Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: Diary of a Haunting

Diary of a Haunting
By: M. Verano
Published by: Simon Pulse
Release date: August 25, 2015
Genre: YA paranormal
320 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

Maybe I didn't plan well. Maybe reading another creepy book on the heels of having read one that I really liked was a mistake. Whether that influenced my reading or not, Diary of a Haunting didn't measure up to my expectations.

It's weird how this seems to be a theme in some of the book I'm reading this summer, but I think that the story would have been better served with a different narrator. Paige is so ordinary that she tells this story in a fashion that more resembles an essay for school than a personal diary. She describes some weird incidents in a way that suggests that she accepts them as just random weird stuff. I think a third-person observer could have given clearer perspective on just how strange things were getting in Paige's life.

Not that much was very strange in the first half of the book. I nearly put this one down because I was so far into it with very little to push the plot forward. Things finally started heating up, and the book was a little more fun to read in the last half.

This ending- I'm not sure if the author was aiming for shock value, but I couldn't buy into the ending. After having read a certain character a certain way for so long, then to have that behavior revealed. . . It just didn't connect for me.

The structural device of having the story told in diary format I felt was unnecessarily contrived. Putting a character's name on the book as the author missed the mark as well. It didn't make me wonder if the book was actually nonfiction; it made me wonder why the author chose to remain unnamed.

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.

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