Warning! This review contains spoilers, do not read it if you want to read the book.
We all know Marzia Bisognin for her Youtube channel CutiePieMarzia, and if you follow her, you’ll already know that she’s left the platform for personal reasons.
I used to follow her channel, and that’s where I found out that she was writing a novel, and since it was in English or in Italian, I couldn’t find it in Barcelona until I found it in an english library that I had recently discovered. And that’s when I decided to buy it, because I enjoyed watching her old videos where she talked about books that she had read that I wanted to read or had already read. That’s when I found out that we shared the same taste in books.
And so I bought it and started reading as soon as I could. And the thing is, now that I’ve finished reading it, I’m so disappointed with it.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect of the book, but since I liked her tastes in novels and creepy stuff, I thought that she would write the perfect novel for me, with ghosts, a creepy house, a clueless main character, … And she did, but it was all written in a way that it doesn’t make much sense when you are reading it. You only understand everything when you read the last pages of the book and, let me tell you, the ending is very (VERY) predictable. I knew what was wrong with her by the middle of the book, when she starts reading the book Spiritual Relief.
It is basically explaining everything that is happening through a book she finds by chance. I find it a poor way of justifying all the things that you, as a reader, don’t understand. Like the fact that the days last like two minutes. Until I found out what was that about, it was stressing me out. I didn’t know if it was because the writer didn’t know how to manage time or if it was because of some weird thing going on. And she also finds out that the gardener is a ghost and she, as cool as she can be, just decides to help him see the light with a simple phone call. The journalist she talks to on the phone agrees with her idea and the next day it is all in the newspaper. Just that simple.
The fact that I can see so many movies (and TV shows) in this book is worrying: I saw references from The Shining (Derfla-Alfred), also from American Horror Story (the whole plot seems based on the first season. Just imagine Amethyst as Violet and Avery as Tate. Exactly the same) and many others that I don’t think its necessary to type down.
What I find is the most important thing when you write (or read) a book is the fact that the characters have to be coherent. Realistic. There’s no point in writing a novel if you don’t know your characters. The best example here is, again, Amethyst. She finds out about the gardener’s past and Avery tells her to stay away from him (which sound scary if you ask me), but she just bursts out a laugh because she finds funny the fact that he “has a thing for spying people”. That doesn’t make any sense. It makes me wonder if everything is alright in her head (maybe a screw is to loose?). Likewise is the fact that there’s this man-shadow-whatever-it-is that’s stalking her and attacks her in multiple occasions, weird sounds around the house and she keeps living there pretending that nothing happened. You were attacked girl! Get out of there ASAP!
There’s this part where she helps the gardener cross to the other side with the help of a manual. Isn’t this too easy? He doesn’t even want to talk to her at the beginning but the next day he tells her all about his past.
What surprised me the most by the end of the book (where you connect almost all the dots) is the fact that the parents seem alright with the fact that their daughter died in front of their house because she got run over by a car. They saw her ghost in front of the gate and let her in because they knew something strange had happened when they were seeing her body laying on the asphalt and her ghost talking to them through the gate. They didn’t even react when they found out that the girl was dead and they were seeing her corpse. If I were the mother of the girl, I’d probably scream or cry or faint. But the curious thing is that she was run over by a car in front of her house! How’s that for a coincidence?
There are so many coincidences in this book that you can’t hardly believe a single one of them.
The other thing that I find too mainstream and weird at the same time is the fact that the parents are cool with seeing their daughter’s ghost around the house and they decide to stop contacting her because they see it’s scaring her, so they decide to let the days pass until it’s the 31st of October. As most of us know, Halloween is the perfect day to talk to ghosts, so hope that this is all true and, surprise surprise, it is!
Everything is explained in the last chapter (literally 10 pages) but one single thing: who is the lady that kept coming knocking the door and screaming that she had to leave? Why did she stop coming all of a sudden? Why put her in the book in the first place? She doesn’t add anything new to the story, what she says, Amethyst finds out the hard way, so, what’s the point in creating that character?
Finishing the review, I just want to talk about the worst thing I can find in a book: a list. In my opinion writing lists in books shows the author’s poor experience in writing. There are a few lists in this books that could have been written in a paragraph instead of the way she wrote it. This is something you can use if you are writing a cookbook or similar, but definitely not in a novel, because it breaks the narrative.
This is where I finish the review of the book. I know it’s a bit longer than usual, but I had the need to talk about all of the above.
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Also, If you are interested in reading a creepy book, you might like this one!
See you in the next post!