The Haunted

The Haunted

From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to h...

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Title:The Haunted
Author:Danielle Vega
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Haunted Reviews

  • Ellen Gail

    A haunted house.

    A haunted past.

    Which one is more dangerous?

    Logically it's a 4, but my heart gives it a 5. And honestly, after a little distance from it, it's 4. My heart still unashamedly loves it, but logically, it has to be a 4.

    Anyway, on to the part of my review where I do more than dither over numbers! Or at least attempt to do more.

    is my first Danielle Vega - I've heard mixed reviews over her se

    A haunted house.

    A haunted past.

    Which one is more dangerous?

    Logically it's a 4, but my heart gives it a 5. And honestly, after a little distance from it, it's 4. My heart still unashamedly loves it, but logically, it has to be a 4.

    Anyway, on to the part of my review where I do more than dither over numbers! Or at least attempt to do more.

    is my first Danielle Vega - I've heard mixed reviews over her series

    . The torture porn comparisons make me hesitant, but I did enjoy this one, so I don't want to cross it off the TBR just yet. We shall see.

    is the story of Hendricks Becker-O’Malley, the new kid in town. Her parents are house flippers, and they've decided to flip a rather

    fixer-upper. Oh and live there at the same time. A house riddled with rumors of death, ghosts, and horrors. Should be a pretty simple flip, right?

    Let's talk the good stuff first - great pacing, snappy writing, and realistic teenagers (for the most part.)

    When when I say realistic teenagers, I mean an awareness of teenage stereotypes, that both follows the rules and bends them. Hendricks makes friends pretty fast, and they're a self aware mix of high school cliches - the cheerleader with an artistic side, the jock with a heart of gold, the well meaning but tactless queen-bee.

    So who is Hendricks? How do you find identity when you aren't 'the girlfriend' anymore?

    Talking plot, the story grabs you right away - the prologue is creepy and oh so relatable for any soft-hearted animal lover. A mewing, trapped kitten? I would have gone into the basement too. I once literally wedged my body into a crevice to rescue a scared kitten.

    It worked. His name is Oliver and after a much needed bath, he found his forever home.

    So as an admittedly squishy marshmallow, when it comes to to horror novels and animals, I automatically cringe. So for fellow softies like me, there is very,

    mild animal violence. Details:

    BTW, there is a Veronica Mars reference in here and it made me smile.

    The scary parts of the story didn't break any new ground. Inexplicable noises, apparitions, bloody writing on the walls - if you're a horror junkie like me, you've read it before. But lack of innovation doesn't always equal a bad story. Much like it embraces teenage cliches, the story has fun with the horror elements. It's not new, but it brings the creeps.

    Let's talk about what didn't work for me.

    I wasn't swooning over the love elements - some of the stuff going on in the background was sweet, like Portia's crush she's aching to turn into more, and Connor just being a genuinely good dude with an open heart. And Hendricks' past felt very authentic.

    But the Eddie thing...

    And there were definite insta-love vibes. And they play a good sized part in the story, particularly in the last 1/3.

    And speaking of the ending, I'll keep it mostly spoiler free. Like, these are barely spoilers, but I'm going to tag it anyway. Just in case.

    The ending wasn't awful, but there were missed opportunities for catharsis.

    Despite the fact that I highlighted several problems in

    , my overall enjoyment was still pretty high. It was easy to fall right into the story and stay fallen. It's not flawless, but I like it and that's all that counts.

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  • JenacideByBibliophile

    Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Razorbill – Penguin Random House, via Goodreads Giveaway for an honest review.

    Opinion:

    Grab your salt and sage, kids.

    There’s a haunting in our midst.

    After a traumatic experience involving her ex-boyfriend, Hendricks and her family have just moved from Philadelphia to a small-town in New York, in the hopes of starting fresh. But with a new school and new friends comes questions about her past, and Hendricks isn’t quite ready to share what h

    Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Razorbill – Penguin Random House, via Goodreads Giveaway for an honest review.

