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 has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected. Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.

The Haunted Details

TitleThe Haunted
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 4th, 2019
PublisherRazorbill
ISBN-139780451481467
Rating
GenreHorror, Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Fiction

The Haunted Review

  • Ellen Gail
    January 1, 1970
    "Why are you doing this? What do you want?""We already told you. We want one more." 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.The Haunted is my first Danielle Vega - I've heard mixed reviews over her se "Why are you doing this? What do you want?""We already told you. We want one more." 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.The Haunted is my first Danielle Vega - I've heard mixed reviews over her series The Merciless. 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.The Haunted 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 notorious 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.) "Yeah, I can think of about ten thousand places I'd rather be than that hellhole.""Wow, a kid who dresses all in black and hates school. Original." 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, very mild animal violence. Details: (view spoiler)[There's a ghost cat. We do hear how it died, but it's not graphically described. (hide spoiler)]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. (view spoiler)[I absolutely feel like the friends (Portia, Raven, and Connor) should have played a more prominent part in the final scenes. Also, I wish Eddie's mother had been used more. (hide spoiler)] The ending wasn't awful, but there were missed opportunities for catharsis.Despite the fact that I highlighted several problems in The Haunted, 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. all quotes taken from proof copy and subject to change*Thanks to Razorbill and Edelweiss for the review copy!*
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  • JenacideByBibliophile
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Cillian
    January 1, 1970
    Final buddy read of the year, sis! (Well, technically, 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.
  • Patty (IheartYA)
    January 1, 1970
    Will write review later as 2 members of the Litsy Mark Up Postal Book Club haven't read it yet.
  • OutlawPoet
    January 1, 1970
    So honestly, I'm constantly surprised by the comparisons between Vega and King. I don't really get it, except...they both write horror?This is a good, clean, YA novel. You have a girl who is a bit of an outsider with a past who moves to a small town and this town has secrets...secrets that lead back to the house her parents just bought.The story is highly suspenseful (never scary) and only gets the tiniest bit gruesome toward the end. You do have a love triangle (sigh) and a bad boy (a different So honestly, I'm constantly surprised by the comparisons between Vega and King. I don't really get it, except...they both write horror?This is a good, clean, YA novel. You have a girl who is a bit of an outsider with a past who moves to a small town and this town has secrets...secrets that lead back to the house her parents just bought.The story is highly suspenseful (never scary) and only gets the tiniest bit gruesome toward the end. You do have a love triangle (sigh) and a bad boy (a different kind of sigh). I did like our characters very much, but did not love our ending.Overall, a good book that will likely please people who like their stories a little bit spooky without ever getting scary.
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    I won a free copy of this book from Bookish First in exchange for an honest review.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 I won a free copy of this book from Bookish First in exchange for an honest review.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!!!! ATTENTION ALL TEENAGERS !!!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.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • andrea caro
    January 1, 1970
    It's Danielle Vega, so naturally I love it.This book is about a girl named Hendricks who moves into a house where a young girl was murdered. It doesn't take long before spooky shit starts happening - creepy disembodied voices, meowing from a cat that she doesn't have, the smell of her abusive ex-boyfriend's cologne, and a steak knife through her door.This book has dark family secrets, ghosts, a delicious mystery and Danielle Vega's incredible voice for horror. As a fan of the Merciless series, i It's Danielle Vega, so naturally I love it.This book is about a girl named Hendricks who moves into a house where a young girl was murdered. It doesn't take long before spooky shit starts happening - creepy disembodied voices, meowing from a cat that she doesn't have, the smell of her abusive ex-boyfriend's cologne, and a steak knife through her door.This book has dark family secrets, ghosts, a delicious mystery and Danielle Vega's incredible voice for horror. As a fan of the Merciless series, it was a no-brainer for me to pick this book up. While I have a few things that I wish had been fleshed out more, I'll never rate someone down because I want more of a book.This is wonderful, perfect for fall/Halloween times (though it takes place in winter).Trigger warnings for animal death, harm to a child, and general torture/death.
