The Window by Amelia Brunskill

TW

The Window by Amelia Brunskill

Published: April 3rd 2018 by Delacorte Press

Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside–it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.

I am not going to lie, whilst I had this on my TBR, it wasn’t high on my radar. I haven’t really seen a lot of people talking about it – so I picked this up for my kindle on a bit of a whim because of the mood I was in. I am so glad I did because this book was just amazing in SO MANY different ways, and I feel that a lot more people should be reading it already!

I think my favourite aspect of this book was the way in which it was written. Interspersed between each of Jess’ chapters was a couple of lines from Anna, slowly telling the story. With the clues that Jess was trying to figure out, and the snippets of Anna’s story in between, the author managed to create a mystery that really had me guessing right up until the very end. I was constantly changing my theories and I love the way that this book twisted and turned and kept me on my toes. As soon as I had thought I had something figured out, something happened and everything was put back on its head. Fragments of what happened to Anna, and the clues that she left behind were constantly being questioned by Jess, and it left the reader wondering if Jess was reading too much into things, or if something really did happen to Anna… and it also put a lot of focus on the grieving process and what was happening to Jess throughout psychologically.

Grief plays a HUGE part in this book – especially the grieving process. I loved the way in which the author featured various different grieving processes and represented the idea that everyone grieves differently and that there is no wrong way to grieve. Whether it is trying to find closure, accepting what has happened and moving on or even trying to find a second chance amongst everything that happened, everyone in this book processed things differently and it added an extra element to the story itself.  Having said that, the author also managed to weave in the idea of whether grief can be taken too far and just how low we can sink when we are grieving.

I also liked the fact that the author didn’t just represent grief through the loss of a friend/daughter/sibling through death. The author used various plot points to highlight different forms of grief and loss – loss of innocence, self worth, love and relationships and childhood. Everyone was facing different issues and processing it in different ways and showing different forms of grief, even within their everyday lives.

The author also wove in different societal issues that we face today and showed how one can affect another and how that in turn can affect something else. It was written in such a way that focused on teens trying to find themselves and navigate the world around them and the way in which it can sometimes go completely wrong – Alcoholism, the date rape drug, death, corruption, pedophilia, blackmail, sexual assault. Brunskill tied everything together and this book contributed, I think, in a huge way to the discussion of various issues and I really think that, young people especially, should be reading this book.

I also loved the way that this book focused on good things in amongst the bad. The sibling bond that Jess and Anna had was beautiful. Being twins, they had a different kind of special bond, that often left people feeling a little left out, but it was a bond that stuck right up until the very end, and even after Anna’s death. They were loyal to each other, as many siblings are (myself and my brother included) and I loved the fact that it showed that, even though you might not always get along with your siblings or see eye to eye with them, they’ll always be there for you in the end.

The ending was extremely bittersweet. I don’t want to give too much away, but the development and the changes that Jess went through throughout the book, and the point that she had gotten to by the end was both heart warming and heart breaking. I was left ugly sobbing in the corner – that’s all I’m saying.

All in all, I loved this book. It was poignant and heart breaking, but also bittersweet right up until the end. It focused on so many different issues and wove them all together pretty seamlessly. I gave this book 5/5 stars

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#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

PBMD

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

Published: February 13th 2018 by Tor Teen

A CIA prodigy’s cover is blown when he accidentally becomes an internet sensation in #Prettyboy Must Die, inspired by the #Alexfromtarget story.

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettyboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.

When I first saw this on Netgalley, I decided to request it because it looked like a quick, fun, cheesy read – something that would just cheer you up and let you escape for a couple go hours. However, this book did not cheer me up, and I actually ended up DNFing it. The characters, the descriptions and some of the ideas that the author had left me eye rolling pretty hard – to the point where I’m pretty sure that my eyes got stuck in the back of my head.

I’m going to start off with the MC. I struggled to really engage in this story because I found Peter/Jake to be extremely unlikeable. He was constantly complaining and whining and was pretty condescending toward others – whether it was just his thoughts and the way in which he saw people or whether it was things he said to other characters. He was horrible the person who was supposed to be his best friend within this book and it just grated on my nerves. I physically couldn’t connect to him as a character because I found no relatable qualities in him whatsoever. Despite his many mistakes etc. he still acted like he was better than everyone else and it really drew me out of the story.

His best friend’s back story (Bunker) also seemed completely out there and extremely unlikely. His dad took him underground (for reasons I have forgotten) and he doesn’t resurface for 15 years. It then seems unlikely to me that he is able to get into a relatively prestigious school on a scholarship and that he would be relatively sane of mind and pretty current with the times when he has been underground for the past 15 years. Surely he would have various psychological, if not also physical, issues that would confine him to a hospital/unit until he has be rehabilitated into the real world?

