people who are possibly interested in reading King, but don't like horror. It's a murder mystery essentially, with a teeny tiny bit of horror. This feels like King at his best, you can almost imagine yourself being in Joyland with Devin that year. He creates a world for you and then invites you to step into it and immerse yourself in it.

My only complaint really is how predictable the story felt at times, and given that I just don't think it's on the same level as my more recent reads, I'm going to deduct a star and give it 4 stars out of 5! A quick, fun read. The perfect read for summer!
Profile Image for BookHunter محمد.
1,430 reviews3,343 followers
October 2, 2022

عندما تكون في الحادية و العشرين من العمر تكون الحياة خارطة طريق. و لن تبدأ بالارتياب بأنك تنظر إلى الخارطة رأسا على عقب إلا عندما تبلغ سن الخامسة و العشرين. و لن تتأكد من الأمر تماما إلا عندما تبلغ عامك الأربعين. و عندما تبلغ الستين من العمر. ثق بي. تكون قد تُهت.
أنت يا من بسن الحادي و العشرين أو لم تصل إليه بعد. أنت ما زلت في أرض السعادة فاحرص على أن تستمتع بوقتك فالأمر غالبا لن يطول. خذها من رجل كهل مثلي و من الكينج ستيفن فقد صدقناك القول. عند الخامسة و العشرين ستبدو كمن أدرك حقيقة ما و لكن بصورة ضبابية غائمة و كأنك صحوت من حلم جميل و لم تستيقظ بصورة كاملة بعد و تخشى أن تستيقظ على الواقع أيا كان و عند الأربعين ستتأكد تماما أنك فقدت البوصلة و أن أكثر من نصف القرارات المصيرية في حياتك كانت لتختلف تماما لو كنت بمثل هذا النضج من قبل. أما الستين فلا يسعني أن أصفه لك فما زالت هي محطتي غير الوشيكة و التي لا أدرك أن كنت سأصل إليها أم سأتعثر في الطريق.
قصة الفتى دِفين الذي هجرته حبيبته فجأة و بدون وداع من أجل حبيب أخر لديه ما يكفي لتقصير الطريق عليها. ينخرط دفين في العمل في الأجازة الصيفية في ملاهي جويلاند ثم تتوالي الأحداث التي تلازم مخيلته طوال حياته.
عمل ممتع من أعمال كينج و إن كان متوسط المستوى و ليس بالعمق المعتاد في شخصياته فلم يغص كثيرا في نفسيات أبطاله كما يفعل دائما باستثناء دفين بطل القصة.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,454 followers
August 10, 2016

Written for the Hard Case Crime line of paperback novels, Stephen King's Joyland may look like a duck -- with its tantalizing pulp cover making promises of sex and violence -- but it definitely doesn't quack. In fact, it's another kind of animal altogether, a coming of age tale tinged with the bittersweet tang of nostalgia and the wistful remembrances of what was and what might have been.

This isn't new territory for King. Anyone who's read him at all knows that this is his stomping ground and when he's firing on all cylinders, nobody does it better. It isn't done badly here either (there are some great passages filled with humor and insight), it's just that the effort and subsequent result feel lackluster overall. The characters are fleshed out just enough to move the story along and give King some hooks to hang his "looking back on it now" philosophizing, but stacked up against King's pantheon of memorable characters, the ones found in the pages of Joyland are easily forgotten (at least by me).

I almost think this little book suffers from the schism of an identity crisis. King has in his hands a paranormal crime plot replete with a garish 1970's amusement park setting haunted by the ghost of a murdered young woman. This being Hard Case Crime, I was keen to get King's take on hard-boiled noir or just full on pulp. I looked forward to sensationalist violence, cheap thrills and snappy, stylistic dialogue (and no, sorry Uncle Stevie, but you don't win any points for injecting the patter of carny speak on every other page).

King can't stop himself from telling an entirely different kind of story about a young man with a broken heart and his extended summer spent growing up and getting on. It's a story of emotions and memories and the metaphor of a flying kite and the panoramic view from a giant Ferris wheel. It's 80% middle-aged navel-gazing and youthful angst. The other 20% consisting of uncovering the identity of a murderous predator and revealing the details behind a haunting feel tacked on as afterthoughts. In this case, for Hard Case, I would have much rather seen those ratios reversed.