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  • Tracy (Cornerfolds)
    January 1, 1970
    Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!I am a huge fan of The Merciless series! I read them as they were released and really enjoyed every one. I was constantly impressed with Vega's ability to write truly scary horror novels for a YA audience and was excited to pick up The Haunted. I was able to trade for a copy with a friend and was eager to dive into this new, hopefully terrifying story.This book revolves around Hendricks and her family after a move to a small town where they buy an old h Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!I am a huge fan of The Merciless series! I read them as they were released and really enjoyed every one. I was constantly impressed with Vega's ability to write truly scary horror novels for a YA audience and was excited to pick up The Haunted. I was able to trade for a copy with a friend and was eager to dive into this new, hopefully terrifying story.This book revolves around Hendricks and her family after a move to a small town where they buy an old house with a bad reputation. The house the family chooses to renovate has a history of murder and suicide and is rumored to be haunted, so of course strange things start happening almost immediately after the family moves in. Unfortunately, that's almost the extent of the horror in this "horror" novel.While Hendricks is okay as a character, I just got way more information about her than I ever would have needed. I don't need tons of character development, romance, or backstory in my horror novels, but this one was primarily about a girl's experience as a student at a new high school than it was about a haunted house. This book had a love triangle, high school clique drama, a crazy ex boyfriend, and a handful of creepy scenes. As much as I hate YA contemporary romance, that's really what I got with this new Vega book and I am disappointed.The horror aspects of the book were pretty well done, but they were way too few and far between. I loved The Merciless for genuinely creeping me out, and there were a couple of creepy scenes in The Haunted, but not nearly enough to warrant the title. I did really enjoy the mystery of the house and why it was haunted, though. The ghosts had interesting stories and the resolution was satisfying.If you're like me, looking for a super scary horror book, this isn't going to be it. If, however, you're new to YA or prefer more tame spookiness in a book that mainly focuses on the YA contemporary romance aspects of the story, you'll probably love this! It was an okay story, but ultimately wasn't what I was hoping for. I recently picked up Survive the Night by the same author and I'm really hoping that's more my speed!Actual rating: 2.5 stars
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  • Stacy Fetters
    January 1, 1970
    "She looked away from the tub for a fraction of a second, and when she looked back, there was a boy standing in the tub, watching her with wide black eyes, her razor clutched in one hand. He tilted his head, his upper lip twitching."Danielle Vega always knows how to make me uncomfortable while reading her books and I love it. This one is no different than the others, it creeped me out in the best way possible. Some scenes were just your typical YA novel being a YA novel until it takes a dark tur "She looked away from the tub for a fraction of a second, and when she looked back, there was a boy standing in the tub, watching her with wide black eyes, her razor clutched in one hand. He tilted his head, his upper lip twitching."Danielle Vega always knows how to make me uncomfortable while reading her books and I love it. This one is no different than the others, it creeped me out in the best way possible. Some scenes were just your typical YA novel being a YA novel until it takes a dark turn and it is freaky. And true to her gothic self, that end will leave your mind in a whirl. Hendricks is getting a fresh start in a new town. Her dark past haunts and follows her as they move into a house with quite the reputation. Her chance of laying low goes down the drain...She soon finds out that the house comes with some deeper and darker secrets that should have stayed buried. Now they are brought to light after they moved in. Strange happenings keep occurring and now it's time to figure out why. With the help of the creepy next door neighbor, they hunt down what is causing the brutal hauntings in that house. Sometimes it's better to let the past die. Danielle Vega sure knows how to give Stephen King a run for his money. This was bizarre, extremely creepy and I loved it. It certainly brought back some memories of when I lived in a haunted house. This is a fast-paced story that will make your blood run cold. It's worth the constant feel of eyes on you.