I think the biggest issue for me, and ultimately what led me to putting the book down, is the way in which Peter (the author) dismissed the possibility of a character being the hacker he’s looking for because: She’s English and beautiful and she has an amazing English accent and her hair smells English (Strawberries and Vanilla, who knew? Pretty sure my hair currently smells like coconut, so does this make me not English?), and she kisses super amazing and she’s English and Rich as hell… Did I mention that she’s English? This is what the book basically read like for me and to dismiss a female character because of these relatively shallow things got on my goat. It made me angry and I actually put the book down because I just couldn’t face reading anymore.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed, and irritated, with this book. I was expecting something fun and cheesy and got quite the opposite. I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to add your links to the comments so that others can see what you picked! 

Hey guys! I hope you all had an awesome weekend! It snowed and then rained promptly afterward, so relatively wet over here!

Anyway, this weeks pick for me is a book that doesn’t come out until a little later on in the year BUT I received an ARC of it via Netgalley! I absolutely loved book 1 (Follow Me Back) and I cannot wait to see what this conclusion will bring!

TMNL

Tell Me No Lies by A. V. Geiger

Expected Publication: June 5th 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire

Love. Obsession. Jealousy. Murder.

No one knows what happened to pop icon Eric Thorn. His Twitter account? Frozen. His cell phone? Cracked and bloody, buried in the snow.

Agoraphobic fangirl Tessa Hart knows the truth, but she’s finally left her #EricThornObsessed days behind. She has no intention of ever touching her Twitter app again. But Snapchat… That’s safer, right?

After months of living under the radar, Tessa emerges from hiding, forced to face the deadly consequences of her past. But in the interrogation room, answers only lead to more questions in the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Follow Me Back duology.

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off. Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to add your link to the comments so that others can see what you picked! 

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend 🙂 It snowed here again – I was hoping for warmer weather, but no. Hopefully it will warm up sometime this week.

Anyway, this weeks pick for me is an ARC copy of a book that I have that releases later this month! I am extremely excited to get to it (probably be my next read after I have finished up the book I am currently reading), and I am hoping it lives up to my expectations.

PBMD

#Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid

Expected Publication: February 13th by Tor Teen

A CIA prodigy’s cover is blown when he accidentally becomes an internet sensation in #Prettyboy Must Die, inspired by the #Alexfromtarget story.

When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo–along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”–Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.

Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettyboy, of all freaking things.

His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life.

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

PDG

Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy

Expected Publication: January 2nd 2018 by Entangled Teen

Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.

In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.

The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she’s next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she’s never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.

There’s something he isn’t telling her. But there’s something she’s not telling him, either.

Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.

Note: I received an ARC copy of this from Entangled Teen via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion. 

I had seen this book floating around a little on Goodreads before I found it on Netgalley, so when I saw it, I knew I wanted to read it. I loved the cover and the premise sounded extremely promising because Whodunnits are absolutely my kind of thing. Overall, this book was a quick and relatively enjoyable read, with a few minor issues along the way.

The plot of this book was definitely fast paced. We knew who was being targeted, but we didn’t know why and by who. My guess as to who was doing it changed multiple times throughout the book and not one of my guesses was right – so kudos to the author for keeping me blind for so long! Whilst I enjoyed the plot ad playing the guessing game, I felt like the reasoning behind the murders was a bit lacking? I don’t feel that it kept up with the rest of the book and it felt a little anticlimactic after everything that had happened!

I also have mixed feelings about the characters. Whilst I liked our MC, she was definitely a little snotty in places (mostly to the younger Larks). However, I feel like the author tried to make Penelope out to be someone that she wasn’t. Whilst she was sometimes snotty to the juniors, I could understand her reasoning at the time, but the author then tried to make her out to the the Queen B – but her actions throughout the story never really indicated that she was really in that position. There was definitely a bit of a personality crisis in the middle of the book where the MC is concerned and I feel that definitely distracted from the story a bit.

I also felt that the interactions between the characters wasn’t always befitting that their relationship was supposed to be. We’re constantly reminded that Dani and Penelope are best friends, but its not really shown in a huge way that they are best friends throughout the book – more like reminded. They never really acted like best friends toward each other, more like casual friends. We are also told that, whilst they have their issues, Penelope was friends with Gretchen and Courtney, but their interactions also claim the opposite. They are pretty bitchy toward each other throughout the book, and this isn’t really resolved at the end even after the things that Penelope did for Courtney.