    Opinion:

    Grab your salt and sage, kids.

    There’s a haunting in our midst.

    After a traumatic experience involving her ex-boyfriend, Hendricks and her family have just moved from Philadelphia to a small-town in New York, in the hopes of starting fresh. But with a new school and new friends comes questions about her past, and Hendricks isn’t quite ready to share what happened in Philly. As she tries to fit into the small-town atmosphere, Hendricks learns the history of the house her parents purchased to fix-up and flip. Steel House is haunted, a little girl was murdered there a few years ago, and rumors say that it was the brother that did it. But when Hendricks starts to hear male voices in the house and things start moving on their own, she wonders if the rumors are true. That Steel house is haunted, and that it wants revenge.

    You’ll know Danielle Vega from her hugely popular series called The Merciless.

    If you don’t…well.

    What are you even doing?

    If you have read the series (or even if you haven’t, I guess), you know that she LOVES to freak her readers the f*** out with demented scenes brought to life by truly evil, yet charismatic, characters. So naturally when I saw THIS little gem, I knew I had to have it! I, like the next darkness seducer and lover of loners and creepers, have an affinity for spiking my anxiety levels to ghastly rates so I can never feel safe again.

    But can I say The Haunted was on the same level of creepiness and horror The Merciless is on? Did it make my skin crawl? Make my stomach twist into knots? Did I feel as if I could never close my eyes again for fear that I’d be transported into Steel House and forever haunted by sadistic ghosts and a cat that goes “mew” “Mew” “MEW”?!?!!?

    No.

    But it was good.

    If there’s one way to get me hooked into a book, it’s to introduce a protagonist with a trauma that is kept hidden until halfway into the book. What happened with her ex-boyfriend? Did he dump her? Did he “Carrie-fy” her with a bucket of blood at prom?! Did he ASSAULT her?! Well, I’m obviously not giving those precious little details up. But that is definitely what spiked my curiosity and got me hooked.

    The book as a whole, however, is a little lacking. Don’t get me wrong! It was enjoyable, an easy/quick read and definitely had the spooky vibes I was looking for. But there’s nothing that really sets it apart from EVERY OTHER haunted house tale. It felt a bit rushed, especially near the end, and I wish the author would have made the book longer so the suspense and horror could REALLY build up!

    Though the ending was rushed, I am left feeling pleasantly annoyed with the author. Danielle Vega really likes to build me up and then set my heart on fire. At first, I thought “oh, just a little gasoline on my aching heart. No problem, it’ll be doused later.” But then I got to the end where, instead of putting out the fire on my heart, SHE ADDED MORE GASOLINE.

    *Le Sigh*

    The characters are well-developed, the plot and history surrounding the house was molded well, and the book doesn’t get boring at all. BUT! By the end, I am left feeling like some things weren’t cleared up as much as I would have liked. I wanted more insight into the aftermath. What happened with Hendricks’s friends outside? What happened with popular smiley guy? What did her parents say?! Due to these little things not being addressed, I can see why other readers are miffed about the ending. Instead of the book gradually wrapping up, it just smacked us across the face with an ending and said bye.

    That said, the book is good. I’d recommend it. I’d probably even read it again. It’s definitely for the reader that doesn’t read a lot of horror – because it is only MILDLY SCARY. If you want to dip your toes into the “scary stories” world, definitely start with this. You can’t go wrong!

  • Shaina

    Really good story... totally better than some of the last in The Merciless series ! RTC

    On to the next in the pile !

    Edit :*****

    The review : I’m rating this alongside OTHER WORKS of this author’s in the past. If I do so then this is a solid four.

    The consistency was much better and so was the story and the ratio of someone getting hurt to real life .... eh... pain ratio? Those that have read will understand. Example : someone getting their head beaten in and shoulder broken and getting up and wa

    Really good story... totally better than some of the last in The Merciless series ! RTC

    On to the next in the pile !

