Written by Danielle Vega
Published by Razorbill, June 4, 2019
My star rating – 4 stars
Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected.
Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first. Find it on Goodreads
I’ve seen Danielle Vega around for a while. I absolutely LOVE horror novels that deal with haunting and paranormal elements! So, naturally, when this showed up as an option to receive as an ARC, I almost jumped out of my skin and yelled YES PLEASE!! Thankfully, this did not disappoint!
Hendrix and her family move to a small town after a traumatizing event. Her parents are fixing up an old house and, when she starts at the local high school, she learns that there were some horrible events that happened there. Steele house was also rumoured to be haunted. Like I said, anything that has to do with a haunting, I am all over like a dirty shirt! And this was done REALLY well! There were times throughout this story where I had goosebumps and I was gripping the pages, turning them as quickly as possible! The descriptions of the haunting makes you want so desperately to look behind you to see if something is there. Oh, and by the way, if you have a cat, I strongly recommend wearing headphones while reading….. if it meows during certain chapters then you may lose you mind and many hours of sleep! I loved the haunting events SO MUCH that they played out in my mind like a movie! She captured all the sights, sounds, smells, and feels, making this an experience that will grab your attention and not let go!
I also loved that there were elements of paganism/Wicca. As a person who has studied both throughout the years, I appreciated the authentic representation. Hendrix doesn’t want to say anything to her parents about what she’s seeing because they’ll chalk it up to PTSD related to the events that caused them to relocate. So she finds her own ways to deal with the ghosts and leans on an unusual person to help her learn more and be rid of them.
Now, let me get to the things I didn’t like quite as much. First thing that comes to mind is – the friend group. All I can say is ugh! They were your typical asshole group of people who think they’re great and look down on others to make themselves feel better. They always found a way to cut you down in such a way that wasn’t direct but made you question yourself and your decisions. Hendrix is new to the school and they technically made her feel welcome. But there was an underlying feeling that they welcomed her only because she was something new and lived in an infamous house in town. They made her feel awful for dealing with her own issues. They even made comments about the way she dressed. I really don’t like this type of person!
The last thing that I had a slight issue with was the fact that she moves into this house, starts experiencing haunting events, and has her friends from school tell her that some seriously awful stuff happened in the house she’s living in…… and she doesn’t ask further! I’m sorry but if someone told me that a murder happened there and it was rumoured to be haunted, I would be asking a million questions and googling the hell out of that! I understand why this happened the way it did though. It prolonged the suspense and allowed us to wonder what happened and learn things as we went along. But this totally reminded me of the girl in horror movies who runs upstairs when she should be running out the front door…..
Now that I’m reading this review back, I noticed that I talked a lot about the things I didn’t like. But, let me tell you, these things didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this book! I read it in just over 24 hours and couldn’t stop reading! I felt that I needed to know what was happening and why. This was a really fast paced and creepy read that brought back my love for all things horror and paranormal!
Especially that ending……… OMG THAT ENDING!!!
Thank you so much to Razorbill and Penguin Random House (Penguin Teen) for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are uninfluenced.
Until next time, happy reading!