Author: Danielle Vega
Rated S for a classic small-town haunting and teens harboring dark secrets.
“I wouldn’t want to spend the night alone at Steele House.”
“Didn’t you know your house had a name?”
Hendricks is new in town and is starting out with a clean slate. That was the whole purpose of the move. To leave her dark past behind her and it turns out to be easier than she expected. Then she learns from her new friends that she’s living in the most haunted house in town, the Steele House.
She quickly discovers the stories about the house aren’t just stories. Strange things start happening. She hears a cat around the house, but they don’t have a cat. Her little brother is seeing things and is even getting hurt. Hendricks, with the help of the mysterious boy next door, Eddie, is determined to put a stop to it before anything worse happens. Before they possibly become the next ones haunting the house.
Possibly spoiler-y but I’ll let you decide. This is just a warning.
Since reading Survive the Night, I’ve put Vega on my must-read list. She gets right down to the enticing chills and thrills of horror. Of course, my smart-self decided to read this at 2:30am. Moving to a new place and being the new kid isn’t easy, yet I was glad to see the pain of it swept aside so the book could just jump right into the ghost story. Hendricks went through a lot before the Steele House. I really liked her backstory and how it fueled the story. The boy next store, Eddie, was pretty cute and mysterious. Definitely that character where there’s more than meets the eye. There was really good chemistry between them. A broody dynamic between the two. However, I wish there’d been more interaction between them because the chemistry was so subtly sweet.
The small-town setting was so relatable. Very quaint with history and tradition and its own special quirks. The way the town and house fit together really pulled all of the cold and haunting feels that a true scary story has. Vega is just masterful! Her attention to the world gives it a breath of life. It truly blew me away.
Strong and chilling, there were parts that just didn’t fully compute to me and I think that’s because there were bits that just left me hanging. Grayson, for example. Hendricks’s ex. He came up so often and I’m not doubting the trauma he set into her head, but even knowing that he’d tried to get a hold of her and how dangerous he was, I kept expecting him to show up. Personally, watching him get whipped around by the ghosts in the Steele House would’ve been pretty cool because the Stir of Echoes (Check out this movie if you haven’t. Totally chilling.) vibes with this were strong.
The ending was crazy! I can’t officially say whether that’s good or bad though. On one hand, I love full circles and adore those who realize that happy endings don’t always happen. On the other hand, I feel like it fell short. The big moment, the massive important reveal, the most important part of the book and it just didn’t outdo the build-up. BUT! My heart was broken for everyone in the end.
While I got a little nit-picky in places, because horror, whether it’s a book or a movie, has those all the time, I really loved this! I got some chills and I got freaked out! Great emotional ties. Completely attention-grabbing. I couldn’t put it down.
“What kind of person see cats disappear into walls? Or imagines that someone chopped off her hair? What kind of person hallucinates voices? A crazy person, that’s who?” (p. 83)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? Only If For a Night by Florence + The Machine.
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