I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
DISCLAIMER: If you have been following my reviews, I think I already said this somewhere along the way... I started reading books with the horror / mystery / suspense genre. I'm a fan of Stepehen King, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike etc. so I hope you'd all understand that I had sky high expectations for this book.
First off, things that I liked about this book:
PHOBIC is a good take on the "haunted house" theory. I always love a good haunted house. ;) I like it that this one' pretty unique. It has its own flavor.
I like how the house was presented as a weird protector first for the family. I like that it leads us to a pretty complicated plot and that the mysteries aren't to be solved until you get to the end part. It's not so predictable.
I like that our characters seem to have a good chemistry. I believe that the main characters here, Piper and Todd would look good together. Sorry, I'm also a romance reader, so I tend to dwell on the love part. I like it when they talk like real friends and I like it that the love part was visible in the entirety of the book. I think even a horror should have some sweetness in it, so hats off to the author for this.
I like that I was pretty scared because I read it during the night with the lights off. I like how I connected with the tidbit that their house is haunted, I was particularly scared of the passages about the house creaking, appliances turning on by themselves etc. I wasn't scared of the ghosts here, unfortunately. I was scared of the house itself. I could imagine it clearly because of the descriptions.
I like that the bullying part of this book isn't shrugged off like a mild thing. I like that it capitulated on the fact that everyone gets what they deserved (I'm sorry for saying this, but it's true). I won't elaborate much about this because that would be a spoiler. I just want to say that if you think that you are being like Piper at school, fight back. Tell the adults. Don't let others intimidate you and no matter what, remember that you can only be bullied if you let people do it to you. That's the bottom line.
I like the cover, but there's a twist to this, so read on.
What I didn't like much about this book is that:
The story of the house is scattered, I don't know if it's just because of my timing (again, I read it during the night) that I wasn't able to understand what happened to the house in the past right away. I was able to get bits and pieces, but I had to go back a few steps to understand what really happened. The pieces of the past just kept on jumping from one chapter to another, I found it hard to keep up.
Another thing that I didn't like much is the high school drama. I think it's a good thing that Piper was finally able to stand up for herself in the middle, but I hate it that she was still so conscious about her looks and what other people thought of her. If this is a series and I get to see more of her, I wish she'd develop that sense of peace when it comes to her physical attributes and the rumors etc.
TODD. Gosh. Where do I even start? I like you for having a good chemistry with Piper, but I hate you for not liking her and liking a girl who has a boyfriend and who's a total b****? and then Oh! snap! You like her. WHIPLASH DUDE. TOTAL WHIPLASH. I find it surprising that I don't hate you for not believing in Piper right away. Instead, I dislike you for having such a misleading character. -______-
The bullies and their apparent change near the end. 4 words: I don't buy it.
It was super abrupt that I don't don't believe in it.
Gimme something more concrete and then maybe I'll believe you. LOL.
All in all, this is still a pretty good start to a series. It's not super scary, but it has its moments. I give it a 3.5.