this is a new book just out this year. yes it’s the old haunted house/paranormal investigation trope, but SUCH a fantastic concept and execution.

the setting and characters are perfect: tight-knit black family on the run, under mysterious circumstances, finding themselves in texas, in a strangely cheerful, welcoming town, and under the employ of a benefactress with a definite agenda, but unclear motives. they’re smart, brave, and love each other. you can believe in their extraordinary qualities, because they are also this very ordinary family… seemingly.

god, this book! truly spooky, realistic in every detail, from the dialogue and personalities to the floor plan of this ill-conceived spite house (it’s a real thing, like those expressly built to spoil someone else’s view) ..

not to mention the pacing was immaculate. i was so intrigued and thrilled from beginning to end. it delivered in spades, cinematic, almost, with a super satisfying payoff.

ugh, i love a good scary story. bless you johnny compton, you aced it. THE SPITE HOUSE = a credit to its genre. xxx bookworm


i remember my first shirley jackson. i was a little kid and it was THE LOTTERY and i’d had no idea what to expect. the ending stunned me. i’d no idea a book could be like that.

i was ashamed to have never read WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE til now. what kind of horror enthusiast am i? — a negligent one.

well, omission remedied. i found a cheap copy with an interesting cover illustration and devoured it in short order. it was all i could have hoped for. no wonder it’s a classic. there’s real atmosphere — mood, mystery, suspense. i could feel that town and the townspeople closing in all around me every moment. it felt so meticulously laid out i could imagine every detail.

and i loved our mad little narrator. her fierce devotion, her attachment to her sister. not to mention all the reason she ascribed to the actions of her cat. a brilliant touch of whimsy.

xxx bookworm


the old-fashioned, upstate new hampshire vermont liberal arts college setting, its cast of characters, their elite backgrounds & sartorial choices, are nothing but purest dark academia porn. a thrilling treat on so many levels. every page has got beautifully worked sentences and descriptions. every precious detail feels like a clue. the plot and narrative voice full of twists, turns, nostalgia, pain… my new favorite book. can’t believe it took me this long to read this, i fucking love donna tartt, she is a master. xxx bookworm