I did enjoy the slow build relationship between Penelope and Cass. They didn’t really liked or trust each other at the beginning and I loved the way that their relationship developed throughout the book. It wasn’t and insta love, or really a huge slow burn, but something more in the middle that is befitting of teenagers in high school. I enjoyed watching the relationship and how they overcame the issue of trust and struggling to really believe that the other isn’t the killer.

Having said that, I don’t feel that the secrets that Cass revealed throughout the book were all that shocking. I was expecting something huge and it just wasn’t? The secrets actually never really had a huge impact on the plot line itself because of who it turns out to be, so I feel these were added for a shock factor, which didn’t really deliver.

I did enjoy the )extremely) short chapters in between which were written from the killers perspective. They were written in such a way so that the identity was never revealed, which kept me guessing right up until the end. I enjoyed getting that little snippet throughout the book because it was refreshing reminder of the fact that the killer is there and watching.

I do, however, believe that the identity of the killer was a bit anticlimactic. We didn’t really get to see all that much of them throughout the book, so it was a bit of a ‘really?’ moment when they were revealed. It didn’t seem very realistic and we only got a very short explanation of why they were doing what they were doing. I would have much preferred It to have been someone we had been reading about from beginning to end, someone that I would have related to as a reader before finding out that they betrayed the characters and my trust. I feel that other characters would have been a more appropriate fit (just not the person that they suspected it to be) and would have ultimately led to a better ending if it had been someone different.

All in all, I have very mixed reviews about this book. Whilst it was mostly enjoyable, I had some issues with the characters and the overall ending of who did it and why. It is a quick and easy read, and I read this in one sitting! I gave this book 3/5 stars

Find me here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads/Litsy @ Laurens Page Turners

First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirrowy

FWWIV

First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirrowy

Published: July 25th 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Amazon: First We Were IV

It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories.
A secret society – for the four of us.
The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other.
We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that.
Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought.
But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History.
We wanted revenge.
We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to.
Our invention ratcheted out of control.
What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion.

I added this book to my TBR a while back, before its release, because it looked like something that would be right up my alley. I loved the premise and this was a highly anticipated read for me. Unfortunately, this book fell flat in a lot of ways for me and I ended up DNfing.

I loved the beginning of this book! It started out at the end, with one of them dead – we don’t know which one and we don’t know why or how it happened, just that it did. This immediately created an air of mystery and I just wanted to know what happened and how they got to that point. We find out about the dead girl not long after that and it added even more mystery because we never find out what happened to her at the time of her death. I was looking forward to seeing what had happened to the girl and why she ended up where she did.

However, this book fell off into a tangent it didn’t need to go in. It felt extremely long winded after that and it didn’t focus on the main points of the story – namely the murder. The creating of the secret society and what they were there to do etc. took too long and it felt like not even the characters really knew what direction they wanted to take with it.

I feel that, because the plot itself went off on a bit of a tangent, I struggled to pick this book up and really get into it. I often found myself putting it back down and doing other things because I didn’t feel like the book was going anywhere all that fast. The pacing of the book itself needed to be speeded up a little and something interesting needed to happen plot wise for me, as a reader, to remain invested in the story.

I also didn’t feel a connection to or between the characters. Whilst they were supposed to be best friends (and outsiders), I didn’t get the feeling that they were as close as they thought they were and the friendship between them often felt forced rather than natural. I personally didn’t feel a connection the characters, either, so it didn’t really bother me when things happened to them. I wasn’t emotionally invested in the characters themselves and, at the point of DNF, I didn’t really care which one of them died.

Whilst this book had a promising beginning, it definitely went off on a tangent and lost its way a bit – which is a shame because this was a highly anticipated read of mine! I gave this book 1.5/5 stars.

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads/Litsy @ Laurens Page Turners

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to add your links to the comments so that others can see what you picked!

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend! It’s been cold and wet here, but it was my Father in laws birthday on Sunday, so we celebrated that 🙂 Anyway, this weeks pick for me is a book that I have had on my TBR for a good long while now; but I recently picked up a copy, so hopefully I will get to it soon!

MD

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Published: August 5th 2014 by Feiwel and Friends

Amazon: Mortal Danger (The Immortal Game)

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly… bad things are happening. It’s a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what–she can trust. Not even her own mind…

Find Me Here: 

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads/Litsy @ Lauren’s Page Turners

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

YWBM

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

Expected Publication: February 1st 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire

Amazon: You Will Be Mine

Book Depository

A YA thriller about a group of friends that starts receiving notes from a secret admirer whose words of adoration quickly become deadly.