    Edit :*****

    The review : I’m rating this alongside OTHER WORKS of this author’s in the past. If I do so then this is a solid four.

    The consistency was much better and so was the story and the ratio of someone getting hurt to real life .... eh... pain ratio? Those that have read will understand. Example : someone getting their head beaten in and shoulder broken and getting up and walking off like it was nothing ... going home and showering and throwing their clothes in the wash. WTH?

    Yeah. I was questioning some things (what kind of razor does that girl use?) and ... (are her parents ever around ?) and a few other things. I was telling myself that if my teenager or niece ever acts like this they are in serious deep dog dood. Anyway, the story and the somewhat Shakespearean tragedy in the end are a nice spin. It’s not bad and I liked it.

    Vega is getting better.

  • Susan

    This was a really fun haunted house story! It was suitably creepy and more than a little gory. There is some animal death so be aware if you are sensitive to that topic. It's more of a mention and not graphic or detailed violence to an animal. There is a lot of suspense and tension while you wait to see what horrible thing will happen next. It made me want to keep listening into the night. The characters I liked didn't get the ending I had hoped for but it made sense for the story. The last bit

    This was a really fun haunted house story! It was suitably creepy and more than a little gory. There is some animal death so be aware if you are sensitive to that topic. It's more of a mention and not graphic or detailed violence to an animal. There is a lot of suspense and tension while you wait to see what horrible thing will happen next. It made me want to keep listening into the night. The characters I liked didn't get the ending I had hoped for but it made sense for the story. The last bit became very much like a horror movie and had a touch of camp, but I think the best horror is able to mock itself a little.

    I listened to the audiobook and the narration was excellent. Each character sounded different and I loved her voice for the cat meowing and the creepy doll. Listening made this a lot creepier!

  • Amanda

    I had hoped to like this book more than I ended up liking it. One of the reasons for this was that it is classified as a horror story but it felt more like a contemporary with spooky vibes. One of my biggest problems with the story was that the main character, Hendricks, experienced unexplainable and unsettling happenings in her new home day 1. But instead of telling her parents or her new friends, she keeps her experiences all bottled up. Her justification behind this choice fell flat. She thou

    I had hoped to like this book more than I ended up liking it. One of the reasons for this was that it is classified as a horror story but it felt more like a contemporary with spooky vibes. One of my biggest problems with the story was that the main character, Hendricks, experienced unexplainable and unsettling happenings in her new home day 1. But instead of telling her parents or her new friends, she keeps her experiences all bottled up. Her justification behind this choice fell flat. She thought her parents would think she was crazy and send her to a therapist.

    Also, there was a big aura of mystery behind Hendricks' relationship with her boyfriend and why her family decided to uproot themselves in the middle of the school year and move out of state for her sake. This was continually referred to throughout the story in passing but without any hints of substance and it was kind of irritating.

    I will say that this story had continual moments of creepiness, something I was looking for in

    but never managed to feel fully satisfied about. This was a heavily plot-driven story but there were little moments throughout the story that were never adequately answered and were left unresolved. It is for this reason that I am not assigning this book a higher rating.

  • Cillian

    Final buddy read of the year, sis! (Well,

    , maybe not. Maybe 2018 will be a doll and stretch itself out a wee bit so we can squeeze one more read...)

    Whichever, happy reading and happy closing of buddy reads for 2018.

  • Kristen

    Okay, so before this turns into a big, long rant, I want to say that the first half of this book was amazing! The writing is truly great. The pacing is fast and exciting. The horror aspect is refreshingly different for the YA genre. I was truly enjoying myself and hoped to be writing a review about a 5 star book in the end.

    However, that's not exactly what ended up happening. I'm not going to spoil anything for you

    Okay, so before this turns into a big, long rant, I want to say that the first half of this book was amazing! The writing is truly great. The pacing is fast and exciting. The horror aspect is refreshingly different for the YA genre. I was truly enjoying myself and hoped to be writing a review about a 5 star book in the end.

