The House by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon & Schuster
Published on October 6, 2015
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Gavin tells Delilah he’s hers—completely—but whatever lives inside that house with him disagrees.
After seven years tucked away at an East coast boarding school, Delilah Blue returns to her small Kansas hometown to find that not much has changed. Her parents are still uptight and disinterested, her bedroom is exactly the way she left it, and the outcast Gavin Timothy still looks like he’s crawled out of one of her dark, twisted drawings.
Delilah is instantly smitten.
Gavin has always lived in the strange house: an odd building isolated in a stand of trees where the town gives in to mild wilderness. The house is an irresistible lure for Delilah, but the tall fence surrounding it exists for good reason, and Gavin urges Delilah to be careful. Whatever lives with him there isn’t human, and isn’t afraid of hurting her to keep her away.
In terms of a Young Adult paranormal novel, this book was good. Add in the fact that is was Christina Lauren writing and that turns into “of course it’s good.” Even with all of that, I just wanted more. More suspense, more feelings, more anxiety, more tension. I’m greedy like that. Christina Lauren has consistently trained me to expect great things because they deliver those great things time and time again. I keep reminding myself that this book is YA so maybe it shouldn’t have more of all of those things on my wish list. But then I am reminded that YA doesn’t equate to tame, it represents not only the age of the target reader but also the main characters. I preferred having my pants scared off more as a teenager than I do as a grownup. Even as an adult, I wish this book had more of those fun, scary moments.
The main characters, Gavin and Delilah, are engaging and beautifully quirky. They complement each other well without diminishing the other or wishing/hoping the other will eventually change somehow. Hooray for accepting the people you love! The only drama they really face in their relationship is related to Gavin’s house. You know, the seemingly possessed one. House is just as much a main character as Gavin and Delilah. Not only has House essentially raised Gavin but it has also been his watch dog and watch dogs can be very protective of their charges. Problems arise when Delilah is perceived as a threat and Gavin starts considering life without living in House.
The areas of suspense and paranormal activity stem from House’s disgruntled behavior. These aspects start off slowly and progress at a leisurely pace (a little too leisurely), plateau and drag, and then finally reach a consistent high point around the 60-percent mark. This is when the book finally morphs from an intriguing, slightly-spooky story to a serious, suspenseful one. I was really hoping for a more consistent scare current throughout. This transition took too long for my liking but the characters kept me invested. Gavin and Delilah are enchanting, witty, and lovable; they carry the story from start to finish.
I wanted to love this book but I’m left just liking it a lot, primarily because of Gavin and Delilah. The concept is unique and intriguing but the level of suspense just isn’t steady enough to keep me consistently intrigued. Definitely pick this up if you like your suspense and paranormal in smaller doses or if you’re just looking for a fun change of pace.
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