Another problem I had

Still, while it wasn't the novel I wanted or expected, Joyland is a sweet story, a little maudlin in places, but enjoyable nevertheless. Constant Readers will take pleasure in immersing themselves for a little while in a Kingscape that feels both familiar and satisfying.

It's good people, it's just not all that it's quacked up to be.

This review has also been posted to Busty Book Bimbo
Profile Image for Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh.
167 reviews511 followers
August 6, 2014
4 ½ stars All you King fans out there are going to read this anyway. Go for it, be a *Rube, its worth the price of admission. For anyone else who's curious about all the kerfuffle over King, maybe test the waters with this. No, it’s not his best but it’s pretty great. It’s short, leans towards paranormal rather than horror in case horror isn’t your thing, and you gotta love that hardcore pulp-fiction cover!
Tons of suspense, the mystery of beautiful women being murdered to unravel, a plot that moves and characters written with sensitivity, you'll care about them. Best of all and the star of this novel though– a fabulous 70’s Carny setting.
* Rubes: Carny lingo for customers, they gotta leave with smiles on their faces. “They’re rabbits, nice plump fun-loving rabbits, hopping from ride to ride and shy to shy instead of from hole to hole.”

Favorite quote: “When you’re twenty-one, life is a roadmap. It’s only when you get to be twenty-five or so that you begin to suspect you’ve been looking at the map upside down, and not until you’re forty are you entirely sure. By the time you’re sixty, take it from me, you’re f_cking lost.”

Ah The King: Haven’t picked up one of his books in years, guess I overdosed on him when I was younger. He’s improved with age. The same spare style but with more confidence –it’s like the man has reached this point where he’s got nothing to prove to anyone but himself, that he’s still the master at delivering entertaining stories - no literary honours in the cards and he could care less. Keep 'em coming King!

Meanderings: I’ve had some interesting jobs (I’ll try anything) Considered applying at the Carny when young, visualized myself working the night shift running the scariest ride on the midway. Something intensely exciting about the lights, the smells, the crush of people – and that beautiful intermingling of full blast rock 'n roll accompanied by screams of terror. Not sure what stopped me - ended up picking cherries instead...Reading this I got to live that fantasy vicariously.
“I’ve done a lot of jobs in the years since then, but I never felt so weirdly happy, so absolutely in-the-right-place, as I did when I was twenty-one, wearing the fur and doing the Hokey Pokey on a hot day in June.
Seat of the pants, baby.”
Cover painting by Glen Orbik– link to the artist’s website – worth checking out:) "http://www.orbikart.com/gallery/"
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
May 19, 2022
Joyland, Stephen King

Joyland is King's second book for the imprint, following The Colorado Kid. Devin Jones takes a summer job 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. The first half of the story is sweet and of course with threatening signs. The second half, the thrilling book, and the reader are confronted with a complete murder mystery.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز هفدهم ماه می سال2022میلادی

عنوان: شهربازی؛ نویسنده استفن (استیون) کینگ ؛ مترجم: زهرا چفلکی؛ تهران، انتشارات روزگار؛ سال1400؛ در282ص؛ شابک9786222331702؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده21م

داستان «دوین جونز» است، مردی که در یک کارناوال مشغول به کار می‌شود؛ اما اشتباه نکنید،‌ داستان این‌قدرها هم ساده نیست، و بوی وحشت و خون از این داستان به مشام می‌رسد! «استیون کینگ» داستان «شهربازی» را در یک شهر کوچک در «کارولینای شمالی» و در سال1973میلادی بازگشایی می‌کنند؛ داستانی که در آن «وین جونز» دانشجوی کالج، می‌خواهد در تعطیلات تابستان سر کار برود؛ او که به تازگی شکستی عشقی را تجربه کرده، حال خوبی ندارد؛ سر کار رفتن او نیز با رویدادهایی ناباورانه همراه است، از آنجمله هستند: «روبرو شدن با میراث یک قتل شرورانه»، «مواجهه با یک کودک در حال مرگ»، «گرفتاری دانشجویان در دستان قاتلی دیوانه» و بسیاری از رویدادهای دیگر، که خواب را از چشمانتان می‌ربایند؛ «شهربازی» را می‌توان یکی از دیگرگونه ترین آثار «استیون کینگ» دانست؛ نیمه‌ ی نخست داستان شیرین و البته همراه با نشانه‌‌ هایی تهدید آمیز است؛ نیمه‌ی دوم، کتاب هیجان انگیز، و خوانشگر با یک معمای قتل کامل روبرو میشود؛ کلاف سردرگمی که هر چه تلاش کنید، نمی‌توانید از آن سر در بیاورید؛ چرا که نویسنده چنین می‌خواهند! این اثر نخستین بار در سال2013میلادی منتشر شده و یکی از جذاب‌ترین رمان‌های «استیون کینگ» است که ناقدان آثار از آن پیشواز کرده‌ اند

