Posted in Fiction, Horror, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

Skin crawling YA horror: The Women in the Walls, by Amy Lukavics

women-in-the-wallsThe Women in the Walls, by Amy Lukavics (Sept. 2016, Harlequin Teen), $18.99, ISBN: 9780373211944

Recommended for ages 13+

Lucy Acosta lives with her cousin, Margaret, her aunt, Penelope, and her father, Felix, in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods. Her mother died when she was three, leaving her to be raised by her loving aunt and distant father. When Lucy is 17, Penelope takes a walk into the woods and disappears, throwing the household into chaos. Margaret, Penelope’s daughter, is becoming unhinged, telling Lucy that she hears her dead mother talking to her through the walls, telling her to join her. Her father, obsessed with throwing dinner parties for the exclusive club he belongs to, ignores Lucy’s pleas for help; he won’t accept any sign of weakness. As Lucy tries to get to the bottom of the voices in the walls, she starts hearing them too; and when she begins digging into her family’s legacy, the things she find may doom her.

This was a gloriously creepy novel with just enough gore to move it from haunted house novel to horror. Think Wicker Man meets The Legacy (wow, did I just date myself with that reference), with wonderful madness tossed in, to make things interesting. Be warned, delicate sensibilities and stomachs may find some of the language and violence too much. This is not a book for your conservative readers.

Lucy and Margaret are fairy skin-deep characters with the potential for deeper storytelling, but it’s not really their story, as you’ll discover. The real development is going on around them. Think of Lucy as the narrator – which she is – and the host of the story. She’s the central character, but she’s in the dark almost as much as we readers are. The supporting characters are where the story lies, and when the elements all come together, this is a page-turning read. Horror and suspense fans will enjoy this one.

Posted in Horror, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

The Asylum Series, Volume 3: Catacomb

catacombCatacomb, by Madeleine Roux (Sept. 2015, HarperCollins), $17.99, ISBN: 9780062364050

Recommended for ages 12+

Here we are, the third volume in Madeleine Roux’s Asylum series. For this one, we head to one of the most paranormal-friendly cities in America: New Orleans. Abby, Dan, and Jordan are taking one more road trip; this time, relocating Jordan to his Uncle Steve in Nawlins, where he’ll be living and attending Tulane University.

Everyone has their own agenda, though. Abby’s pretty sure she’s taking a year off from college to pursue her art and photography; she’s investigating a famous criminal who has a history in the South. Dan has leads on his parents – his birth parents, not Paul and Sandy, the adoptive parents who adore him. He wants to understand more about why he was abandoned to the foster care system and hopes to find answers; he’s got some clues he found in the paperwork from Sanctum.

The action starts quickly enough. While on the road, the teens discover they’re being watched, even photographed. And then, Dan starts receiving Facebook messages. From Micah. Who really isn’t anywhere near a reliable Wi-Fi reception, so this presents a huge problem. They find themselves stuck in another mystery, involving another secret society, but this time, Dan’s directly in their sights.

There’s a lot of revelation happening in this book, and the paranormal aspect is back. We’ve got a secret society that’s truly chilling, tied into voudou and grave robbing. The big bad is pretty obvious from the get-go, but he’s supposed to be; the big twist is waiting for you closer to the end. The biggest question I had going in was how the heck do Dan’s parents keep letting him go away on these trips? He comes back beaten, stabbed, and traumatized each time; I’d never let my kid out of the house again.

I enjoyed Catacomb and think it brings all the storylines to a satisfying close. The Brookline connection felt a little forced, so I’m glad it was a piece that Ms. Roux touched on, and let be. The photos are mostly from Abby’s point of view this time, which adds a nice connection with the character and her point of view.

If you’re in the mood for a good, creepy trilogy, the Asylum trilogy is for you. I’m looking forward to reading more from Madeleine Roux!