Title: Diary of a Haunting
Author: M. Verano
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Format/Source: Hardback/From Publisher
Age Group/Genre: Young Adult/Horror, Paranormal
When Paige moves from LA to Idaho with her mom and little brother after her parents’ high-profile divorce, she expects to completely hate her new life, and the small town doesn’t disappoint. Worse yet, the drafty old mansion they’ve rented is infested with flies, spiders, and other pests Paige doesn’t want to think about.
She chalks it up to her rural surroundings, but it’s harder to ignore the strange things happening around the house, from one can of ravioli becoming a dozen, to unreadable words appearing in the walls. Soon Paige’s little brother begins roaming the house at all hours of the night, and there’s something not right about the downstairs neighbor, who knows a lot more than he’s letting on.
Things only get creepier when she learns about the sinister cult that conducted experimental rituals in the house almost a hundred years earlier. The more Paige investigates, and the deeper she digs, the clearer it all becomes: whatever is in the house, whatever is causing all the strange occurrences, has no intention of backing down without a fight.
Found in the aftermath, Diary of a Haunting collects the journal entries, letters, and photographs Paige left behind. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
Reading Through My Fingers…
I basically stay away from Horror books, because I’m a total wimp when it comes to scary things. I like creepy, but when it turns into gory or scary stuff I just can’t do it. I watch Game of Thrones through my fingers sometimes (because of all the gore), and I do the same thing during scary parts in shows or movies. And with Diary of a Haunting, I felt like I was reading through my fingers.
Now, that doesn’t mean that this is the scariest book in the world. It just means it was sufficiently scary enough to creep me out and make me think someone was in my house when I was reading at night and my kids were sleeping and my husband was gone. Thankfully, no one was actually in my house, but if this book’s job was to scare me, it did its job.
But like I said, it wasn’t the scariest book ever. I recognize that it wasn’t really even a 7 on a scary scale, yet it just had these moments. And there is this extra element to the story that makes it feel like it’s real (a kind of The Blair Witch Project aspect), and THAT made me shake my head a few times and say to myself, “It’s not real. It’s just a book.”
And I know that the author really has no say over the cover of the book, but M. Verano gets 1,000,000 of my Bonus Points for that cover. Here’s a video I took of the cover:
A Disappointing Ending…
Even though I tend to stay away from Horror books, I do enjoy that creepy aspect and I was really actually enjoying Diary of a Haunting, until I got to the end. It seemed like a very strange, quick ending that didn’t go with the rest of the book. There was a distinct turning point for me, when the characters found something that should have been EXTREMELY OBVIOUS. It should have been found AGES ago, yet if it had, the story would have been over much sooner. So I see why, plot-wise, it wasn’t found until later, but realistically, this would have been found much earlier.
And then the big reveal at the end was really disjointed and sudden. I actually thought of a different ending as I was reading, and I really, really wish it had ended up that way instead. And unfortunately, a lot of the ending is told to us, not shown, so I feel like it lost a lot of potential that way.
But I did enjoy the humor throughout, and I thought that M. Verano was really good at writing the modern teenage girl. All the slang and everything was very current. And it was a super quick read, so I enjoyed that. I also got a kind of The Yellow Wall-Paper vibe, and I LOVE that short story, so that was nice.
My rating for Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano:
Actually 3.5 stars. It would have been at least 4 stars if not for that disjointed ending. But I did enjoy most of the book.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way for this review.