نقل از متن: (دور و بَر ساعت‌های پنج که از شهربازی برمی‌گشتم «گاهی کمی دیرتر می‌آمدم؛ در خلیج بهشت هیچ‌کس منتظرم نبود؛ انگار شهر با تمام شدن ��صل تابستان، آماده‌ ی عزیمت به خواب زمستانی می‌شد.» سایه‌ام روی آب قدم می‌زد؛ اگر دریا موج می‌خورد، سایه می‌لرزید و دور خودش چرخ می‌زد؛ انگار هولا هولا‌ می‌رقصید؛ با اینکه کاملاً مطمئن نیستم اما به نظرم برای اولین بار آن پسر بچه، زن و سگشان را در همان پیاده‌ روی‌ها دیدم؛ ساحلی که بین شهر و وسایل چشمک‌زن شهربازی فاصله می‌انداخت، با چند ردیف خانه‌ ی ساحلی و تابستانی تزیین شده بود، خیلی از خانه‌ های ساحلی شیک و گران‌قیمت بودند، اما بیشترشان بعد از روز کارگر، تخلیه شدند؛ این که می‌گویم ربطی به بزرگ‌ترین خانه‌ی ساحلی نداشت؛ آن خانه مثل یک قلعه‌ی چوبی سبز به نظر می‌رسید، پیاده‌رو باریکی از پانسیون بزرگ پشت خانه جدا شده و به سمت گیاهان دریایی و شن‌های سفید ساحل می‌رفت، انتهای پیاده‌رو، میز پیک‌نیکی قرار داشت که آفتابگیر ساحلی سبز رنگی روی آن سایه می‌انداخت؛آن پسر با ویلچرش زیر سایه‌ ی آفتابگیر نشسته بود، کلاه بیس‌بال روی سرش گذاشته و با اینکه نزدیک عصر هوا گرم بود، از کمر به پایینش را با پتو پوشانده بود؛ فکر می‌کردم او پنج یا شش ساله باشد؛ دیگر از هفت سال بیشتر نداشت؛ دقیق یادم نیست که سگ، از آن نژاد «جک راسل تریر» روی پاهایش نشسته یا کنار صندلی ولو شده بود؛ زن روی یکی از آن نیمکت‌های میز پیک‌نیک نشسته و گاهی کتابی می‌خواند؛ بیشتر وقت‌ها به آب زل می‌زد؛ زن بسیار زیبایی بود؛ در راه رفتن یا برگشتن، همیشه برای آن‌ها دست تکان می‌دادم، و پسر هم همیشه با تکان دست جوابم را می‌داد؛ زن اینکار را نمی‌کرد؛ حداقل آن اول‌ها اصلاً به من محل نمی‌گذاشت؛ سال1973میلادی بحران نفتی اوپک بود؛ سالی که «ریچارد نیکسون» اعلام کرد کلاه‌بردار نیست؛ سالی که «ادوارد جی رابینسون» و «نوئل کوارد» درگذشتند؛ سال باخت «دوین جونز» بود؛ من جوانی بیست و یک ساله با آرمان‌های ادبیاتی بودم؛ سه جفت ژاکت جین، چهار شورتک کوتاه، یک فورد قدیمی (با رادیوی خوشگلش)، ایده‌های گاه به گاه خودکشی و یک قلب شکسته داشتم؛ که شیرین است، هان؟)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 28/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Kevin Kuhn.
Author 2 books582 followers
February 7, 2019
I read this book on vacation and flew through it in a day. King weaves together teen angst, a violent murder mystery, and the horror of an incurable childhood illness all against the grainy backdrop of an amusement park. The main character Devin is a nice guy, a guy you'd like to hang out with, but a guy that fell a little too hard for his first love, hard enough to have the rare suicide thought drift through his troubled mind. How King, in less than 300 pages, builds out 10 characters, a midway that I can walk though in my minds eye, and 3 or 4 rich plot lines is beyond me. With minimal words, he creates fascinating characters, everyday revelations, and an engrossing story.

