Synopsis from GoodReads.com:
“We’re waiting for you to come and play. Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.”
First of all I want to thank Sarahbaroom on Instagram for recommending me this book when she heard that I was looking to review horror novels for younger readers. You are a live saver Sarah. And if anyone else wants me to read anything creepy feel free to drop me a comment.
Generally I am a very harsh critic when it comes to YA novels. I find that they can be a bit cheesy and predictable. So when I started this book I set the bar pretty low, but I was very pleasantly surprised. This was an awesome horror novel. There were even moments where it felt like it was building up to a cheesy YA trope moment but then it didn’t happen. It doesn’t even have much of a romantic subplot which just makes it even better.
When it comes to horror this book does not fail to deliver. There is at least one creepy scene in every chapter and it gets increasingly action packed as it goes along. It even has creepy dolls, and things involving dolls or children in horror are my favourite. I would say that this book is similar to The Boy Who Drew Monsters, in that it has horror film style pacing and depth. You get to know the characters as much as you need for the story and there is no unnecessary details or talky scenes.
There is nothing really offensive in this book but it is not for young readers. The scary scenes might frighten some younger readers and there is quite a bit of violence in places. If you can handle the average horror film you can handle this. For older readers, I think this book would be enjoyable. The only thing that makes this YA is the age of the characters and lack of sex and bad language. Maybe if you are an adult who wants to read horror but doesn’t like the swearing or sexual references that are in a lot of adult horror novels give this a go.
I do have two negative points about this book to point out though. Firstly, the beginning is a little teen horror flick cheesy, but once all of that is over it gets increasingly good and less predictable. My second point is that the book is set in the UK but a lot of characters have American names. It isn’t the end of the world but it is a pet peeve of mine.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.com. I loved it but it lost a point due to the character naming issue and the slight cheesiness at the beginning. It did not frighten me but it ticked all of the boxes when it came to being a solid horror novel. This will be a book I will be recommending people for a long time.
As always feel free to follow me on GoodReads and if you have read Frozen Charlotte let me know what you thought of it below, and I am always open to book suggestions.