Alone
When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city…or Seda's friends and school. As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

Alone Details

TitleAlone
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 7th, 2017
PublisherSourcebooks Fire
ISBN-139781492655473
Rating
GenreHorror, Young Adult

Alone Review

  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
    January 1, 1970
    If there is one thing that Cyn Balog is famous for it is writing stories that are completely bizarre in the most perfect way. I can always count on getting something completely unheard of and something that more often than not, will throw me for a loop and make me think about it long after.When I saw that her latest was a horror book, I knew, just knew I needed to read it and without a doubt would love it. And I absolutely did love it. It gave me chills, it made me think and it left me with an u If there is one thing that Cyn Balog is famous for it is writing stories that are completely bizarre in the most perfect way. I can always count on getting something completely unheard of and something that more often than not, will throw me for a loop and make me think about it long after.When I saw that her latest was a horror book, I knew, just knew I needed to read it and without a doubt would love it. And I absolutely did love it. It gave me chills, it made me think and it left me with an unsettling feeling I absolutely adored. It was everything I expected from this author writing in this genre and it was so much darn fun. I highly recommend it if you want a fast paced, easily read in one sitting horror story that will leave you reeling and wanting more and even slightly unsettled. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Crowinator
    January 1, 1970
    Mini-review: This is the perfect set-up for a chilling tale -- an isolated mansion in the mountains, a lonely teenage girl with an oblivious family, and an unwelcome group of visitors trapped by an impassable blizzard -- and Balog puts its familiarity to good use, gradually building tension, manipulating reader expectations (through clever use of classic horror references), and subtly winding from one possible horror to another. She sets up several possible endings, yet still manages to end with Mini-review: This is the perfect set-up for a chilling tale -- an isolated mansion in the mountains, a lonely teenage girl with an oblivious family, and an unwelcome group of visitors trapped by an impassable blizzard -- and Balog puts its familiarity to good use, gradually building tension, manipulating reader expectations (through clever use of classic horror references), and subtly winding from one possible horror to another. She sets up several possible endings, yet still manages to end with a shocker. This mix of Clue, The Shining, and a host of other horror and slasher films could have been cliched--instead it felt surprising.Immediate reaction: That was such a pure and perfect reading experience, I don't know what to do with myself.
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. Young Seda feels so alone since her family has left Boston and is now living in a run-down macabre mansion with no-one nearby to help them. A snowstorm is coming, so now they're really trapped! Some teens arrive in need of help, but what lies ahead? Perfect creepiness for young adults. A nice little homage to "The Shining" for our younger readers.**Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley in exchange of an honest review**
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  • Barb (Boxermommyreads)
    January 1, 1970
    So this is going to be one of those reviews which is hard to write because almost anything I say could give the entire thing away. Seda and her family, which consists of her mother and two sets of twins, move to a remote run-down home in the mountains which was previously used as a murder mystery B&B. That is important because all the creepy plots only add to the atmosphere of the dilapidated residence. Seda's father had no desire to stay on and left the family to return to Boston. Seda is l So this is going to be one of those reviews which is hard to write because almost anything I say could give the entire thing away. Seda and her family, which consists of her mother and two sets of twins, move to a remote run-down home in the mountains which was previously used as a murder mystery B&B. That is important because all the creepy plots only add to the atmosphere of the dilapidated residence. Seda's father had no desire to stay on and left the family to return to Boston. Seda is lonely and feels totally out of place. Seda is also haunted by her twin, which she reported absorbed in her mother's womb.One night a car full of teens breaks down and Seda finds them holed up on the property. They are eventually invited in to stay by Seda's mother and since Seda's birthday is right around the corner, a murder mystery party ensues - but is everyone who dies acting? This was a quick read and I think it's really suited to a shorter novel. It was also a great read for the Halloween season. However, it is one of the books which the entire time you are reading it you have a constant "WTF?" look on your face. I even asked my husband at one point if I looked as confused as I felt. I never really felt a huge attachment to Seda but I did feel for her being stuck in the middle of nowhere with her mother and a bunch of young kids. To say there is a twist at the end is probably the understatement of the year. The problem I had is a good friend of mine had read the book right before me and while she was careful not to spoil anything, the ending I had dreamed up was much different than the one which actually occurred. That being said, this book ALMOST got 4/5 and probably would have if I had enjoyed the outcome a tad better. However, it was a solid enjoyable spooky read for the Halloween season.I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and the published in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Tabby
    January 1, 1970
