Review + Game: Harrison Squared by Darryl Gregory

Review + Game: Harrison Squared by Darryl Gregory
Harrison Squared
by Daryl Gregory

Genres: Horror, Mystery, Young Adult
Publication date: March 24th, 2015
by Tor

Format: Hardcover

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Harrison Harrison—H2 to his mom—is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school.

On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife­wielding killer, and the Deep Ones, fish­-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources—and an unusual host of allies—to defeat the danger and find his mother.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Harrison Squared genuinely surprised me. It’s not that I expected to not enjoy it, but since I hadn’t read a single review for it or even heard much about it besides what I’d gathered from reading the blurb, I had no idea what to expect when I dived in (if you’ve read the book, that statement would amuse you).  I only knew that there was marine biology involved in some way and I was in.

This book is so atmospheric. It’s creepy to the bone, complete with a small town out in the middle of nowhere that seems more like one giant cult and scary (sea) monsters. H2 (aka Harrison Squared or Harrison Harrison) and his mom move out there for a short period of time so that his mom can do some research on a particular sea creature.

H2 starts going to a school where he sticks out like a sore thumb, where no one understands his jokes, and where he has no idea what the kids are learning and doesn’t understand their fancy hand signs but H2, like any curious teenager, digs deeper and he unearths some dark secrets.

H2, for the most part, is an admirable character. He sometimes makes jokes that make me cringe but I liked being inside his head! He was relatable. He has a sense of humor and his loyalty to his (sometimes absent minded) mother makes me smile. His need to dig deep and unearth the secrets also just makes the book so much fun to read because i became so invested in what was happening.

This book also comes with a really fun cast of secondary characters, including a female who *gasp* isn’t the love interest (and I hope it stays that way).

H2 becomes close to one person in particular and that is Lub. Lub was actually a pretty interesting character (not being human and all) although I found it hard to get behind him at times. He taught himself how to read, write and speak English with help from just textbooks and I find that really odd. Also just his ease around humans, or H2 in particular was kind of weird and I wish Lub, as interesting as he was, had been more fleshed out.

H2 also gets to know some of the other kids in town and I liked that their relationship was realistically developed. There are so many differences between H2 and the rest of the kids and it would be really weird if they just loved him from day 1. They are vary of him but over time they get to know him better and while I wouldn’t say they are all friends by the end of the book, there is a sense of companionship, and a friendship that is in it’s initial stages.

I also LOVED H2’s aunt. She is such a fun person and when I started the book, I expected her to be horrible but she wasn’t. She’s odd, that’s for sure, but she is also really genuine and really does care for H2 and I liked that!

It was the horrorsque aspect to the novel that really got my attention though. I dived into the book expecting it, but I was also kind of scared because tentacle monsters are just really creepy. I ended up not being scared at all. I don’t know what that says about the quality of the monsters but I will say that I really enjoyed reading them. I do think they could have been scarier which is why I felt like this book was more of a creepy paranormal than it was a horror but you know, it was still A LOT OF FUN.

The author has only just begun scratching the surface with these creatures, just to whet our appetite for them, and to draw us into the world. I only imagine that the further we dive into the series (I hope this is going to be a series!), the more information we will get and the more we will be immersed into this world (HA HA. I AM FUNNEH).

There book has a well defined plot as well and nothing ends on a cliffhanger (isn’t that lovely?), it ends on the perfect note where you want to read the sequel (if there will be one) but since the overall arc of the book is complete, you can finish the book with a sense of closure instead of desperate need.

This is a really fun, well-written book that will take you on a (somewhat) scary adventure and leave you begging to know more.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Overall: 4

 

Also, there is a fun game for you guys to check out that might just get you more curious about the book! 

 

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Choose your Own Tentacular Adventure with the Lovecraftian HARRISON SQUARED

You can test the waters (though beware of tentacles!) with this Choose Your Own Adventure game: step into H2’s shoes and through the doors of Dunnsmouth Secondary into a wriggling riddle—just mind the puddles…and the shark. (Click on the image below to play)

h2diesearlytitle_600x556

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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    Ohh, how delicious does this one sound. You had me at creepy, middle of nowhere and cult, the sea monsters are just a bonus. A female… that ISN’T… a love interest? So those DO exist! I’ve heard about those roaming the wold before, but have never discovered one myself. This sounds glorious Rashika, the fact that it’s more creepy paranormal than horror is perfect for me, I hate anything that might keep me awake at night. There’s enough terror in the world without it appearing in my fiction. Lovely review poppet, looking forward to grabbing a copy when my book ban is over <3
    Kelly recently posted…Review Tour… Weightless by Sarah Bannan, A Must Read!My Profile

  2. says

    Huh, this sounds pretty cool. I wasn’t sure about it when I saw it around on Netgalley and stuff — people don’t seem to have been talking about it, either! Must remember to check it out sometime.
    Nikki recently posted…Top Ten TuesdayMy Profile