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    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 ratingrepresentation: 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)
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  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
    January 1, 1970
    I have seen Vega's Merciless series in the book stores so often that I've almost... ALMOST... bought one. I'm not sure why I was hesitant.. maybe it's because I figured YA horror couldn't possibly be frightening... but these days I'm finding that I'm quite enjoying this mixed genre and Vega is making that belief a hardened one.Haunted house and ghost/paranormal stories are a bit hit or miss for me. Sometimes they downright freak me the f*** out and other times I'm rolling my eyes about the typic I have seen Vega's Merciless series in the book stores so often that I've almost... ALMOST... bought one. I'm not sure why I was hesitant.. maybe it's because I figured YA horror couldn't possibly be frightening... but these days I'm finding that I'm quite enjoying this mixed genre and Vega is making that belief a hardened one.Haunted house and ghost/paranormal stories are a bit hit or miss for me. Sometimes they downright freak me the f*** out and other times I'm rolling my eyes about the typical chains rattling, boo crap we see around a lot. The Haunted, while maybe not SUPER scary, was definitely on the line of pure sinister and it wasn't until the very end that I did get that crawling sensation throughout my human sack.Hendricks has moved into the Steele House and she has no idea that this one is well known throughout this small town she's just moved to. Apparently a little girl died in the cellar and strange things keep happening. She blows it off as pure rumor... until she starts being the recipient of said strange things. But with her past, her parents blow it off as her PTSD and don't take her seriously. Interestingly enough, the parents are barely around so Hendricks is in charge of herself and her little brother quite often. This gives ample opportunity for this house to play with her mental state. Slowly the story ramps up as we learn about Hendricks's past and the history of the house. Now, considering this is YA, I did have to take certain things with a grain of salt. There is a little bit of insta-love that made me eye roll for a bit and when we got to a certain part I was like oh c'mon.... that's IT? But no, no it wasn't and thank goodness! The story definitely took a little turn I wasn't expecting and with this I began to truly appreciate the story. I'll tell you one thing though - I never liked old houses and certainly ones that are already rumored to be haunted... no thank you. This definitely is moderate on the creep factor, but the story is fast moving and as said before, has solidified my love for YA horror. If you're a fan of Amy Lukavics, you will like Vega. I'm certainly going to pick up the Merciless series the next time I run across them.Thank you Razorbill for this copy.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    In true Danielle Vega fashion this book had me on the edge of my seat, wanting to read straight to the end but not right before bed obviously. when a book starts with something traumatic, you're in for a ride. the story starts out traumatic and bounces to a normal teenager who is experiencing not so normal things in her new house and must rely on her "wrong side of the tracks" neighbor for help. If i were to pick this apart it would be to say that there isn't a lot of side character depth or par In true Danielle Vega fashion this book had me on the edge of my seat, wanting to read straight to the end but not right before bed obviously. when a book starts with something traumatic, you're in for a ride. the story starts out traumatic and bounces to a normal teenager who is experiencing not so normal things in her new house and must rely on her "wrong side of the tracks" neighbor for help. If i were to pick this apart it would be to say that there isn't a lot of side character depth or parental presence but I feel that's been the case in all of Vega's stories so i'm not too upset about it. Hauntingly descriptive scenes making me feel like i'm actually seeing the story play out is why I love these books and that is one front Vega never disappoints on.
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    I was drawn to this book by the book cover. I figured with a book cover like this, the book had to be good. Sadly, I was mistaken. There may have been things that went bump in the night but it was barely a blimp on the radar. There was nothing that intriguing about the characters. I will give credit as to what was happening to Hendricks was creepy but not frightening scary. Yet, as much as I did not care for this book; I did still keep reading it until the end. This is because I still kept holdi I was drawn to this book by the book cover. I figured with a book cover like this, the book had to be good. Sadly, I was mistaken. There may have been things that went bump in the night but it was barely a blimp on the radar. There was nothing that intriguing about the characters. I will give credit as to what was happening to Hendricks was creepy but not frightening scary. Yet, as much as I did not care for this book; I did still keep reading it until the end. This is because I still kept holding hope that it would get better. I believe the reason that the scary factor was about a four is because the book is written for the younger readers. That is the vibes I did get from this book. There was no haunting here.
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  • Amanda Mae
    January 1, 1970
    That ending was a HOT. MESS.