    Received from: SOURCEBOOKS FireReceived Via: NetGalley.com Why this book?Seemed interestingWhat I thoughtThis book didn't really leave an impact on me. I'm forgetting it already, but I remember the twist was just really messed up. Especially because one guy seriously what an ass! I also didn't feel creeped out all.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineSeda's horror film professor mother has inherited a "house of horror" from an aunt and uncle, and has moved Seda and her younger siblings there to prep it for sale. She seems to be enjoying it to much to sell it, even though it is in the middle of nowhere and Seda hates being there. It doesn't help that Seda had a twin who didn't make it, and who sort of lives in her mind, making her think she is crazy, and definitely making her an unreliable narrator. When E ARC from Edelweiss Above the TreelineSeda's horror film professor mother has inherited a "house of horror" from an aunt and uncle, and has moved Seda and her younger siblings there to prep it for sale. She seems to be enjoying it to much to sell it, even though it is in the middle of nowhere and Seda hates being there. It doesn't help that Seda had a twin who didn't make it, and who sort of lives in her mind, making her think she is crazy, and definitely making her an unreliable narrator. When college students get stranded near the house, the mother is reluctant to help them at all, but eventually does. Seda takes a liking to one of them, but the creepy house is creepy for a reason, and before long, things begin to go awry. Strengths: This reminded me of Poblocki's The Ghost of Greylock, Alender's The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall, and R.L. Stine's books set in creepy houses in the middle of nowhere. It was a bit slow to build up, but was definitely nicely creepy all the way through. The idea of a "house of horror" from the 1980s was a brilliant scheme, and I did really enjoy all of those details. Lots of twists, and definitely a surprise ending. Weaknesses: Not a huge fan of the unreliable narrator, and the mother irritated me by her insistence on staying with the house even when it caused her husband to leave. What I really think: A bit brutal at the end, but I will have to buy this since my readers have an insatiable desire for scary books and murder mysteries.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.Release Date: November 1, 20173 1/2 StarsAlone pays homage to The Shining, by Stephen King, yet it has several unique twists of its own that sets it apart. Seda, the unreliable narrator, kept me guessing as to who she was and what her motivations were. The descriptive setting is the best part of the story, and its eeriness and claustrophobic atmosphere creep off the pages and surround you. The pace ho Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.Release Date: November 1, 20173 1/2 StarsAlone pays homage to The Shining, by Stephen King, yet it has several unique twists of its own that sets it apart. Seda, the unreliable narrator, kept me guessing as to who she was and what her motivations were. The descriptive setting is the best part of the story, and its eeriness and claustrophobic atmosphere creep off the pages and surround you. The pace however, was extremely slow for about 70% of the book and at times I was ready to tear out my hair waiting for something, ANYTHING, to happen. And then it finally did, and YIKES! What a rollercoaster ride! While Alone didn't live up to my admittedly high expectations, I still enjoyed it and think it would make a good read for teens, especially this time of year. It's creepy and unsettling and I guarantee the ending will leave you with goosebumps!Also reviewed at http://cadburypom.wordpress.com
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  • Cillian
    January 1, 1970
    Keep your eyes peeled for this one, children. Keep it at the top of your TBR if you enjoy subtle terror, unreliable narrators, and a unique setting: an almost dilapidated mansion in the middle of nowhere that used to be a murder mystery hotel.And I did not predict the ending; that was one big surprise.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    A crumbling mansion on a secluded mountain during a blizzard sets the scene of Cyn Balog's novel Alone. This mansion was left to Seda's mother after her aunt and uncle die. Seda, 16, is desperate to get back home to Boston but her mom, a writer, can't seem to part ways with the mansion and decides they'll stay awhile. I should mention that when her aunt and uncle owned it they were using it as Murder Mystery Hotel and the devilish props and novelty items still decorate the house giving anyone th A crumbling mansion on a secluded mountain during a blizzard sets the scene of Cyn Balog's novel Alone. This mansion was left to Seda's mother after her aunt and uncle die. Seda, 16, is desperate to get back home to Boston but her mom, a writer, can't seem to part ways with the mansion and decides they'll stay awhile. I should mention that when her aunt and uncle owned it they were using it as Murder Mystery Hotel and the devilish props and novelty items still decorate the house giving anyone that steps through the door a creepy, ominous vibe. Now being that this is YA we also have to have our group of teenagers that have a car accident and this decrepit old mansion is their only hope of warmth and safety on this dark and stormy night. This sounded like the perfect October / Halloween read and I couldn't wait to dive in. Balog writes well and she certainly held my attention. My only complaint is that this book took FOREVER to get going. There was so much build up yet nothing even remotely creepy happens until about the 70% mark. I thought it was a decent ending to a YA horror novel. I'm sure 15 year old me would of given it all the stars. Adult me says 3 stars.Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Omg I'm so confused! I'll have a rating and a review at some point. I need to think about what I just read.
  • Jessi ♡
    January 1, 1970
    you know i was gonna rate it 3 but the ending deserves a star on its own
  • Tez
    January 1, 1970
    5th February 2017: Reason for adding to wishlist: Gothic + storm = maybe people die?
