Thursday, December 24, 2020

Book Review | The Haunting by Lindsey Duga

The Haunting is a middle grade horror novel by Lindsey Duga.

A dark family secret prompts a ghost to wreak havoc in this spooky novel in the spirit of Mary Downing Hahn.
The only life 12-year-old Emily has ever known is the cold, unloved existence of being an orphan. But everything changes when the Thorntons, a young couple from London, adopt Emily, whisking her away to a new life at their grand estate.

At first, life at Blackthorn Manor is wonderful. But as Emily explores the grounds and rooms, she stumbles upon a mysterious girl named Kat, who appears to be similar in age, and the two become fast friends.

That's when things take a turn for the worse. Kat seems to know a curious amount about the estate, and strange things happen whenever she's around. In one case, Emily narrowly avoids getting toppled by a bookcase in the library; in another, the fire erupts in the fireplace, nearly burning Emily's hands. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- wants Emily dead.

Emily must find out what happened to the Thorntons and, more important, how Kat is connected to these strange goings-on at Blackthorn Manor before it's too late!

This is exactly the kind of middle grade book I would have loved as a kid. This is going to show my age, but every time I went to the library, I'd look in the card catalog under "ghost" to see if there was anything new. The Haunting by Lindsey Duga would have been an instant favorite!

I know I'm not supposed to review middle grade for other adult readers, blah, blah, blah. Too bad because I am going to so prepare thyself. If you can't handle me saying this is a great book for kids but not so much for older readers - you've been warned.

I'm going to happily pass this book on to my boys. I think they would find it just scary enough to get creeped out by it. That's the beauty of young readers. They don't have a thousand stories in their minds and a thousand tropes that have come before when they pick up something new. The Haunting will be fresh and new and creepy.

If you are an adult reader who reads middle grade as one of your own personal genres - like I do! - The Haunting isn't going to feel particularly new. The Haunting reminded me of Little Orphan Annie - with Sandy and Miss Hannigan and Daddy Warbucks - which I enjoyed. The scares are fun, but they are also very traditional for a ghost story. The reader will know what's going on in The Haunting long before our main character Emily figures it out. This will be far more thrilling to younger readers.

This was my first time reading Lindsey Duga. She has written YA previously, but The Haunting was her middle grade debut. She has another middle grade horror coming out in March 2021 called Ghost in the Headlights so you know my inner Jen is excited to read that one next year as well.

3.5/5 stars


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  1. I think as adult readers we've become jaded by reading so many books and tropes, so its nice that you acknowledged that and said that kids will still enjoy this. The cover is very spooky!

  2. I totally would have loved this one when I was a kid, too. :)

  3. Sounds like a good one. Merry Christmas. Have a wonderful day.


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