With that disclaimer stated, this book really surprised me. I haven't read much supernatural young adult books, and this was full of ghost and mystery. What is the scariest thing you can think of right now? It is someone watching you right? That is my absolute biggest fear of all times. So right away this book drew me in. The creepy vibe was exactly what I needed at that moment. This isn't your typical ghost or horror story. If you know Lauren Oliver you know it is going to be a slow build up, she really puts in a lot of detail that allows you to immerse yourself into the story.
The way the story is weaved, I found to be utterly fascinating and completely unique. The story essentially alternates between the perspectives of the living and those of the dead. The idea is that the living has a lot to tells us, and what the ghost have experienced and lived, excuse that pun. It is such a great concept, but it fell sort of flat.
It's a bizarre book that never really seems to find its way. Partially we can attribute this to the author's use of gross and often times unnecessary descriptions. I don't mind miserable, depressing, or even gory descriptions, but for me, there must be a purpose. The way that points of view are set up just adds to the confusion and mystery.
I have an issue with every character being almost obnoxiously negative. It is like forcing negativity. The characters seem to want to loathe in self-misery, and it's not exactly an attractive thing to read about. The book is supposed to be dark, and at points, the characters are beautifully dark. The bad out ways the good in my opinion and causes the story to become repetitive and frankly boring.
An excellent example of this is shown here:
“Take Minna. Alice is always going on about how beautiful she is. Yeah, if you like that look—a great big pair of fake tits screwed on like a lid, and eyes that always look like they’re trying to see through your pants to how much money you’ve got in your wallet.”
I didn't often understand the analogies in this book. The comparatives were often bizarre, strange or puzzling. The author would go in a direction that I couldn't quite follow at times, and I am someone that loves analogies, and example of this is below:
“His motions are erratic, like a scarecrow that has just come to life and has to compensate for a spine full of stuffing.”
I like the nod to the wizard of oz, but it just doesn't seem to follow correctly, it just seems there might have been a better way to describe this.
The names were complicated in the book also. They all started with the same consonant, example Minna, Maggie, Martin, and so on. With such a diverse cast of character, this will give a lot of names to keep up with. It can be a headache at points. I sort of wish the author would have stuck to 3-4 and really developed them into more well-rounded detailed characters.
I want to put out a fair warning, many readers will struggle with this unusual and bizarre story. Some many even feel frustrated by the ending not actually coming to a resolution. It is a well crafted piece of fiction that you will enjoy. It is also important to note that this is the authors first attempt at writing an adult novel.
Links to purchase: Amazon // Barnes N Noble // Book Depository // Better World Books // Book Outlet
A tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.
But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.
The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.