  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Review also posted at: https://underthebookcover.blogspot.co...2.5/5Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.This is one of those books where the cover and the synopsis worked together to draw me in and make me want to read it. Unfortunately, this was a huge disappointment for me and...well, that's about it.Plot:I generally explain the plot a bit in my own words, but the synopsis above does a pretty good Review also posted at: https://underthebookcover.blogspot.co...2.5/5Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.This is one of those books where the cover and the synopsis worked together to draw me in and make me want to read it. Unfortunately, this was a huge disappointment for me and...well, that's about it.Plot:I generally explain the plot a bit in my own words, but the synopsis above does a pretty good job at doing that for me. Honestly, I'm just frustrated by this book. It had such an interesting premise that really appealed to me, especially since I've been on a horror book kick lately. Creepy isolated murder mystery mansion, teenagers get into a wreck during a snowstorm and take shelter there, suspicious main character that hears a voice in her head and has been isolated from human interaction for months? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I am all for creepy isolated houses and people being stranded in said houses, kind of like The Shining. The story started slow and nothing creepy really happened until about halfway through, but I was fine with it because it still had an overall eerie feeling to it. It was a slow build up to the horror and I was on board with it, again, because it still felt creepy while it was actually getting to the creepy, if that makes sense. When the creepy actually started happening, I was all for it! When it threw in a plot twist, I was taken aback and writing in my notes frantically! When the last chapter happened, I almost threw my Kindle across the room. I actually verbally said, "Are you kidding me? I hate when books do this." Because I genuinely do hate what happened at the end. It made me, the reader, feel stupid and cheated, and it truly ruined my reading experience. I will admit, the very end, the final paragraph, was clever. And there was something that the main character kind of came to the realization of right before the end, which was also kind of cool and twisty. But other than that? Unfortunately, a huge thumbs down from this reader. I don't appreciate being made to feel stupid, and the ending of this book did just that. Which is sad because the pacing was great, the plot itself was intriguing, and the characters were relatively decent. Obviously I'm not going to spoil the ending, but it was definitely the low point for me and ruined my reading experience entirely.Of course, I don't mean to bash the book in any way, that's not my intention. I actually was really enjoying the slow build mystery that was present throughout the book, the ending just seriously let me down, unfortunately.Characters:Seda was actually a really well-written character. She was basically isolated in a creepy old murder mystery house with her mother and four siblings (two sets of twins) and had no contact with the outside world due to there being no cell phone reception and no land line. It seemed like she had somehow forgotten how to interact with other people in the four months that she had been at the house which was slightly odd but did add something to her character. So did the fact that she heard a voice in her head. While she wasn't necessarily unreliable, she was sketchy at times and did kind of feel like you couldn't exactly trust what she was saying or doing. Seda was normal-ish, I suppose, but did have an air about her that made the reader feel like there was something she wasn't saying at times. Definitely enjoyed her character the most, especially towards the end!The other characters were also well-written but I just wasn't a huge fan of them like I was of Seda. The twins were super cute, and her mother was kind of out there and I did enjoy them, for sure. The group of teenagers was just eh. They were all your stereotypical teenage characters, not much to really say about them. Again, they were all well-written, but I just didn't enjoy them as much as I enjoyed reading from Seda's point of view.Writing:The writing in Alone was actually my favorite part of the whole book! I loved the way that Cyn Balog slowly built up to the creepy stuff that started happening later on. It was so easy to read and I loved the unsure atmosphere that was constantly present while I was reading. You were never really sure what was going to happen next or if anything that was happening was real or not, or even if it was dangerous. I genuinely enjoyed the writing in this book and would definitely pick up another one by this author simply because of how much I liked reading her writing. It brought such an eerie feeling but you never really understood why and despite the fact that I disliked the way the twist was presented, I actually thought that the final paragraph (or so, I don't exactly know) was pretty clever. I'd be interested to see how other books by this author end and if the letdown twist ending is frequent or if I just grabbed the wrong one. But regardless, the writing was A+ and really kept me guessing and entertained throughout my reading experience.While I didn't enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would, I do think that others will enjoy it much more than I did. It has a great spooky atmosphere with easy and enjoyable writing and a main character that will make you question exactly what is going on while you're reading. If you're looking for an entertaining and creepy read, then I'd definitely recommend Alone!
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.I absolutely loved Cyn Balog’s Unnatural Deeds, so when I saw that she was releasing a new book later this year I just had to read it. I was not disappointed! I was completely hooked on this book and read it in one sitting.We are introduced to our MC from the very first page – along with the problems she has (I don’t want to say too much because SPOILERS!). The way in which we are Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.I absolutely loved Cyn Balog’s Unnatural Deeds, so when I saw that she was releasing a new book later this year I just had to read it. I was not disappointed! I was completely hooked on this book and read it in one sitting.We are introduced to our MC from the very first page – along with the problems she has (I don’t want to say too much because SPOILERS!). The way in which we are introduced to her and the description had me immediately hooked – I absolutely had to know what was going to happen to this character and where certain aspects of her personality etc. were going to take us. Seda was a likeable character throughout the book despite the way we are introduced to her and I enjoyed watching her develop as a character as things progressed because it was easy to forget about certain things (again, trying not to be spoilery). She definitely came across as someone who could be a friend once she comes out of her shell. She definitely started changing with the arrival of the stranded teens and I feel like the interaction helped her to come out of her shell and to be a bit more loose.What I also really enjoyed about this book was the family dynamic that Seda had with her mother and siblings. It was easy to empathise with Seda and the problems her parents were having and it made her more of a likeable character when watching her interact with the two sets of twins and her mother. We also learn other various aspects of her family, which become important later on in the book, which also made her easier to like and relate to.Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the setting itself. At the beginnign of each chapter was a little chapter heading describing something about either the house/rooms in the house or the way that Seda’s Aunt and Uncle used to run it. The author cleverly wove bits of fact of certain historic people and slightly changed their stories to make it fictitious at the same time – which gave it the air of creepiness. The set up of the house with certain props etc. definitely helped to set the scene for events that happened later in the book, whilst constantly keeping an air of subtle creepiness.The pacing of this book was just right. It starts off at a relatively normal pace and then things start to get creepier, which had me completely hooked. It also begins to speed up as events start happening later in the book and keeps readers on their toes right up until the very end!What I most enjoyed about this book was the fact that this was not an ‘in your face’ kind of scary book, but rather took a more subtle and psychological approach, whic made the ending even more shocking. I absolutely did not see the big reveal that came at the end and was left utterly shocked when this book ended! Certain things were revealed, other things happened and it just led up to a finale that left me completely gobsmacked! I recommended it further as soon as I had finished!All in all, I absolutely loved this book and I cannot wait to have a finished copy on my shelf! Balog is fast becoming one of my favourite authors and I cannot wait to see what she writes next. I gave this book 5/5 stars.
