“There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good,
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad,
She was horrid” – 3.75/5 stars!
Attention! This book contains: murder mystery books, roses, board games, ripped pages, cappuccinos, purple marbles, grief, dust, text messages, takeout food, diaries, rumours and rage.
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?
The cover is so stunning, and I admit I bought this book mainly for it, but now after reading it, I have some mixed feelings – not only for the story but for the characters as well.
For starters, I have some mixed feelings about Jane as a main character. Part of me feels sorry for her because she had so much going on in her life, but I still missed some development from her side. And this does not apply just to her, but to the other characters like her mom and her friends. There was very little character development in general, and it was evident.
There’s also something very curious about this book. Here’s the thing: the book is fast paced, but it still feels like nothing is happening. I kept thinking about this while reading because I was confused, but I think I finally understood what was going on. I think the main cause for this is a mixture of the writing style, the characters and the scenery. The scenes feel so long because the characters don’t develop, the story progresses always in the same spot (the house), and to contribute to this, there are no chapters. I personally like having specific places to stop/continuing reading, but even though the book is divided into parts, it still wasn’t enough for me.
Other than that, I still think the story was entertaining. I wouldn’t consider this too heavy on the horror side, but there are some creepy scenes here and there. The ending gave me chills though, not gonna lie!
I’m also glad the author made the decision not to add romance to this book. There was some potential with the guy from Jane’s work, but I’m glad it didn’t develop because it wouldn’t make sense to add an extra romance to this story. Good choice!
Like I said, I still think it was entertaining and I don’t regret reading it, but frankly there’s nothing too special about this one.