  • Meigan
    January 1, 1970
    Fast-paced and mysterious, The Haunted is a spooky tale sure to bring the chills to young horror lovers. Hendricks and her family move away from their old town as a sort of fresh start, and make their way to a beautiful fixer-upper in a super small, close knit town. Little do they know that the house is actually an infamous one, and everyone in this town has a different story about it. Soon after moving in, strange and spooky things keep happening around Hendricks and she believes it’s mostly st Fast-paced and mysterious, The Haunted is a spooky tale sure to bring the chills to young horror lovers. Hendricks and her family move away from their old town as a sort of fresh start, and make their way to a beautiful fixer-upper in a super small, close knit town. Little do they know that the house is actually an infamous one, and everyone in this town has a different story about it. Soon after moving in, strange and spooky things keep happening around Hendricks and she believes it’s mostly stress making her see and feel various things. It’s not until she meets Eddie that she begins to understand that perhaps the stories about the house are true. There were many things I found enjoyable with The Haunted and the horror aspects didn’t hold back. Keep in mind that this is a YA book, so if you’re an adult looking to have the pants scared off you, this isn’t the book for you. Having said that, it’s certainly a great book to start with if your young readers are looking for an introduction into horror. However, even with the many enjoyable things, there were many things I didn’t enjoy. Particularly the odd pacing and the unbelievable mundane things. No, I’m not talking about hauntings and ghosts being unbelievable, I’m talking about realistic events that don’t make any sense whatsoever. For example — Brady has just lain down for a nap when Hendricks got home from school, and by ten something at night, it was referenced that he was still “napping”. That’s one long (convenient) nap. And the insta-love was decidedly off-putting, especially since both parties spent very little time together. And I get that those things aren’t the focus of this book by any means, but I prefer mundane, simple, everyday things to just make sense and they just....didn’t. All told, there were many elements I enjoyed, and there were many elements I didn’t, so The Haunted earns a solid 3 from me. Had the realistic, everyday things been more believable, I’d have definitely rated much higher. Would I still recommend this? Absolutely. Especially for young readers who want to read something spooky, but fall into that weird space where they’ve outgrown Goosebumps but aren’t quite ready for adult horror. This book would be perfect for any young reader who falls into that space and I’m sure they would love all the creepy happenings inside this book. *ARC received courtesy of BookishFirst.
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  • Claire (bookscoffeeandrepeat)
    January 1, 1970
    I am confused.I'm feeling both heartbroken and creeped out at the same time.What a weird combination.And look - this new YA installment is actually my favorite release from this author. Granted, I've only read the first book in the Merciless. But I felt that there's something about The Haunted that reminded me of the horror media that I actually consumed so this book kind of has a special place in my heart. I can't believe it.This book was as campy as R.L. Stine's Fear Street books but The Haunt I am confused.I'm feeling both heartbroken and creeped out at the same time.What a weird combination.And look - this new YA installment is actually my favorite release from this author. Granted, I've only read the first book in the Merciless. But I felt that there's something about The Haunted that reminded me of the horror media that I actually consumed so this book kind of has a special place in my heart. I can't believe it.This book was as campy as R.L. Stine's Fear Street books but The Haunted had also been as violent and gory as American Horror Story: Murder House (a little bit).Sounds interesting? Then keep on reading!The story starts with a cheesy but boring prologue. I know, I didn't even expect to like this book. It wasn't riveting, scary, nor surprising. The scene was used as a shock factor like in the first few minutes of every episode of American Horror Story. Needless to say, I wasn't completely "sucked in" the story.Additionally, writing can be awkward. I remembered reading a scene where the main character felt that she was "flying," however she was actually "sinking." Sometimes though, the writing can be pretty on point. The details of the mc's paranormal experiences and the transitions (page by page or chapter by chapter) just flowed. It was like watching the story unfold in front of me. Writing wasn't choppy and it had been easy to imagine what the author wanted to show.Our main character harboring a secret (seems very Fear Street to me). She was kind of paranoid and hoping no one will learn anything about it. I admit that I could care less about the character. Fortunately, this book's plot driven so it didn't really matter. It did not affect my reading experience in a negative way. In fact, I was more curious how the author was going to end her story. Also, there had been some missed opportunities for other characters to be more involved in the story. I just felt that some characters needed more spotlight.Trigger warnings: blood, self-harm, abuse just to name a few.All in all, I liked the story and the romance (which was what I've been wanting since the beginning) except how it was all wrapped up. I just felt that it could've been handled differently. I understand that the author wanted to write this story but I badly wanted this novel to be more than this... I was just expecting something else entirely.BOOK BLOG // IG // TUMBLR // TWITTER**I actually won a giveaway of this arc. Thanks to the publisher and bookish for sending this my way.