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  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    I'M SO DISAPPOINTED. Just bear with me while I cry about how I thought this was going to be the perfect creepy read for the start of October and it wasn't. I received this book via Netgalley for review, all opinions are my own.October for me means reading creepy books (also my birthday month but let's not get distracted). So when I saw this on NetGalley I requested it immediately, not only does the cover look super scary but so did the synopsis. Granted I'd never heard of this book or this autho I'M SO DISAPPOINTED. Just bear with me while I cry about how I thought this was going to be the perfect creepy read for the start of October and it wasn't. I received this book via Netgalley for review, all opinions are my own.October for me means reading creepy books (also my birthday month but let's not get distracted). So when I saw this on NetGalley I requested it immediately, not only does the cover look super scary but so did the synopsis. Granted I'd never heard of this book or this author before so I was going into it completely blind, but I still had good expectations for it. From the first half of the book all I got where statements about how scary this house was, but nothing to actually show me how scary it was, which I mean made it not scary...Honestly, nothing even remotely creepy happened until just over 50% of the way through. Which kind of sucks. I've read half a book and nothing's happened yet, I'm not ok with that. Anyway, even when the 'creepy' stuff did start happening it wasn't creepy to me at all. It was more gore than creep, which isn't something I really enjoy. So overall I gave this book 2 stars because the writing was good. It was the only thing that kept me reading this book because the plot seriously fell short for me...
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    I really loved this book! It's got one of the best settings for a scary story and I totally hate that I can't actually go to the house! More review to come later, but I guess I'm going back to read some of Balog's past novels. If you're looking for a good, spooky read this Fall, then I'm recommending the hell out of this one!
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  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    So I always knew I didn't really like silly, cheap twist endings, but this book has made me realise that it's more than that: I actually bloody hate them.
  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Scary, heart pounding, bloody, a crazy train that holds on until the very end... We follow Seda in this story since the story is told from her point of view. This creepy old house which she has deemed the "BUG HOUSE" out in the middle of nowhere, her aunt and uncle use to own it and run a murder mystery out of it. Seda just wants to go home to Boston, go back to a normal life, but that dream gets further and further away. She has 4 younger brother and sisters, who are each a set of twins. Seda w Scary, heart pounding, bloody, a crazy train that holds on until the very end... We follow Seda in this story since the story is told from her point of view. This creepy old house which she has deemed the "BUG HOUSE" out in the middle of nowhere, her aunt and uncle use to own it and run a murder mystery out of it. Seda just wants to go home to Boston, go back to a normal life, but that dream gets further and further away. She has 4 younger brother and sisters, who are each a set of twins. Seda was supposedly a twin too, but she absorbed her twin in the room, his name was suppose to be Sawyer. Except Seda can feel sawyer inside her, hear his voice. When she was younger her mother said it was just an imaginary friend, but as Seda grew older she knew Sawyer was real, and was the voice inside her. A huge snowstorm has just hit, and a group of teens have become stranded on their property. Seda knows she can't let them in the house, because then bad things will happen, so they spend the night out in the cold shed that is far enough away from the house. Except the next day when Seda goes out to get firewood, the young boy she likes is there and sure as shit, her mother comes out and sees the young man, now the group of kids are in the house and Seda is trying hard to stop anything from happening. Seda's mother decides they need to do something fun, since they missed Halloween, and it's Seda's birthday- so they are going to do a scavenger hunt- except it's going to be gory, and scary as hell... They are broken up into teams, and dressed in different costumes, everything begins all fun and games until a dark turns begins. The costumes each person picked, well it seems the game just turned real,and how ever they were dressed is how they die. In the BUG HOUSE, each room has a name and a plaque, of someone who stayed there and died, in the most gruesome way. Seda never thought anything of it until tonight when each person dies in the room, the same way the plaque describes... Suddenly everyone is dead, except Seda and Heath, the young boy she liked. Her mom, and brothers and sisters are all missing. Seda knows she can't leave without at least knowing if they are dead. So her and Heath begin looking, except suddenly Heath is hurt, and their is someone in the house.... Could Sawyer be real? While looking for bandages for Heath, Seda comes across a note in her mothers handwriting to her aunt. It says thank you for taking care of Sawyer, when he is behaving you can take him out of his restraints, I'm so sorry for doing this but he cannot be allowed to hurt anyone else.... So Sawyer is real?! And now he is loose in the house, and coming for Seda, because she was allowed to live and have a great life... This book has you on the edge of your seat, and the ending is a total twist, one you never see coming..