Note: I Received an ARC of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion

For me, Natasha Preston became an author to look out for after reading The Cabin. It had me hooked from beginning to end and the ending was absolutely shocking. So when Sourcebooks uploaded this to Netgalley, I just had to read it! This book had me guessing throughout, but there were some things that I feel were a little unbelievable, considering the situation.

This book follows a group of six housemates at university as they begin to get notes and they start getting murdered. The police are trying to catch the culprit, but they don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I felt like this book was obvious in the sense of who it wasn’t. The characters had an idea of who they thought was the perpetrator from the very beginning and they often blamed this character for the events throughout the book – so obviously it wasn’t the character that they thought it was. I think I’ve been reading too many murder mysteries… I know the tricks of the trade… or the books.

Whilst I knew who it wasn’t, I had other suspects throughout the book. Both guesses turned out to be wrong and I only started getting an inkling of who it was going to be toward the end. The book left me guessing and I loved the way that the events were described and the ultimate ending and explanation that was given. I felt like the explanation was well thought out, but I would have liked to maybe have seen more of the relationship dynamic between the characters (I don’t want to spoil it) to really give weight behind the actions themselves.

I did feel like a lot of the actions of the characters were a bit unbelievable considering the circumstances. There was a lot going on with the murders etc. but the characters often acted pretty stupid and ultimately did things that were getting them hurt/murdered. Even after the first couple of times, they carried on acting stupid and it grated on my nerves.

I would have also liked to have seen more of the relationship dynamic between the character they believed were committing the murders and the rest of the housemates. I feel like flashbacks would have been a great tool to add to the book to help give it that extra bit of depth with the characters themselves and the readers.

Can we also just talk about that ending. I should have really guessed that an ending that shocking would have come from this author after reading The Cabin, but I forgot and it sprung on me. It has definitely left the future open for the characters and for the reader’s imagination to run wild on what could happen next. It was a great way to leave it as either a standalone or even as something the author could come back and visit in the future with a follow up book.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and the plot itself. I felt the murders were well planned out and the explanation was definitely fitting to the book itself. I absolutely loved the ending and would not be opposed to a second book! I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Find Me Here:

Instagram/Twitter/Goodreads/Litsy – @ Lauren’s Page Turners

 

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and feel free to add your link to the comments so that others can see what you picked! 

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend! My son is finally getting over the fever he’s had since Tuesday – which meant that I was in the house for most of the weekend! I managed to get a book finished and start a new one… but more on that at a later date 😉

This weeks pick for me is a book that I recently discovered and one that was also recently released. The subject matter is something I find morbidly fascinating – especially when it based on a true story, like this book is!

NSIK

No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear

Published: November 14th 2017 by Soho Teen

Amazon: No Saints in Kansas

A gripping reimagining of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and the brutal murders that inspired it

November is usually quiet in Holcomb, Kansas, but in 1959, the town is shattered by the quadruple murder of the Clutter family. Suspicion falls on Nancy Clutter’s boyfriend, Bobby Rupp, the last one to see them alive.

New Yorker Carly Fleming, new to the small Midwestern town, is an outsider. She tutored Nancy, and (in private, at least) they were close. Carly and Bobby were the only ones who saw that Nancy was always performing, and that she was cracking under the pressure of being Holcomb’s golden girl. The secret connected Carly and Bobby. Now that Bobby is an outsider, too, they’re bound closer than ever.

Determined to clear Bobby’s name, Carly dives into the murder investigation and ends up in trouble with the local authorities. But that’s nothing compared to the wrath she faces from Holcomb once the real perpetrators are caught. When her father is appointed to defend the killers of the Clutter family, the entire town labels the Flemings as traitors. Now Carly must fight for what she knows is right.

Find Me Here:

Instagram/twitter/Goodreads/Litsy – @Lauren’s Page Turners

Release Day Spotlight: Alone by Cyn Balog

alone

Alone by Cyn Balog

Published: November 7th 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they’re not going back to the city…or Seda’s friends and school.

As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

I just want to start out by saying Happy Book Birthday to Cyn Balog! I received an ARC of this book a couple of months ago via Netgalley and I absolutely LOVED it! There was a creepy vibe from the very beginning of the book and there were twists and turns that I didn’t see coming! The ending – do not even get me started on that amazing ending. This is definitely must read! Cyn Balog is easily becoming one of my favourite authors in the horror genre and I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next! There will be a Rafflecopter giveaway link at the bottom of this post for residents of America and Canada!

Excerpt:

 Sometimes I dream I am drowning.

Sometimes I dream of bloated faces, bobbing on the surface of misty waters.

And then I wake up, often screaming, heart racing, hands clenching fistfuls of my sheets.