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  • Mehsi
    January 1, 1970
    A girl moves to a new home... only to find out that she and her family aren't the only ones living there.This my very first Danielle Vega book that I finished and liked. Wow. I kind of had given up this writer, I have tried all her books (at least the first books if it is a series) and I dropped them all somewhere while reading. But since I was in the mood for a creepy-crawly and spooky book I decided to just try it one more time. One more shot. And I am so glad I did it because this was just wo A girl moves to a new home... only to find out that she and her family aren't the only ones living there.This my very first Danielle Vega book that I finished and liked. Wow. I kind of had given up this writer, I have tried all her books (at least the first books if it is a series) and I dropped them all somewhere while reading. But since I was in the mood for a creepy-crawly and spooky book I decided to just try it one more time. One more shot. And I am so glad I did it because this was just wonderful. It had all the right ingredients + a dash of more. Meet Hendricks (whose name I thought was her surname and not her first name for a bit) a girl who has moved to this new town. She has a past and we slowly find out what has happened, I have to say given how affected she was (+ how the author wrote things) I thought he did WAY more than what he did. Not saying that the things he did were OK or wouldn't cause trauma, but I had expected um, other things to have happened given how she at times just seemed to lapse into the past again. I hope I don't kick anyone in the knees with this, I don't mean this in a bad way, I can probably explain it better in telling someone or writing it in Dutch. It is so hard to find words in English at times or get my thought sorted out in English.She is eager to start fresh, though it seems that she can't let go of her past lover yet, though as she tells the reader often it is not that she loves him, she just misses the feeling she had before things went dark and bad. I can understand that. She settles in and quickly finds a group that takes her under their wing, for which I was so happy. I know how hard it is to make friends, and for her to have them so fast was just wonderful.However she notices that things are strange in her home. There are sounds that shouldn't be happening, there are things crawling around, she hears people but there is no one, and there is more. She slowly learns more of the home and what is happening, though it takes her very long before she undertakes action and even longer before she figures out what is happening. What those 3 guys want that are haunted her house, her life. The haunting was absolutely spooky and creepilicious, at times a tad gruesome. I read this book partially before I went to sleep which wasn't a good idea. :P I got goosebumps every time something happened and every sound in my new home had me up a mile in the air. :P I just loved how well the haunting was written. It was as if I was there, with Hendricks, hearing and smelling those things. Knowing that something is near, but never knowing how to defend oneself or what to do about it. Things escalate as the story continues and holy wow that ending was just absolutely bonkers and mad but also pretty epic (and quite a bit gruesome, staples... and what you can do with them). We also learn that a couple of years before Hendricks arrives there was a murder in the basement of her new home. Yup. A little girl was killed there. :( You can imagine that she already wasn't a fan of the house due to the spooky stuff but learning that made her really NOPE out, and I would have done the same. The parents, as expected, didn't see anything and didn't believe our MC. This is typical for hauntings, there is always one who can see/notice things and someone who doesn't believe/doesn't notice. And sure, I can also understand that her parents just thought she was still recovering from what happened with her ex-boyfriend and what he did to her. That she saw things because of that. Still, I had hoped that they would be a bit more understanding and not left her so often alone. We learn through the ghosts what has happened to them, which is something I have seen more often in other haunted house books. Ghosts are set to relive their gruesome deaths. I am still not sure how I felt about Portia or the other girl whose name I already forgot :P. On the one hand they seem like really fun and interesting girls, but on the other hand they were quite mean towards those outside of their circle.The book loses a couple of points for the love triangle that felt absolutely unneeded. It could have done without it. I think it was pretty hurtful for Connor, a sweet lovely boy who falls in love with our MC, but when she tells him she wants to take it slowly he accepts. Which is totally sweet of him. He is willing to wait. But in the mean time this girl, who wanted space and room, kisses with another guy, and even (view spoiler)[ sleeps with him in the same bed because she doesn't want to be lonely. Sorry, but what? You can't demand space from one guy and then cuddle close with another guy. That is just a no no. The ending also made me cringe due that she lurves him and wants to be with him forever and ever. Whut? (hide spoiler)]I am still not entirely sure how I felt about the ending, on the one hand WOW, on the other hand, whut? All in all though I had fun reading this one and I flew through it. I will definitely give Danielle Vega another try if she writes another spooky story, this book has motivated me to try again. I would recommend this one to everyone looking for a spooky creepy read, but be warned of the love triangle. Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