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  • Kevin
    January 1, 1970
    The Nerd Agenda ReviewsDISCLAIMER:This is an ARC review. I received an uncorrected advance copy of this novel. Neither the publisher nor anyone who is connected to the writer and the publishing house has paid me to do this review. Everything that I will say in this review is entirely my own opinion.THE REVIEW:The inverted triangle. That's the title that we're going to give this review because Alone by Cyn Balog, like any other novel, has a plot line that moves that like a triangle. The only diff The Nerd Agenda ReviewsDISCLAIMER:This is an ARC review. I received an uncorrected advance copy of this novel. Neither the publisher nor anyone who is connected to the writer and the publishing house has paid me to do this review. Everything that I will say in this review is entirely my own opinion.THE REVIEW:The inverted triangle. That's the title that we're going to give this review because Alone by Cyn Balog, like any other novel, has a plot line that moves that like a triangle. The only difference this time is the plot of Alone moves a little different. The whole premise of the book is like your typical teen slasher movie. I am not a big fan of the genre, but I picked up the ARC because I want to read something different. I was expecting tons of blood, violence, and scenes that show how human nature makes a 180 degree turn during desperate situations. I did not get any of it. But I kept pushing because the book has a lot of potentials. Let me tell you why this book might be for you to read. First, if you are queasy when it comes to teen slasher movie violence, then this book is excellent because there isn't a lot of violence. Then there is the setting that is full of mystery and surrounded by dark history. And of course, the main character has a dark secret that will shake you. Let's go back to the inverted triangle. This part will explain why I am only giving the book two stars. Alone starts off good. Amazing might be the more appropriate word, but it starts to fall. Sawyer, the main villain, is missing after a couple of chapters. (view spoiler)[I know now that Miss Balog is making her readers forget about Sawyer for the big twist in the end, (hide spoiler)] but I don't think it was executed well. Towards the end, the pace picks up again, but the big reveal lets me down. It feels rushed and only there for the element of surprise. To be honest, I want to give the book a 3/5 review, but the ending disappoints me. I love ending that always surprise me, something that I don't expect. Miss Sarah J. Maas is the master of those kinds of endings. I think the ending would work, but the timing is just off. I am not a big reader of teen slashers, so I recommend that you still give Alone a try. The ending might be for you.
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  • Kimberley
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of Cyn Balog's book , Alone, via NetGalley. This advanced e-copy was granted in exchange for an honest review.***4.5 STARS ...for that ending alone. What a ride! I swear this story kept me guessing until the bitter end ...and even now I find myself pleasantly surprised by all the clues I missed along the way. Seda is a girl on the verge of a breakthrough or a breakdown--either was a possibility in this story. When Seda's horror-genre obsessed mother inherits a Murder-Mystery In I received an ARC of Cyn Balog's book , Alone, via NetGalley. This advanced e-copy was granted in exchange for an honest review.***4.5 STARS ...for that ending alone. What a ride! I swear this story kept me guessing until the bitter end ...and even now I find myself pleasantly surprised by all the clues I missed along the way. Seda is a girl on the verge of a breakthrough or a breakdown--either was a possibility in this story. When Seda's horror-genre obsessed mother inherits a Murder-Mystery Inn, Seda is less than thrilled to take up occupancy at the creepy locale. However, she reluctantly goes along and hopes their stay won't last long. As time ticks forward, it becomes clear to Seda that her family's stay at the house will be a lot longer than planned--perhaps permanent.Seda slowly begins to detach from the world around her. She takes comfort only in the presence of her younger siblings and the possibility that someday she'll be able to return to the life she once knew. She's hanging on by a thread, but it's a strong enough one to keep her emotionally afloat...and then a group of uninvited teens arrive: placed on her doorstep courtesy of a car wreck and a snowstorm. Their presence reawakens Seda's longing--breaking down her last wall of defense--and that's when things start to get very interesting. The twists and turns the story took weren't of the "OMG" nature, but they certainly made you unsure for whom you should be rooting: The mother whose placating ways seem to only make life more unbearable for Seda? Seda, whose life is being spent in isolation? The unsuspecting teens who only wish to go home? As you get deeper into the story, not one character reveals themselves to be above reproach; yet you find yourself wanting a heroine/hero to appear and make sense of it all--make it better. About midway through, I'll admit, I thought I had it figured out: I'd gathered up all the clues, and followed the twisty arrows, and continued reading only to prove myself right; but, by the time the final page was turned, even I was questioning what was and wasn't the truth. Alone, in my opinion, is a book about isolation, loneliness, and the ways both can play on the mind. If you've ever read the book--or seen its interesting adaptation--The Shining, you have an understanding of how such things can play upon the mind, making one question their own reality. Seda is not immune to such things, if anything, she's more susceptible to them because of her own internal struggles. Seda proves to be a complex character, but she was also just a girl looking for something more than a house of horrors to fill in the details of her life. She wanted to have fun, and experience something befitting the biography of a "normal" teenage girl. She begins to get a small taste of that with the arrival of the teens arrives; but their presence also exacerbates the demons within and makes her more aware of the struggle she's fought hard to keep at bay. Highly recommend.
