Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The House by Christina Lauren

The House by Christina Lauren
Release Date - October 6, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Gavin tells Delilah he’s hers—completely—but whatever lives inside that house with him disagrees.

After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.

Delilah is instantly smitten.

Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness. The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.
The first YA novel from Christina Lauren was, if you recall from my review, not my favourite. I have loved previous novels from this author but Sublime just didn't work for me. I do, however, enjoy ghost stories and that is why I was willing to give The House a chance. While I didn't fall in deep book love with it, The House ended up being a chilling, easy read that would be a fun Halloween treat.

This novel is more unsettling than flat out terrifying. It'll have you jumping at every little sound and noise your house makes while reading it. The psychological aspect of this novel, and how it impacts you while reading, is done extremely well. You will feel the increasing tension and panic that the characters feel. It's the tone and atmosphere that work in this novel above everything else.

In comparison to Sublime, I thought the paranormal aspect of this novel was well presented. It felt organic to the story and things were put in place to allow the 'haunting' to feel natural. Gavin grew up in this house, so it felt normal to him, therefore the reader doesn't question why he wouldn't run away. He never had cause to be scared, and the risk of anyone finding out his living situation outweighed any oddness his upbringing may have had. The entire scenario makes a sort of logical sense. It also makes sense that Delilah would open his eyes, and change his point of view by opening up his world. The answers that we need are given, while the ones we can live without are rightly held back. They give us just enough to make us believe in it, without taking us out of the story.

One element that was missing for me, that I find in abundance in Christina Lauren's New Adult novels, is the character connection. I never really connected to Gavin and Delilah. I am not sure if it's the genre, as paranormal does have less character focus than other genres, or something else. I would recommend other novels from this author to someone before this one, simply because I think there are better examples of their talent.

The other element of the story, the romance, didn't hold the impact I wanted it to as a result of the lack of connection. I appreciated their back story and that they had a history, albeit small and years removed. I think if the character connection had been there, the feelings between them would have resonated a little more. There are some fun, sexy scenes between them, but nothing that left a lasting impression.

A creepy, fun read that is perfectly timed for those looking for their Halloween scares mixed with a little sexiness. Those looking for a little more character focus may not find that her, but those who prefer to have the chills and thrills be centre stage may just enjoy this one more than I did.

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