It’s been a while since I’ve read a genuinely spooky YA book, and Horrid did not disappoint. I always love a book where the focal point is an ominous house. In this case we have North Manor, a family mansion in Maine that has sat empty for two years until a mother and daughter move in. The mother grew up in this manor, but something has made her never want to go back. But due to some unfortunate circumstances, she and her teenage daughter have to live there now.
We follow Jane, the daughter, and how she quickly figures out there’s something very… strange about this home: the tapping, the creaking, the sudden appearance of random objects. But we also learn Jane has problems with anger and how to deal with it. This book deeply delves into the topics of mental health, and how certain conditions can be passed genetically, and how it is handled and portrayed in the book may not be the best way.
So that leads me into this: there’s some unreliable narrator territory going on, which isn’t usually my cup of tea. But in this case Leno so perfectly toed the line between reality and the paranormal. Leno is also the master at crafting such atmospheric books. I truly felt like I was transported to Maine on a chilly, autumnal day. And if I’m being totally honest, the mother-daughter vibes I got reminded me a bit of Rory and Lorelai Gilmore (but of course, this being much darker!)
I really enjoyed the reading experience SO much, and I fully recommend this book especially during the spooky season!
TW: pica (a disorder that makes people want to eat things that aren’t food), death of parent, death of family members, mention of overdosing, bullying, child abuse, animal abuse.