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[A quick note: This is the Owlcrate edition of Horrid, so the cover is slightly different than the mainstream version. I do not generally branch outside of sci-f/fantasy so receiving this book in the September box was a pleasant surprise. I was in the mood for reading something a little spooky in the month of October and this couldn’t have come at a better time! It has made me realize that I do like a little thriller-spooky-horror mix in my reading and will now actively seek out some similar titles. What a pleasant surprise! Also, I entered this photo into the Owlcrate photo challenge and I think it came out so well! **patting myself on the back for this one**]

“𝑰 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒌 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒊𝒎𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒐 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒛𝒆, 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒓𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓, 𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒈𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒇 𝒅𝒐𝒆𝒔𝒏’𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒖𝒍𝒆 𝒃𝒐𝒐𝒌. 𝒀𝒐𝒖’𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒇𝒆𝒆𝒍 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒏. 𝒀𝒐𝒖’𝒓𝒆 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏 𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒐𝒘𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐𝒊𝒏𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒏𝒆𝒘 𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔.” —Katrina Leno

MY SYNOPSIS: This spine-chilling tale explores mental illness, death, rage, and grief in a way that keeps you reading, page after page. When a devastating tragedy strikes, Jane and her mother Ruth move across the country to Ruth’s childhood home, Bells Hollow, Maine. North Manor is in shambles, but they set out fixing it up, picking up the pieces of a broken life. As Jane settles in, she finds solace in her books and memories of her dad, but she struggles to discern reality from imagination. Secrets follow, especially when the lights go out. The locked storage room on the second floor is more than it seems. And soon Jane finds out exactly why.

MY THOUGHTS: I could not put this down. With major Stephen King vibes, Horrid was the perfect October read. Full of chills and thrills, the spook-factor on point! It was everything I wanted and didn’t know I needed. But I will warn you: even though it was definitely YA, there was some twisted stuff in these pages. Our MC, Jane, deals with death, grief, and some serious anger issues. We see her struggle through these issues while confronting the creepy house her mother inherited.

“𝑺𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅𝒏’𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒇𝒊𝒓𝒔𝒕 𝒃𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒔𝒉𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒏.”

The first sentence of the book absolutely hooked me! Jane’s biggest issue is anger. Serious anger. She confronts it regularly—set off by the simplest things. We see early on, within the first sentences of the book. And we also sees that she combats this by eating books. Literally. I’m NOT kidding. One page at a time, she works her way through her favorite reads, often over the course of a year, before starting a new book. This is her mental illness. The thing she really struggles with. And I found it absolutely PERFECT for the tone of this novel:

“𝑺𝒉𝒆 𝒊𝒎𝒂𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒇𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒂𝒑𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒐 𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒐𝒅𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎. 𝑺𝒉𝒆𝒊𝒎𝒂𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒅 𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒃𝒐𝒅𝒚 𝒇𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒆𝒅 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒔. 𝑴𝒂𝒅𝒆 𝒖𝒑 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒎. 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒔 𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒂𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒐𝒅, 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒂𝒅 𝒐𝒇 𝒐𝒓𝒈𝒂𝒏𝒔.”

Katrina Leno did a wonderful job portraying Jane’s struggles. She wove some serious issues into the plot. These issues fit together with the spooky aspects like pieces of a puzzle. I found myself fitting together clues as I filled in the holes. I loved the ah-ha moment when I realized the “BIG” secret nipping at Jane’s heels.

This book wasn’t entirely perfect. There were a few things that could have been better. Just minor stuff. A few characters could have had more depth. The names of each character felt rather basic and arbitrary. Jane, Ruth, Susie, etc...Does anyone name their kids Susie these days? Maybe I’m out of touch? The romantic in me would have loved to see just a bit more from Jane and Will. But overall, those things weren’t crucial to the main story, which was so creepy and fun.

If you’re like me, and not a huge horror fan, this is the perfect “get your toes wet” kind of book. In fact, it’s shown me that I like just a little creep factor, especially in October. I’m inspired to go find a few other books with this level of horror. It has broadened my horizon. Isn’t that the purpose of a good book?

I highly recommend this for a Spook-Tober read! MY RATING: 4/5⭐️


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