Thursday, December 3, 2015

(NON-SPOILER) Book Review: Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano

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Title: Diary of a Haunting
Author: M. Verano
Pages: 320
Published: August 25th, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Average Rating (Goodreads): 3.32 stars
Inside (book) Rating: 4 stars
Outside (cover) Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis: When Paige moves from LA to Idaho with her mom and little brother after her parents’ high-profile divorce, she expects to completely hate her new life, and the small town doesn’t disappoint. Worse yet, the drafty old mansion they’ve rented is infested with flies, spiders, and other pests Paige doesn’t want to think about.

She chalks it up to her rural surroundings, but it’s harder to ignore the strange things happening around the house, from one can of ravioli becoming a dozen, to unreadable words appearing in the walls. Soon Paige’s little brother begins roaming the house at all hours of the night, and there’s something not right about the downstairs neighbor, who knows a lot more than he’s letting on.

Things only get creepier when she learns about the sinister cult that conducted experimental rituals in the house almost a hundred years earlier.
The more Paige investigates, and the deeper she digs, the clearer it all becomes: whatever is in the house, whatever is causing all the strange occurrences, has no intention of backing down without a fight.

Found in the aftermath, Diary of a Haunting collects the journal entries, letters, and photographs Paige left behind.

Outside:

WOW. I really love this cover, but the picture really doesn't give it much justice. The dusk jacket is plastic and transparent (like Illuminae). I'm really starting to like this style of covers. Hope these kinds of things continue!

Unfortunately, I may or may not have stepped on the dusk jacket and squished it after taking it off to read. I'm so graceful, I know.

Inside:

 

Format:

 
This book is written in the format of a diary along with pictures every now and then. I thought the pictures were a bit useless in the beginning, but as the story progresses they do give more to the story and stop being an excuse to turn pages more quickly.
 
I do like books written in diary format. Luckily, I thought the narrator was fine so it wasn't any kind of pain to read (as it occasionally is, some people's minds I just don't want to be in). Though they're were some problems with how it was written (in "Writing").
 

Characters:

 
All these characters were... I don't know. Fine. I didn't have any problem with them, but they were pretty unmemorable. They were likeable, and they weren't exactly unrealistic. So yes, fine.
 

Writing:

 
I actually quite enjoyed reading this writing style. It flowed easily, and it was hard to stop reading, hence why I read it in one sitting.
 
But there was a strange amount of description that at points made it sound much more like a novel and less like a teenage girl's diary. Things like taking breaths and character's specific motions that felt very out of place. A little disappointing really.
 
Also, it had the phrase, "I let out the breath I didn't know I'd been holding" (page 130 in case that matters to you), which was incredibly cliché and disappointing and I was starting to like this book by then. I spent five minutes staring at it screaming NOOOOOOO internally.
 

Plot:

 
This book started out quite light. It was a fun (in a haunting kind of way) story I kept wishing I had picked up before Halloween and not a month afterwards. It was enjoyable!
 
But as you go through this story, it becomes more complicated and builds more layers on top of the original, "you bought a house that is supposedly haunted". People keep secrets and the narrator becomes incredibly unreliable. It becomes the kind of awesome ghost story I had no idea it could be. It was way darker than I was expecting.
 
There are a few times in this book where I honestly thought the problem was being fixed and it was going end in a nice little bow. Especially when you get closer to the end.
 
The end (at least for me) was unexpected, and I was basically left in awe and confusion and had a bit of a headache by then. I can only compare the feeling to We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. It was that same shock at the end. You're left feeling confused and disoriented and the room is pretty much spinning by that point. I was great. I was so disappointed in myself that I didn't catch it sooner, and I ended up going through the book again remembering spots that semi-foreshadowed how this book would end. And that's how I would like it to be. I would read any book executed as well as this one.
 
Thanks for reading! Have you read this book? Did you agree? Do you plan to?

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