    However, that's not exactly what ended up happening. I'm not going to spoil anything for you, because I'm not about that lifestyle, but just trust me on this one, the ending is trash. You will get mad. You may even laugh. I don't know. Depends on what kind of person you are and how you get your jollies, I suppose. The point is, that ending made me lose all respect for this book immediately.

    Anywho, a minor issue I had with this book was that none of the characters, possibly excluding Eddie (omg poor Eddie lol), were likeable. Like, at all. They were very accurate portrayals of modern teenagers, I'll give you that. But as I'm sure most of you already know, a lot of modern teenagers kinda suck. Even so, I don't think that really took too much away from the story, because the characters sucked, but it was kind of in a fun, campy way, if you know what I mean. Kinda like how Mean Girls portrayed teens. Like that.

    Now for the big RANT portion of my review!

    You CANNOT. I repeat, you CAN NOT, fall in love with someone after hanging out with them for like a total of 5 hours, over the course of a few days. I don't care how hot the guy is! I don't care if he is dreamier than a freaking ice cream sundae with all the fudge and toppings, real LOVE does not happen like that. It takes time to develop. All of the feelings that come before real LOVE, is called LIKE. Stay with me now. I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out. Having a CRUSH, is not the same thing as being in LOVE. I swear to Goooosh if I read one more YA book where the teens think they are seriously in LOVE after 45 seconds I am going to rip out the pages and chew and swallow them and poop them out so that they end up in the toilet where they belong.

    Thank you.

    That is all.

    Have a wonderful day.

  • Mandy

    Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of a giveaway from Bookish First. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

    Well, um, I wanted a ghostie book. And I did get a ghostie book. It just wasn't the ghostie book that I wanted. It's not the ghostie book we all deserved. It was just, um, yeah. It wasn't a good one. 

    I think the biggest issue with thi

    Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of a giveaway from Bookish First. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

    Well, um, I wanted a ghostie book. And I did get a ghostie book. It just wasn't the ghostie book that I wanted. It's not the ghostie book we all deserved. It was just, um, yeah. It wasn't a good one. 

    I think the biggest issue with this book was the fact that it pointed out multiple times that people were cliches. You are now sitting there going, "Um, what's the problem, Mandy? Sounds like this book is self-aware. Isn't that a jam to be had?"

    And the answer is YES. It is. Except, well, it decided to do nothing with the self-awareness. Everyone literally fit into little pigeonholes with no depth or anything to move on the fact that they were, indeed, a cliche. For example: the brooding ~misunderstood~ bad boy from the wrong side of the small town that only peeks out of his ~misunderstood~ black outfit for the new girl. He has a tragic story, snarky and moody personality, and he, of course, has all the answers. Everything about him SCREAMS cliche.

    Then add in the literal golden boy; the cool artsy friend that sticks out from the "mean" group; the classic frenemy popular girl; and Hendricks who tried really really hard to be something else besides a Mary Sue but failed - and that's our main cast. I just kept hoping that we would subvert the tropes and cliches, since the author was fully aware that they were there, but we did NOT. I knew instantly how each character was going to react/act/etc. because they were the cliches to the tee.

    As I mentioned in the above character, I feel like the author did try to make Hendricks more than a Mary Sue, but things really did bog it down. Hendricks has a secret that she is keeping from everyone else, and it's the main reason why her family moved to this small town in the middle of the year and so quickly. She has an ex boyfriend that abused her, and as the story progresses, we find out more about her struggle to find out who she is. When she was dating her ex, she really was only defined her boyfriend, and I really wanted to see who she would become now that she could be herself.

    However, the book's answer was to completely forget about this plotline and focus only on a) the ghosts and b) her love interests/new friend struggles. I was waiting to see who Hendricks would become, but honestly, I can't tell you any distinct characteristics about her or what she likes. Vega did some great things with it, and she did show what the aftermath of abuse does to you, but the follow through never came through. 