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  • Ashley Supinski
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure if it was me, but this was a quick read.  I could have read it in a sitting, if I had the mental capability (and time) for it.  So if you like quick reads, this definitely fits that.Okay, so for the actual review...I loved it.  Honestly -- I'm a big horror book fan, and this really has it all.  The creepy house in the middle of nowhere; the main character who doesn't know if she's crazy or not; the mother who's a little out there; the siblings who are normal and so cute.  (Like, you I'm not sure if it was me, but this was a quick read.  I could have read it in a sitting, if I had the mental capability (and time) for it.  So if you like quick reads, this definitely fits that.Okay, so for the actual review...I loved it.  Honestly -- I'm a big horror book fan, and this really has it all.  The creepy house in the middle of nowhere; the main character who doesn't know if she's crazy or not; the mother who's a little out there; the siblings who are normal and so cute.  (Like, you're just WAITING for one of them to get it...)  Spoiler: They don't.Seda is a great character.  She's 16 and not only going through all the normal teenage angst, but she's also dealing with the fact that she thinks she's crazy.  (Not a spoiler, this is pretty much known as the basis of the book.)  And everyone knows that when you put someone who might be crazy in a secluded house during a snowstorm, nothing good can come out of that.The plot was well-done.  Not only did Balog add a twist to the end, she actually added THREE.  There were things I did not expect, even when I thought I'd actually figured it all out.  (Honestly, this is what always makes me give her a little nudge in the rating factor.  I love a good book that completely surprises (and shocks!) me.)  That being said -- and I won't spoil you! -- I freaking love this book solely on the last 20 pages or so.  Not that the rest of it isn't awesome, it is!  But the last pages really make it stand out.Other things I loved?  The fact that Balog calls out King's The Shining.  There are several characters who comment that "Bug House" is actually like Overlook Hotel.  I love that it doesn't take itself seriously, and she comments within the story her homage to King.I also loved that Seda's mom is a horror fanatic and college professor.  I mean, how cool is that?  She's definitely the prof. I would have wanted at college!Overall Recommendations-Definitely read this...if you like horror.  If you're not a horror fan, or murder-mystery, you won't enjoy it.  So if you prefer sappy romances, don't go near this book.  This book will eat your romance for breakfast and burp it up for lunch.I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!Full review (with GIFs!) at ATLP!
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  • Mandi Wasmer
    January 1, 1970
    WHAT A RUSH. This book was insane! Alone by Cyn Balog follows Seda, her 4 siblings, and her mother. The family lives in a secluded mansion at the top of a hill, which Seda's mother had inherited and originally set out to refurbish and sell. The kicker here is that the mansion was previously a murder mystery inn, with props, hidden passageways, and secrets lurking around every corner, and now Seda's mother is thinking of keeping it and living there...permanently. One snowy night, a few stranded t WHAT A RUSH. This book was insane! Alone by Cyn Balog follows Seda, her 4 siblings, and her mother. The family lives in a secluded mansion at the top of a hill, which Seda's mother had inherited and originally set out to refurbish and sell. The kicker here is that the mansion was previously a murder mystery inn, with props, hidden passageways, and secrets lurking around every corner, and now Seda's mother is thinking of keeping it and living there...permanently. One snowy night, a few stranded teenagers show up seeking shelter, and Seda tries her best to turn them away, knowing things about herself and the house that mean danger for the group. But she fails, and soon the group, along with Seda and her siblings, are immersed in a murder mystery scavenger hunt that soon turns deadly.I absolutely adored this book. It was a great blend of The Shining and Halloween, with a little Friday the 13th mixed in. It was fast-paced and thrilling, with a creepy, gripping plot that wouldn't let me put it down. And what a plot twist! I never would have seen that ending coming in a million years, and I love that it wasn't predictable. Seda was an incredibly fascinating, albeit twisted, character, and her awkward interactions with others were spot on. The murder mystery premise was great, as were the vivid descriptions of this creepy old house. And without spoilers (you'll know what I mean when you read it) OMG THE FREEZER!My biggest complaint was that too much time was spent leading up to the murder mystery scavenger hunt, and not enough time on the hunt itself. Also, as much as I loved the ending something about it seemed a little too unrealistic for me. It was incredibly graphic as well (which I don't mind at all), but if you're squeamish this might not be the book for you. But overall, this was a great thriller with a phenomenal cast of characters and a plot that's to die for...literally.Alone by Cyn Balog hits shelves on November 7, 2017!Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 starsA huge thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me an ARC of this book!
