Author: Katrina Leno
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Released: September 15th, 2020
Received: Own (OwlCrate)
Warnings: Animal death
Katrina Leno’s latest novel, Horrid, is a novel getting a lot of buzz this Halloween season. Personally, I ended up coming across it thanks to it’s inclusion in OwlCrate’s September box, though the roses on the cover would probably have been enough to pique my interest regardless.
Jane North-Robinson just lost her father, and now she and her mother are moving from warm California to cold and dreary New England (in the fall, at that). While her life hadn’t exactly been perfect before that moment, Jane’s life seemed to get infinitely more complicated and horrible after.
Now she’s stuck in a big mystery, all revolving around her family and the secrets trapped within a small town. As it turns out, both her mother and the entire town had been keeping secrets from her. Secrets that could change, or ruin, her life.
“No, she couldn’t remember the first book she’d eaten, but she could remember the first book she’d eaten purposefully. And that was maybe more important.”
I’m going to be honest with you here: I didn’t know what to expect from Horrid before I started reading. I basically went into this book blind, with no expectations or spoilers available. I think that was for the best.
So what did I think of this book, for which I had no assumptions about? It was okay. Not horrible (pun intended). But also not great. I had a lot of potential though, as the writing itself was wonderful, as was the mystery surrounding Jane’s life.
I loved all of the book references and the descriptions of the house, the scents, and all the little details that crossed Jane’s mind and senses. It made the world feel so rich and alive, which of course also helped to increase the tension and stake of the story itself.
“It isn’t always easy. Returning to the past.”
Looking back on it, I think I adored the first half of this novel. That’s where all of the build-up was, and most of the tension, for that matter. It was the ending and everything around it that I felt was lacking.
Lacking is perhaps a bit harsh. Mostly I mean that the ending felt like it was missing…something. An extra detail, perhaps even an extra chapter or two. I’m not entirely certain, but it didn’t captivate me the way the first part of the novel did.
All things considered though, this was a fun and extremely quick read. It’s the perfect book to sit down with a cup of tea and just read all in one sitting. Especially this time of year (naturally, I waited until the week of Halloween to read it).