    The plot was very intriguing at first. I was super pulled in with the first few chapters. It was chilling, and as I said, I was intrigued by Hendricks. I thought we had a lot of promise with the creepy ghost, the spooky atmosphere, and the promise of Hendricks's personal growth story. And it worked for a few chapters, but then it struggled. 

    The struggle in plot came from the fact that it would be either really slow going or taking leaps that were super large. At some points, it felt too much like a contemporary, and then other parts, we jumped a lot in logic. Characters would be nothing at first, and then all of a sudden they were friends/in love? We had the ghost situation figured out, and then oh, OOPs no we don't and BIG things are happening? All within a chapter or so. 

    Speaking of romances, I also felt no investments in any of them. In the beginning of the story, Hendricks continuously turns down the first love interest because she wants to find out who she is first before jumping into a new relationship. So I was ALL for that. However, she continues to get pushed into situations with him that put them into a romantic situation. But since he wasn't the brooding bad boy and this book was so cliche, I couldn't get invested in it since I knew he wasn't going to be the choice. It's them moody boys that gets them girls. Take notes, y'all. 

    And then the romance with love interest number two? I felt like there was nothing for the longest time, and then all of a sudden there was a TON of feels and even the love word dropped and LIKE Y'ALL WE DON'T EVEN KNOW HIS NAME FOR LIKE 100 PAGES. It was way too fast, and like love interest number one and the boyfriend of the past were still things so how was I supposed to be invested in this dude??? 

    The writing was okay, and there was a pretty spooky atmosphere. I will admit that I did have to scoot really quickly down a darkened hallway because there were some scary feels. I was intrigued by Hendricks's character growth when it was mentioned. There is a heavy amount of gore that I wasn't feeling and didn't think it was necessary, but skimming was fine. Therefore, it was sitting at 2 crowns for a really long time - until we got to the end. 

    The ending was a HOT mess. The big "reveal" came kind of nowhere. Everything seemed to be solved, and I think the author wanted to everyone to go GASP PLOT TWIST. But it felt really forced, and I was confused by the sudden lurch of things. And then it didn't fully make sense, since Hendricks INSTANTLY knew things that I don't think I fully had all the pieces to put together. There was one part that was decently obvious, but other than that, it felt forced that Hendricks knew. And then the entire ending sequence felt so forced and just like we needed a tragic ending? Idk, it just didn't make sense overall, and everything just felt messy, unfinished, and unbelievable. It didn't sit well with me at all, and honestly put a pit in the bottom of my stomach. It instantly dropped down to a 1 crown for me instantly. 

    Well, this was far longer than I thought this review would be. I'm just going to stop now before it gets even longer. Overall, the book had a lot of promise, but it ended up being a hot mess with so many cliches, gore, and more. 

    rating: 1 crown & Snow White rating

    representation: Latinx side character/love interest, Asian side character, lesbian side character, domestic/emotional abuse survivor 

    content warnings: gore (heavy amount), violence against animals, violence, death, murder, domestic/emotional abuse in flashbacks, attempted rape (very brief setup of this - not much discussed but still there)

  • Kimberly Antill

    I'm afraid I really don't know what to say because for me this story was pretty forgettable. The author introduces the main character as someone who once waged a war against cliches, which is kind of strange since the entire book was one giant cliche. I didn't mind the author's writing style but I didn't care for the story itself, especially the ending. Also, there was a violent event involving a toddler. I assume the author was merely trying to shock and scare the reader but it doesn't scare me

    I'm afraid I really don't know what to say because for me this story was pretty forgettable. The author introduces the main character as someone who once waged a war against cliches, which is kind of strange since the entire book was one giant cliche. I didn't mind the author's writing style but I didn't care for the story itself, especially the ending. Also, there was a violent event involving a toddler. I assume the author was merely trying to shock and scare the reader but it doesn't scare me, it just sickens me.

  • megs_bookrack

    That's a lofty statement but I'll bite.

    Plus, my 80s-loving heart feels the vibe of this cover.

    Let's do this.

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