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  • Olivia Farr
    January 1, 1970
    Balog is an absolute master of suspense! I knew I absolutely needed to read "Alone" after her amazing "Unnatural Deeds," and it absolutely did not disappoint. Here, we follow Seda who lives with her mother and four young siblings in a decrepit mansion which was used for murder mysteries. Her mother dragged the kids there from Boston after their aunt and uncle passed away and left it to them. She is determined to sell it to someone who can see the potential to carry on with the house the way it w Balog is an absolute master of suspense! I knew I absolutely needed to read "Alone" after her amazing "Unnatural Deeds," and it absolutely did not disappoint. Here, we follow Seda who lives with her mother and four young siblings in a decrepit mansion which was used for murder mysteries. Her mother dragged the kids there from Boston after their aunt and uncle passed away and left it to them. She is determined to sell it to someone who can see the potential to carry on with the house the way it was before, and thus, Seda has been stuck in this town for way longer than she anticipated. Not to mention that the house doesn't get cell phone reception and is practically a health hazard.All of Seda's siblings are fraternal twins, and she has a twin of her own, Sawyer, who she consumed in the womb and interacts with in her head (believed to be an imaginary friend she never grew out of). Things begin to change when some teenagers break down on the road and show up at the house needing a place to stay until a snowstorm blows over. I had about a million guesses for what was going to happen, and Balog once again blew me away with the ending. Balog is truly a master of twist endings that you cannot see coming. The pace of the book is absolutely perfect, and the interspersed tidbits from ads for the house are fascinating. The book slowly ramps up its pace until the stunning conclusion, and the flow is simply masterful. I absolutely recommend this book to any fans of suspense/thrillers, regardless of the YA category. I won't say too much as I think it's an experience all-around, and I don't want to give anything away, but I absolutely could not stop reading this book and loved every shocking second of it!Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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  • Danielle Rose
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley to read and review. The below is my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you, Cyn Balog, the publisher, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city…or I received an ARC from NetGalley to read and review. The below is my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you, Cyn Balog, the publisher, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city…or Seda's friends and school. As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her. Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…What a fantastically creepy thriller! Who hasn't wished they'd inherit an isolated, old mansion? (Oh, just me?) I already found this plot extremely relatable and went into it with high hopes. Thankfully, Balog didn't disappoint. The writing is captivating, the characters well-developed, and the ending epically satisfying. There are so many twists and turns; just when you think you know what's going to happen, the author throws a bizarre curve-ball that you never saw coming. ALONE is deliciously horrifying in every perfect way. A must read!
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  • angharad mair
    January 1, 1970
    Alone by Cyn Balog tells the story of fifteen-year-old Seda, a girl who is not the least bit excited to be spending her winter break in the middle of nowhere atop a mountain surrounded by twenty inches of snow. Yet here she is, in a half-burnt-out murder-mystery mansion that her mother has just inherited from her recently deceased aunt and uncle. With no cell phone service or internet access, Seda learns that life atop Solitude Mountain may just kill her — literally, because a boy she swore was Alone by Cyn Balog tells the story of fifteen-year-old Seda, a girl who is not the least bit excited to be spending her winter break in the middle of nowhere atop a mountain surrounded by twenty inches of snow. Yet here she is, in a half-burnt-out murder-mystery mansion that her mother has just inherited from her recently deceased aunt and uncle. With no cell phone service or internet access, Seda learns that life atop Solitude Mountain may just kill her — literally, because a boy she swore was no more than her childhood imaginary twin turns out to be a psychopathic serial killer intent on taking down each of the mansion's inhabitants...My gut instinct was to give this book a four-star rating, however, it did take a while to really pique my interest and as a result, I came so close to DNF'ing it. I'm very glad that I didn't, though, because Balog's writing did pick up and draw me in the more I read. Personally, I wasn't much of a fan of the romance between Seda and Heath because it felt awkward in places and somewhat forced. Yet saying that, I did find myself feeling happy when they eventually kissed; but perhaps that was more to do with me being thankful that some shred of normality was occurring within Seda's life...Overall, the writing could be improved towards the beginning but other than that, the twists and turns this book takes means that you never know quite what will happen next. Additionally, it ends perfectly! I loved it. Superbly abrupt!
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  • Angie Crabtree-Liezel and Angie's Book Blog
    January 1, 1970
    Alone is about a girl named Seda. What was supposed to be a vacation turns into moving in to an old murder/mystery house that her great aunt/uncle left her mom. Her summer turns into fall and then the snow starts. Seda feels all alone. Isolated from her friends and the outside world, she’s left with her thoughts and her little brothers and sisters to keep her occupied. This book was nothing like I thought it would be. Nothing. I didn’t expect to feel an overwhelming sense of dread at every page Alone is about a girl named Seda. What was supposed to be a vacation turns into moving in to an old murder/mystery house that her great aunt/uncle left her mom. Her summer turns into fall and then the snow starts. Seda feels all alone. Isolated from her friends and the outside world, she’s left with her thoughts and her little brothers and sisters to keep her occupied. This book was nothing like I thought it would be. Nothing. I didn’t expect to feel an overwhelming sense of dread at every page I turned. I didn’t expect to feel creeped out. I didn’t expect the beginning, the middle or the end. I’m left flabbergasted. I really thought I was going to read just another suspense book but what I read was so much more. Seda is a reliable narrator at times and when she’s not that ups the feeling that something’s not right. Giving you the chills and making you snuggle deeper into your blankets and reading with the light on. I loved being in her mind. This book wouldn’t have been this good if we had any other POV. Alone is a book that you should throw all expectations out the window. Read with the lights on and preferably with people in your house. It’s creepy, weird, suspenseful and sometimes if you’re at the right scene it will make you jumpy. Cyn Balog does an excellent job at creating an atmosphere that will leave, even the strongest, weak at the knees. Terrified that they might be the next victim of...