I’m in my bed at the top of Bug House. The murky daylight casts dull prisms from my snow globes onto the attic floor. My mom started collecting those pretty winter scenes for me when I was a baby. I gaze at them, lined neatly on the shelf in front of my window. My first order of business every day is hoping they’ll give me a trace of the joy they did when I was a kid.

But either they don’t work that way anymore, or I don’t.

Who am I kidding? It’s definitely me.

I’m insane. Batshit. Nuttier than a fruitcake. Of course, that’s not an official diagnosis. The official word from Dr. Batton, whose swank Copley Square office I visited only once when I was ten, was that I was bright and intelligent and a wonderful young person. He said it’s normal for kids to have imaginary playmates.

But it gets a little sketchy when that young person grows up, and her imaginary friend decides to move in and make himself comfortable.

Not that anyone knows about that. No, these days, I’m good about keeping up appearances.

My second order of business each day is hoping that he won’t leak into my head. That maybe I can go back to being a normal sixteen–year–old girl.

But he always comes.

He’s a part of me, after all. And he’s been coming more and more, invading my thoughts. Of course I’m here, stupid.

Sawyer. His voice in my mind is so loud that it drowns out the moaning and creaking of the walls around me.

“Seda, honey?” my mother calls cheerily. She shifts her weight on the bottom step, making the house creak more. “Up and at ’em, buckaroo!”

I force my brother’s taunts away and call down the spiral staircase, “I am up.” My short temper is because of him, but it ends up directed at her.

She doesn’t notice though. My mother has only one mood now: ecstatically happy. She says it’s the air up here, which always has her taking big, deep, monster breaths as if she’s trying to inhale the entire world into her lungs. But maybe it’s because this is her element; after all, she made a profession out of her love for all things horror. Or maybe she really is better off without my dad, as she always claims she is.

I hear her whistling “My Darlin’ Clementine” as her slippered feet happily scuffle off toward the kitchen. I put on the first clothing I find in my drawer—-sweatpants and my mom’s old Boston College sweatshirt—-then scrape my hair into a ponytail on the top of my head as I look around the room. Mannequin body parts and other macabre props are stored up here. It’s been my bedroom for only a month. I slept in the nursery with the A and Z twins when we first got here because they were afraid of ghosts and our creepy old house. But maybe they—-like Mom—-are getting used to this place?

The thought makes me shudder. I like my attic room because of the privacy. Plus, it’s the only room that isn’t ice cold, since all the heat rises up to me. But I don’t like much else about this old prison of a mansion.

One of the props, Silly Sally, is sitting in the rocker by the door as I leave. She’d be perfect for the ladies’ department at Macy’s if it weren’t for the gaping chest wound in her frilly pink blouse. “I hate you,” I tell her, batting at the other mannequin body parts descending from the rafters like some odd canopy. She smiles as if the feeling is mutual. I give her a kick on the way out.

Despite the morbid stories about this place, I don’t ever worry about ghosts. After all, I have Sawyer, and he is worse.

As I climb down the stairs, listening to the kids chattering in the nursery, I notice the money, accompanied by a slip of paper, on the banister’s square newel post. The car keys sit atop the pile. Before I can ask, Mom calls, “I need you to go to the store for us. OK, Seda, my little kumquat?”

I blink, startled, and it’s not because of the stupid nickname. I don’t have a license, just a learner’s permit. My mom had me driving all over the place when we first came here, but that was back then. Back when this was a simple two–week jaunt to get an old house she’d inherited ready for sale. There wasn’t another car in sight, so she figured, why not? She’s all about giving us kids experiences, about making sure we aren’t slaves to our iPhones, like so many of my friends back home. My mother’s always marching to her own drummer, general consensus be damned, usually to my horror. But back then, I had that thrilling, invincible, first–days–of–summer–vacation feeling that made anything seemed possible. Too bad that was short lived.

We’ve been nestled at Bug House like hermits for months. Well, that’s not totally true. Mom has made weekly trips down the mountain, alone, to get the mail and a gallon of milk and make phone calls to civilization. We were supposed to go back to Boston before school started, but that time came and went, and there’s no way we’re getting off this mountain before the first snow.

Snow.

I peer out the window. The first dainty flakes are falling from the sky.

Snow. Oh God. Snow.

Buy Links:

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About the Author: 

Cyn Balog photo

Cyn Balog is the author of a number of young adult novels. She lives outside Allentown, Pennsylvania with her husband and daughters. Visit her online at http://www.cynbalog.com.

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I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did and I cannot wait to see what Cyn Balog does next!

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Reviews:

My Review

Alaina @ An Infinite Book World

My Guilty Obsession

Megan @ Under the Book Cover