Aug 7, 2021

Review--Horrid by Katrina Leno


Following her father's death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor's doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone...and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident "bad seed," struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane's mom also seems to be spiralling with the return of her childhood home, but she won't reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the "storage room" her mom has kept locked isn't for storage at all -- it's a little girl's bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears....

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more... horrid?


Katrina Leno's Horrid was one of the more eeriest reads I've read! It's one that will keep you guessing and turning the pages to see juts what is going on! It was positively nuts, but in a good way!

Jane and her mom are moving across the country after her father dies. They are staying in her mother's childhood home for financial reasons and Jane wasn't too happy about the move as everything she knows is in California and Maine is the complete opposite of everything she knew. Jane's first night in the house though leads her to see a mysterious figure in the upstairs window with the light on, where the electricity hasn't quite been turned on yet. Totally freaky!

What continues to unravel is a story filled with more mystery and edge that you won't be able to see the ending coming! There were so many of those moments where Jane thinks she saw something in the corner of her eye but when she turns to look, there's nothing there. Strange noises in the night and the kids at school call her house the "creep house." Highly unoriginal, but there is definitely something strange going on in this house.

Jane's mother also seems to be harboring some sort of secret about the house itself. Not even acknowledging the mystery of what room is. She brushes Jane's questions off with it being a storage room, nothing of interest. Yet Jane keeps hearing things in that room, marbles rolling, footsteps creaking...all sorts of weirdness.

That's not the real horror though. Jane suffers from anxiety and for reasons to be eventually revealed later on, she finds herself eating books! Yes, eating books. She nibbles on the page a piece at a time, consuming the words. It's somehow written in a beautiful way, but the utter horror of a book being eaten is still very real. Granted, she doesn't eat the cover, just the pages.

Another thing I found odd, and was probably just a personal thing, was how Jane referred to her parents by their name. I mean, growing up, I never called my mom by her name. It just wasn't done. Granted, I can't say Jane ever vocally calls her mother by her name, but it's "thought" a lot. The story is told in third person point of view, so we won't hear "mom," we hear "Ruth." She did the same when thinking about her father. For awhile I thought maybe he was a stepdad but nope. Totally her biological father. Honestly, this was just a minor thing but it did kind of nag at me.

Jane's interactions outside the "creep house" were telling as well. She's at a new school and trying to make friends, but it always seems like people are holding something back from her. It all leads back to the greater mystery that is afoot.

Katrina really knows how to build up a good tension. There were so many times you begin to question Jane's own sanity, and she wonders at it herself from time to time. Random text messages that appear on her phone that she doesn't remember sending. It was all sorts of spooky weirdness.

The ending was even more shocking! As the great mystery unravels we see a twist happen that leads to even more questions. Sadly, not all questions get answered. The ending is one of those that leaves things somewhat open-ended which is even more puzzling honestly. Like I found myself wondering what happened to "character X" who walked off the page before all the hubbub and is never seen again. Did something happen or was it as mundane of an exit as it seemed? 

If you're looking for a spooky read that is truly bizarre and puzzling, Horrid is the perfect read for you! It's the perfect read for our upcoming fall/spooky season as well! This is a read that will keep you up late into the night needing to solve the mystery of the "creep house" and Jane's own character!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

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