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    Fifteen-year-old Seda thought it was cool to spend the summer at the old mansion her mother inherited, but now it's starting to snow and she just wants to go back to Boston, back to school and her best friends and her crush, back to civilization. The mansion is in the middle of nowhere, it's falling apart, there's no cell service, no landline and it's just plain creepy especially since it was last used as a murder mystery hotel. And Seda's mother won't sell it unless the new owners will keep it Fifteen-year-old Seda thought it was cool to spend the summer at the old mansion her mother inherited, but now it's starting to snow and she just wants to go back to Boston, back to school and her best friends and her crush, back to civilization. The mansion is in the middle of nowhere, it's falling apart, there's no cell service, no landline and it's just plain creepy especially since it was last used as a murder mystery hotel. And Seda's mother won't sell it unless the new owners will keep it as a murder mystery hotel. When a group of teenagers show up as a result of their car going in a ditch and nowhere else to go, Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter - even though she knows something bad is going to happen.I was at the halfway point when I crawled into bed, thought I'd read a chapter before I fell asleep. I was beyond tired. I ended up finishing the book before I could go to sleep that's how good it was. It was so well-written that everything flowed together and I couldn't set it down because what happens next??? How does it end? The suspense! I absolutely loved the creepy old mansion with its many added on wings and secret passageways. And it was used as a murder mystery hotel! That obviously made the book what it was - which was amazing! Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for a copy of this book.
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  • Stormi (Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh my!)
    January 1, 1970
    Okay so this is going to be a very short review because I don't want to give away anything and I can't think of how to review it without saying something I shouldn't...lol.So 60% of this book was a little slow and at times kind of boring and I kept thinking when will the horror part of this YA horror happen and then the last 40% happened in a rapid fire pace and I couldn't quit reading until I was finished.Seda and her family are living in a very isolated place and winter is about to happen. The Okay so this is going to be a very short review because I don't want to give away anything and I can't think of how to review it without saying something I shouldn't...lol.So 60% of this book was a little slow and at times kind of boring and I kept thinking when will the horror part of this YA horror happen and then the last 40% happened in a rapid fire pace and I couldn't quit reading until I was finished.Seda and her family are living in a very isolated place and winter is about to happen. The mansion used to be a murder mystery location and so it has a lot of very strange things in it. One night a group of teens show up and Seda doesn't want them to stay, she is afraid of them staying, but they do. It's Seda's 16th birthday and her mom wants to put on a scavenger hunt and things get a little strange once that starts and that is all I am saying. :)I think the author was trying to draw us in with a bit of atmosphere at the beginning but to me it feel a little flat and just started to fill a bit repetitive and just didn't really feel as eerie as maybe it was suppose too. There is a certain element that I wish would have played a bit more in things because I think it would have made the ending a bit better.I think if the last part wouldn't have been so cool I would not have given this book as good of a rating but I really enjoyed the last part and the WTH ending. :)
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  • Teri
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsThe setting of this story is really a character in itself, and is reminiscent of The Shining - in fact, several characters mention it.  The MC even has two sets of twin siblings - twins!  There's even a huge freezer and pantry just like in The Overlook.  Secluded old hotel that previously hosted murder mystery parties, creepy secret passages, several feet of snow, no cell reception - you get the picture.  A perfect setting.  I was ready for a chilling, twisty, good time - but it didn't 3.5 starsThe setting of this story is really a character in itself, and is reminiscent of The Shining - in fact, several characters mention it.  The MC even has two sets of twin siblings - twins!  There's even a huge freezer and pantry just like in The Overlook.  Secluded old hotel that previously hosted murder mystery parties, creepy secret passages, several feet of snow, no cell reception - you get the picture.  A perfect setting.  I was ready for a chilling, twisty, good time - but it didn't occur until around the 70-75% mark.  The first part of the novel casts shadows and hints, so there's plenty of opportunity to form theories and entertain suspicions.  Once the action starts, it doesn't let up, so the ending was rather brisk, but when all was said and done, it just didn't sit right with me.  Yes, it was a surprise, but my reaction was more of disbelieving 'Really?' than shock.  This is a fun read that contains some gore (just a warning to those who are squeamish), and the snippets of marketing materials from the murder mystery inn at the beginning of each chapter are quite humorous, but just be ready to settle in with this book for a little while before it takes off.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free ARC of this novel from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!Seda and her family are staying in an isolated and run down mansion that her mother inherited after her aunt and uncle died. The house, which was used to host murder mystery parties, is still filled with macabre props and tales of residents who met their untimely demise. Seda's mother had said it would only be temporary until the house sold but now as snow begins to fall it looks l I received a free ARC of this novel from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!Seda and her family are staying in an isolated and run down mansion that her mother inherited after her aunt and uncle died. The house, which was used to host murder mystery parties, is still filled with macabre props and tales of residents who met their untimely demise. Seda's mother had said it would only be temporary until the house sold but now as snow begins to fall it looks like they might confined to the house through winter. With the fear of being cut off from the outside world, Seda can't stop feeling that something terrible will happen if they stay. A group of teens gets stranded and are force to take refuge in the house. Seda tries to warn them to leave... because she knows what will happen if they don't...This one will have you on the edge of your seat as the tension builds right up to the end. I loved this book and it is perfect for anyone who loves the creepy vibe of a good horror novel without it being too intense for younger readers.
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