I loved this book and man oh man was it the perfect beach novel. This is why King is my favorite.
Profile Image for Alex Duncan.
42 reviews66 followers
July 5, 2013
I've been reading Stephen King since I was a child and this book reminds me of his old stuff. It's really good.
Profile Image for Melissa (Semi-hiatus Very Behind).
4,646 reviews2,106 followers
October 19, 2021
This is a coming of age story with a bit of mystery and a lot of heart. It's not what immediately comes to mind when you think of a Stephen King book, but if you think back to "The Body", you'll know that he's just as good as this type of story as he is with horror.

Devin Jones is a college student in the 1970s who takes a summer job at Joyland, a small family run amusement park in North Carolina. The carnival's "house of horrors" was the scene of the brutal unsolved murder of a young girl many years before, and when the summer comes to an end, Devin's life and the lives of those around him will never be the same again.

I love King's characterization, and this book is no exception. His young adults are incredibly well-drawn and vivid, in both their naivete and their intelligence. Every scene is easy to picture in the reader's head, the carnival and all of its various happenings are so real and visceral.

Although this is one of the Hard Case Crime books by King (The Colorado Kid and Later are two others) I'm not sure I would truly classify this as a crime novel. It's so much more a coming of age story and the examination of the turning point in Devin's life, the crime definitely plays a part in the larger narrative, but overall it's not the focus.

I highly recommend this book, for both King's fans and those who want to get their feet wet with his writing.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,004 reviews10.6k followers
June 17, 2013
On the heels of a breakup, college student Devin Jones takes a summer job at an amusement park, an amusement park haunted by the ghost of a woman murdered on one of the rides. But what does that have to do with a woman and her dying child that Devin meets walking on a beach?

Stephen King throws the Hard Case line another bone with Joyland. Much like The Colorado Kid, it will undoubtedly draw much needed attention to the line despite not being like the other books.

Joyland is the story of Devin Jones trying to get his shit together after being dumped by his girlfriend. What better way to do that than to slave away at a carnival for 12 hours a day? Once Devin learns of the murder, he starts investigating. Well, the investigation is incidental. Mostly he works at the carnival, saving a couple lives along the way and meeting a kid with muscular dystrophy that he takes a liking to, as well as his foxy young mother.

Stephen King's writing is firing on all cylinders in this one and it's a relief that he wrote a story that's less than 800 pages for once. There are some anachronisms but they didn't yank me out of the story. I thought I knew who the killer was but King managed to pull the rug out from under me just before the big reveal.

I liked Devin a lot. He felt like an authentic 21 year old to me, something that a lot of writers can't seem to do. He was also pretty relatable. I think I had an early onset of the 21's and it lasted until I was about 24.

A quick side note: I like that King named a traveling circus after Manly Wade Wellman. I wonder how many people caught that reference.

The only gripe I have with this book is that it doesn't feel like a Hard Case. However, since it will let Hard Case keep the lights on for quite a while with the money it brings in, I'll let Uncle Steve off with a warning this time. Three stars.
Profile Image for Victor.
277 reviews4,734 followers
October 18, 2016
"Bate na minha mão se você é pura animação!"

Eu amei demais esse livro. Achei uma leitura muito gostosa, e apesar de não ser cheeeia de ação nem nada assim, ela flui muito bem. Esse cenário de parque de diversões me encantou (na verdade, já é algo que me deixa fascinado por si só). Senti muita empatia pelo protagonista, e todos os personagens foram maravilhosos, característicos e com a sua cota de "creepyness". É o segundo livro do Stephen que leio nesse formato de "o protagonista já está velho, contando a sua história", e acho isso bem bacana (apesar de tirar um pouco da tensão no sentido de tipo: SERÁ QUE ELE VAI MORRER?).

Gostei muito como o foco acabou sendo em várias situações ao mesmo tempo: o assassinato de Linda, o fantasma dela, o menino na cadeira de rodas, e todas as outras traminhas pequenas ao redor. Impediu que a leitura ficasse monótona (apesar do livro narrar um pouco do dia-a-dia), e deixou tudo mais interessante. Li o livro quase em um dia só, e não conseguia parar. A retratação do término de relacionamento e tentativa de superação dele durante a história também acabou sendo a cereja em cima do bolo. Achei muito bem feito, e inclusive tive aquela sensação de "não sou só eu que sou assim", ao ver algumas coisas em comum com o protagonista.