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  • Shanah
    January 1, 1970
    For this review and many others, please visit - https://bionicbookwormblog.wordpress.comI’ve seen Danielle Vega around for a while. I absolutely LOVE horror novels that deal with haunting and paranormal elements! So, naturally, when this showed up as an option to receive as an ARC, I almost jumped out of my skin and yelled YES PLEASE!! Thankfully, this did not disappoint!Hendrix and her family move to a small town after a traumatizing event. Her parents are fixing up an old house and, when she s For this review and many others, please visit - https://bionicbookwormblog.wordpress.comI’ve seen Danielle Vega around for a while. I absolutely LOVE horror novels that deal with haunting and paranormal elements! So, naturally, when this showed up as an option to receive as an ARC, I almost jumped out of my skin and yelled YES PLEASE!! Thankfully, this did not disappoint!Hendrix and her family move to a small town after a traumatizing event. Her parents are fixing up an old house and, when she starts at the local high school, she learns that there were some horrible events that happened there. Steele house was also rumoured to be haunted. Like I said, anything that has to do with a haunting, I am all over like a dirty shirt! And this was done REALLY well! There were times throughout this story where I had goosebumps and I was gripping the pages, turning them as quickly as possible! The descriptions of the haunting makes you want so desperately to look behind you to see if something is there. Oh, and by the way, if you have a cat, I strongly recommend wearing headphones while reading….. if it meows during certain chapters then you may lose you mind and many hours of sleep! I loved the haunting events SO MUCH that they played out in my mind like a movie! She captured all the sights, sounds, smells, and feels, making this an experience that will grab your attention and not let go!I also loved that there were elements of paganism/Wicca. As a person who has studied both throughout the years, I appreciated the authentic representation. Hendrix doesn’t want to say anything to her parents about what she’s seeing because they’ll chalk it up to PTSD related to the events that caused them to relocate. So she finds her own ways to deal with the ghosts and leans on an unusual person to help her learn more and be rid of them.Now, let me get to the things I didn’t like quite as much. First thing that comes to mind is – the friend group. All I can say is ugh! They were your typical asshole group of people who think they’re great and look down on others to make themselves feel better. They always found a way to cut you down in such a way that wasn’t direct but made you question yourself and your decisions. Hendrix is new to the school and they technically made her feel welcome. But there was an underlying feeling that they welcomed her only because she was something new and lived in an infamous house in town. They made her feel awful for dealing with her own issues. They even made comments about the way she dressed. I really don’t like this type of person!The last thing that I had a slight issue with was the fact that she moves into this house, starts experiencing haunting events, and has her friends from school tell her that some seriously awful stuff happened in the house she’s living in…… and she doesn’t ask further! I’m sorry but if someone told me that a murder happened there and it was rumoured to be haunted, I would be asking a million questions and googling the hell out of that! I understand why this happened the way it did though. It prolonged the suspense and allowed us to wonder what happened and learn things as we went along. But this totally reminded me of the girl in horror movies who runs upstairs when she should be running out the front door…..Now that I’m reading this review back, I noticed that I talked a lot about the things I didn’t like. But, let me tell you, these things didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this book! I read it in just over 24 hours and couldn’t stop reading! I felt that I needed to know what was happening and why. This was a really fast paced and creepy read that brought back my love for all things horror and paranormal!Especially that ending……… OMG THAT ENDING!!!Thank you so much to Razorbill and Penguin Random House (Penguin Teen) for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are uninfluenced.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    This book truly is a catalyst for all the tropes that this author has come to cherish, and not in a good way. Spoiler city ahead.Our hero is Hendricks, who tells us right off the bat that she is #notlikeothergirls and doesn't believe in 'cliches' because she is clearly too cool for them. She is escaping a past emotionally abusive relationship by moving to a small town called Drearford (GET IT? IT IS HAUNTED HERE) with her parents and little brother. They move into the creepy old Steele House whi This book truly is a catalyst for all the tropes that this author has come to cherish, and not in a good way. Spoiler city ahead.Our hero is Hendricks, who tells us right off the bat that she is #notlikeothergirls and doesn't believe in 'cliches' because she is clearly too cool for them. She is escaping a past emotionally abusive relationship by moving to a small town called Drearford (GET IT? IT IS HAUNTED HERE) with her parents and little brother. They move into the creepy old Steele House which has a very terrible past behind it. She immediately gets introduced to the bitchy popular girls/guy and also the sexy outcast, Eddie. I like how they made Portia, Hendrick's first friend, a lesbian but she's also a popular bitchy asshole. Like I've expressed before, I love equal opportunities. Things are looking up for