Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Review: The House by Christina Lauren

Title: The House
Author: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 384

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Gavin tells Delilah he’s hers—completely—but whatever lives inside that house with him disagrees.

After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.

Delilah is instantly smitten.

Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness. The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.

Whoomp! There it is! My first 5 star book of 2016. This book was completely and utterly amazing and totally not what I was expecting at all. Going into The House, I expected a straightforward haunted house story, but that's not what this is at all. The House is a story about love and commitment just as much as it is a horror novel and it's beautiful.

Delilah and Gavin are the main characters in this wonderfully amazing book and the story is told from alternating perspectives. Delilah has had a thing for Gavin since before she left for boarding school and Gavin has secretly wondered if she really liked him, liked him. But then she comes home and stakes claim almost immediately and they begin an awkward friendship that slowly becomes more. They're both super weird kids in their own ways. Delilah is obsessed with horror movies and hauntings and Gavin, well, he lives in a really weird house.

The romance between these two was a huge focus of the book and I was totally okay with that. Their relationship was not insta-lovey at all, despite Delilah going after Gavin so quickly, and the romance between them was believable, natural, and totally swoon-worthy. I completely adored both of these characters, separately and together.

But, hey, this is a horror novel, so where's the horror?? Well, let me tell you. It's there. The horrific elements of The House are slow and subtle and sneakily creep up your spine until you find yourself looking over your shoulder and around corners before realizing how totally ridiculous you're being. Despite the fact that this book does focus heavily on romance, it is one of the best YA horror novels I've read. Period. There was mystery and shock factor and twists that I never saw coming.

If I could find one teensy thing to complain about it would be the over emphasis on descriptors for Gavin and Delilah. Seriously, by the end of this book I was wondering if Gavin was actually Hagrid. He was described as large and long and huge and big and massive and giant and I get it! The guy is really tall! Delilah should really get checked out by a doctor because she has a few kinds of birds, horses, and butterflies in her chest and that probably isn't healthy. All things considered, these are seriously minute issues though.

I truly wish that I could rave and fangirl over this book for awhile longer, but it's a book that I think would be very easily spoiled and so I'm not going to say too much more about it. Suffice it to say that this is a terrifically creepy book with amazing romance and you should totally read it if you like either of those things!