Acredito que tenha sido o primeiro livro do King que realmente me fez mergulhar no mundo. O cenário é bem pintado, e você consegue imaginar tudo sem dificuldade nenhuma. Ao meu ver, a escrita dele está bem mais leve nesse livro aqui. Realmente muito bom. Recomendado!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
April 22, 2019
I'm kinda embarrassed.

I neglected reading Joyland because it was A: short and B: I didn't think it would be a trademark King.

For the first, I have no excuse. The second is all Shame On Me.

That cover is pure hogwash. The book diverges a bit from the normal SK in that he goes out on a REALLY STRANGE LIMB and writes an MC who doesn't have much in the way of faults. In fact, he's almost godlike the way young Danny Torrence was in the Shining. :) He's a damn good kid. A little depressed and unhappy, perhaps, but he breaks King's mold by being a genuinely decent kid!

*gasp* *shock*

Honestly, I found myself falling in love with this book from the very start and it only got better as it went on. I never really enjoy super-sappy nostalgia novels unless they're tinged with some really cool conflict and stakes, so Bradbury sometimes annoys me, but King? King does dead people with his beautiful memories and treasures and REAL HAPPINESS.

Yeah, King does REAL HAPPINESS here.

*gasp* *shock*

Yeah, no one is more surprised than me. I'm kinda blown away. :)

Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews587 followers
February 10, 2016
Update: 99 cent special today!!!!!


On the back of the bright yellow @ red paperback book by Stephen King, *JOYLAND*, [smack center in RED INK], are the words:

"Life is Not always a Butcher's Game
Sometimes the Prizes Are Real
Sometimes They're Precious" .....

If you've NOT read this WONDERFUL-TREAT-yet --those words above will 'not' have the same 'feeling' to you until you get to page 220 --and read them 'again'. (I dare any human being not to be moved)!

To NOT read this book (heck, takes only a few hours of your time?) -- would be like...
1) never having walked barefoot in the sand on the beach.
2) never having hugged a friend
3) never once baked cookies
4) never once soaked in a hot tub
Profile Image for Jay Schutt.
259 reviews89 followers
July 11, 2019
Alfred Hitchcock once said, "There is no terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it." The bang in this book took a long time coming, but the reading of the anticipation along the way was very enjoyable. A great summer read, or for any time of year for that matter. It didn't read like the usual Stephen King story. It had great flow, was easy to read and was very well-written. Not that his other books aren't. This one just had a different feel. Well done.
Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
498 reviews850 followers
April 1, 2020
I'm abandoning this effort by Stephen King. Published in 2013 by Hard Case Crime, the pulp-styled crime label owned by Titan Books, I picked it up at the library wanting a King book to read and fell in love with the cover art by the legendary Robert McGinnis Glen Orbik. I should've known that redheads are nothing but trouble. The story is set in the 1970s in the aforementioned North Carolina amusement park and is 115 pages of schmaltz and self-indulgence leading up to a whodunit that I never made it to. King might have wanted to hang out in a fun park but gave me no compelling reason to with this story. He breaks one of his own writing rules: "You must not come lightly to the blank page."

What else can I do to entertain myself here?

My favorite TV redhead is Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) from The X-Files.

Who is Robert McGinnis? A cartoonist in the late 1940s, his first cover illustrations appeared in 1956 for True Detective and Master Detective magazines. He produced his first paperback cover in 1958 and never stopped working. The creation of the "McGinnis Woman" often involves long limbs, allure and a sleazy mystique. He became a go-to artists for private dick novels like the Mike Shayne series, the Carter Brown adventures, but Perry Mason as well. His work illustrating movie posters ranged from the James Bond series, Breakfast At Tiffany's, Barbarella and The Odd Couple.

Profile Image for Cathrine ☯️ .
631 reviews349 followers
January 28, 2017
Stephen King wrote this for the Hard Case Crime series which seeks to recreate the flavor of paperback hardboiled crime fiction novels of the 1940s and 50s. Each cover features original cover art in the grand pulp style.

There is an unsolved crime, a previous murder in the horror house, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. The entire time I was reading it I was back at Pacific Ocean Park in Venice Beach California during the 1950/60s. Big mistake eating right before I went on the roller-coaster!
Fair to say if you really want to be scared or creeped out this won’t do it for you. What you will get is excellent writing, main characters that you will really like, and the general feel-good nostalgia of a warm summer day at an amusement park on the pier back in the day. I completely enjoyed the ride.
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