PURCHASE:Amazon | Book Depository
The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out that she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house.
Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.
But Miller has his own connection to the Carver House, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future….
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
This book is far from perfect but I absolutely adored it. When I first dived into this book, I pretty much had no idea what it was about, I remembered reading the blurb and being intrigued but the only concrete detail I remembered was that this book had something to do with woods. I had thought I was diving into a paranormal book, instead I found myself amidst a horror and a well written one at that.
I am not going to say there weren’t loop holes, there were but I think what really matters in a story like this is that the author actually manages to make you the feel the fear the characters felt and I did. I find that I don’t frighten easily (although I startle very easily) but when I was reading this book, I was SO JUMPY. Every time someone opened the door, I would freak out. I am just glad I didn’t scream!
This isn’t some loosely plotted horror novel. The author takes her time to develop aspects of the story. It isn’t just meant to scare the readers but to actually make them feel more than just fear. To make them connect to the main character (as well as the other characters) and to make them cheer for her not just because someone has to survive but because they like her and want her to come out of this alive!
Penny is a very likeable character. You don’t need a likeable character to make a story work but hey likeable characters are… likeable and Penny is likeable. What I think makes her character a little interesting is the way her own doubt can make her some what of an unreliable narrator. My only complain was that we never actually find much about the ‘old’ Penny. We are given hints as to what she was like but we never really find out more about the kind of affect Rae had on her especially given how much the story focuses on the negative impact Rae’s friendship had on Penny. That said, I did adore Penny. She was far from perfect and that made her all the more rootable.
This book doesn’t have any romance (heck yeah) but what it does have is a heep of fantastic secondary characters. My favorite is obviously Rob (who was the stepbrother) but both April and Miller are fantastic in their own right.
April is the stepmother and she can be pushy but the one thing that strikes you about her is that she is genuinely trying to get to know Penny better. I think that’s what gets to Penny too. Her stepmother isn’t the best person on the planet but at least she is trying to reach out to her.
What makes Miller so interesting is how so very abnormal he is. He would be the love interest if this were any other book but he is Miller. I think it’s very interesting to see how he spirals out of control over the course of the book as we find more and more about what has happened to him and the tragedies that he has to live through (and has played an indirect part in).
The author puts so much work into developing the atmosphere of the book and she does it just right. I was genuinely scared and my eyes were glued to the pages. This book is quite frankly, creepy as fuck and I am just incredibly glad I didn’t have nightmares that night.
What makes the horror aspect of this book work so much is that the author actually develops the back story of the events that lead to all this creepy stuff happening. We may not get all the answers but I think in this kind of situation, it’s almost impossible to have all the answers. And anyway, what fun would that be?
One of my complains was that the author didn’t actually give us any details about how they were survivng in the creepy house. Considering they were shunned by the entire town, how were they getting supplies? How were they making their food? Assuming everything works is too much of a stretch considering the condition the house was described to be in so yeah… how were they living?
Aside from that though, I thought this was a very well written story and I cannot wait to read more of the author’s works.
There may be a couple of loop holes but all in all, this book is one hell of a ride and a book I’d recommend to lovers of horror and all things creepy.
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