Sep 6, 2021

Review--The House by Christina Lauren


Delilah and Gavin’s new love is threatened by a force uncomfortably close to home in this haunting novel from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard.

His shirt is black, jeans are black, and shaggy black hair falls into his eyes. And when Gavin looks up at Delilah, the dark eyes shadowed with bluish circles seem to flicker to life.

He lives in that house, the one at the edge of town. Spooky and maybe haunted. Something worse than haunted. And Gavin is trapped by its secrets.

Delilah and Gavin can’t resist each other. But staying together will exact a price beyond their imagining.




I decided it was time to pick up a very old TBR book and came up with Christina Lauren's The House! It had a creepy themed story that gave me total Monster House vibes--anyone else remember this animated movie? Anyway, the story was a bit different than what I anticipated but was still chilling and amazing!

Delilah has returned home to her old school after years of being at a private school. Her grandmother who she stayed with on occasional breaks has dementia and had to go into a nursing home, her father lost his job, money was tight, so Delilah is forced to come back home. When she returns to school, she sees him, the boy she fought for and basically got sent away for defending long ago. When she was younger Delilah had a crush on Gavin and when he was being teased, she got into a fight with the boys pestering him and not long after she was sent to private school. Now that she's back, her fascination with Gavin picks up again and she wants to get to know him more. 

Gavin was always the quite guy. The ones kids whispered about when they say him. But what everyone doesn't know is that Gavin lives in...a special house. For as long as Gavin can remember, House has taken care of him. He can't remember his parents, but he remembers growing up and House always provided for him. There was food in the fridge, clothes in his dresser, everything he could ever want, House provided for him. It's what he's always known, so he never questioned things as he got older.

Until he started hanging out with Delilah more. And he decides he wants Delilah to meet House. Only, it would seem House isn't too fond of Delilah. Anyone or anything that would take Gavin away from it, House has a problem with.

This book was straight up eerie! The fact that House (and I keep referring to the house as such because that's what Gavin calls it) was sentient was just freaky. Everything inside House was sentient as well and had its own personality. It wasn't just one combined sentient being, Blanket came to life, Coffee Table and Piano had their own personalities and Diningroom Table straight up loathed Delilah. It was seriously freaky! I mean, you'd think it would be freaky enough that everything was coming to life, but I found the distinct personalities just a bit more frightening.

Yet House only ever seemed to want to take care of Gavin. It thought of Gavin as its own. So there was a nurturing sense to it, just a very scary, over-protecting kind of nurturing.

The dynamics between Gavin and Delilah were just kind of meh. I mean, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't swoonworthy either. I did like that they had a friendship of sorts developing before things became more romantic between them. There was a previous connection there as well from their childhood, but it wasn't as strong.

The mystery of House itself was the thing that boggled my mind the most! Did someone die and their spirit somehow possessed the house? What made House the way it was? We get some explanation of this towards the end, but I found I wasn't quite satisfied with the answer. It just wasn't as detailed as I hoped for. It seemed like it was merely, "oh, the house is this way because X happened." And I was like what?! But that was the end of the conversation for the most part.

Other things that tended to throw me were oddly placed flashbacks. I mean, sometimes it was just hard for me to grasp the transition from present to flashback to present again. The moments weren't always clear. And though the chapters tended to alternate between Delilah and Gavin, at times I felt like the opposite of the "chapter" narrator took more center staged. It was a third person point of view, so that made things a bit more twisted in trying to distinguish who was "speaking."

The ending itself was borderline anti-climatic. I mean, things are resolved nicely, but I guess the manner in how they were resolved just left me with a feeling of wanting. I liked that it was wrapped up neatly, but at the same time, I guess I just expected maybe a little more insight to what just happened to make a house sentient, but there was no such thing.

The House was definitely an eerie and creepy read that is perfect for this time of year as we all get into the spooky season! It's a read that was slightly chilling because you never really knew what House would do, when it was watching you (nearly always), when it was listening (nearly always), and just when it was safe to do things (nearly never)! That House was so sentient and so very much against the idea of Delilah being involved with Gavin made this a most chilling read indeed. This is a book that kept me turning the pages, eager to see how everything would end.

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

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