I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Review by: Paige
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publication: October 3rd, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Synopsis: Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.
Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.
Review: I’m a horror buff, so as soon as I heard this book was The Breakfast Club meets Stephen King, I was hooked. The story meshes together five very different high school seniors, all embodying a certain stereotype, trying to escape a house determined to kill them and make them into part of its collection. It was fast-paced, and I adored the concept. While I feel it was just average at best, I certainly couldn’t put it down.
The real faults of this novel were in its writing. It didn’t flow well, and the word choice made it painfully clear that the author was trying to make these characters seem quirky and relatable. Some moments seemed messy, rushed, and underdeveloped. I got lost in the chaos of the plot too often for my liking, and the routine became boring towards the end.
While I adored some of the characters, I absolutely despised others. I loved Ashley and Gretchen – especially their attraction to each other – and not only did I find their POVs most entertaining, but Ashely was by far the most interesting and complex. I was not, however, a fan of Dylan and his childishness or Paul and Violet’s relationship. I’ve never been a fan of insta-love, but their focus on relationship drama in a life or death situation really put me off. Violet surprised me, and I ended up liking her far more than I anticipated, but she still wasn’t all that captivating.
The physical obstacles, fun and interesting as they were, always interrupted the deeper emotional moments. I began to crave real depth, but it didn’t come until nearly the end of the book. When the emotional floodgates did break, the social commentary was moving and effective. I wish there had been far more of it.
For those looking for a light yet still engrossing horror read, this is the perfect recipe. Though I personally would’ve liked to be more scared, I found the plot engaging and was always anticipating the next move. Overall, this was a solid read, especially for a debut. I look forward to the author’s work in the future.
Note: Hi guys! Sorry for the dry spell this past week or so. Despite reading a lot, we both go off to college in about a week and have been extremely busy preparing for that, so the amount of content we’re able to put out is sparse. Expect more reviews in the future, but we’re about to have a lot on our plate, so thank you for the continued support while we figure out our schedules!