Author: Katrina Leno
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Owlcrate box
Release Date: September 15, 2020
From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?
After Jane’s father dies, Jane and her mother, Ruth, move across the country to Ruth’s family home in the small town of Bells Hollow. The house has been abandoned since Ruth’s mother died years ago. There is a lot of mystery that surrounds the house, which is avoided by everyone in town. Jane quickly gets settled in her new life, but then she starts hearing things in the house. There are things hidden behind the locked doors, which holds a dark family secret.
I loved the mystery elements of this story. Jane loves Agatha Christie novels, and some were mentioned in the story. These were ones that I had never read, but clues in those stories also tied into the mystery in this book.
The house was quite creepy. Many parts of this story weren’t realistic, so that made the story a little less scary. For example, the roses in the garden continued to grow after being chopped down, which seemed fantastical and took away some of the fear of the house. However, the mystery behind the house was slowly unraveled, which made me keep reading.
The only problem I had with this book is that I had a lot of questions at the end. There were a few loose ends that I would love to know the answers to. At the same time, this adds to the mystery of the story, since some parts are left unsolved.
This was an exciting fantasy and horror novel.
What to read next:
Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin
Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth
Have you read Horrid? What did you think of it?