Hendricks and that's when she gets Haunted. These ghosts are so fucking weird and they are def creepy but I never once was frightened. I was like "wow that's weird" then immediately moved on from that. That happens to her, doubled with flashbacks to her asshole ex. I don't like how Hendricks refuses to see a therapist about her PTSD which she clearly has due to the abuse from her last boyfriend, and there is no point where she does go or change her mind about talking to someone, further stigmatizing the need for therapy after emotional and mental trauma. I'm assuming she doesn't want to go to therapy because she's #notlikeothergirls and other girls go to therapy, like me!I was reminded heavily of the Amanda show's Spalding and Sternum when it came down to Hendricks and her 2 choices for men. Connor is the all-American good boy who falls for Hendricks immediately and tries so hard to be respectful of her (but also mentions a treehouse that he can see into her house from... which never comes up again? So fucking weird). The point of them even having a romantic connection is null and should never have happened because he is LITERALLY the cliche that #notlikeothergirls Hendricks doesn't like so... dating him would make her #likeothergirls, right? We also have the moody, misunderstood rebel bad boi Eddie whose sister and brother were murdered in the Steele House. He fronts to Hendricks like he hates everything but is inevitably in love with her after a few hauntings and a near death experience.This story is honestly just boring. Hendricks is very unlikeable, clearly. I can appreciate that she's a survivor of emotional and mental abuse, but I'm not sure Vega pulled it off. What she has to "give up" to let the ghosts go away is honestly fucking boring, stupid, and CLICHED!!!! THE THING THAT HENDRICKS HATES THE MOST. There are a lot of things that are not cleaned up at the end of this that I was like "ok, Vega is gearing up to make this the next Merciless series" which, after the first book went downhill fast so I have no hope if she is planning that, but will read anyway LOL. She also needs to work on her adjectives - there are only so many books I can read by Vega where she describes the taste of blood as pennies/metallic. WE GET IT GIRL, FIGURE OUT SOMETHING ELSE TO DESCRIBE.I will probably read all these author’s books because she has a talent but sometimes I'm like... what is happening here.
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  • Ainslee || Jest and Hearts
    January 1, 1970
    https://jestandhearts.wordpress.com/2...The Haunted is a YA paranormal horror story that follows the main character Hendricks as she moves to a new town for a fresh start. Hendricks family moves into an old house that has a dark and brutal past, as if old houses aren't creepy enough, it's also haunted.I really enjoyed this book, it's by no means scary, just a little creepy. It's about ghosts so if you're like me and are terrified of ghosts you probably want to read this during daylight. It has y https://jestandhearts.wordpress.com/2...The Haunted is a YA paranormal horror story that follows the main character Hendricks as she moves to a new town for a fresh start. Hendricks family moves into an old house that has a dark and brutal past, as if old houses aren't creepy enough, it's also haunted.I really enjoyed this book, it's by no means scary, just a little creepy. It's about ghosts so if you're like me and are terrified of ghosts you probably want to read this during daylight. It has your basic ghostly elements, noises, lights flickering, voices, footsteps, apparitions etc. but it does take apparitions to a disturbing level near the end.The Haunted is a pretty short book which made it a quick read for me, the pacing was great, I read it in a few hours but I honestly couldn't put it down. Something interesting or creepy was happening on every page and I just need to know what was going to happen. This book did have a few twists and turns to it, which made it interesting.I did enjoy the characters for the most part, the teenagers seemed pretty realistic and the highschool has your standard cliques.. the popular kids, jocks, loners etc. Hendricks is immediately pulled into the popular kids group as she's the new girl in a small town. I will say that school and her friends don't play a huge role in the story and I honestly would have liked to see a bit more of them.I did have a few issues with the book, it just seemed like something was missing, I'm not sure if that's because it's short or because it read a little choppy to me but I just felt like I needed more. I also wasn't too fond of the romance in the story, there is a love triangle and insta-love which aren't my favourite tropes, and part of the romance just felt forced. And the final thing I didn't like was the ending, a lot of things were left open ended which could have easily been tied up.If you'e looking for something that's fast paced and a little creepy I think this would be an excellent book to pick up. Or maybe you want to dip you toes into the horror world this would be a great choice! Overall this was a pretty good book.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    "She looked away from the tub for a fraction of a second, and when she looked back, there was a boy standing in the tub, watching her with wide black eyes, her razor clutched in one hand. He tilted his head, his upper lip twitching."  -The Haunted by Danielle Vega.*Special thanks to Bookish First for sending me an ARC to reviewThe Haunted by Danielle Vega is by far my favorite work from her so far. This is Vega at her best. Her previous YA horror books were insanely gory but this one is more sus "She looked away from the tub for a fraction of a second, and when she looked back, there was a boy standing in the tub, watching her with wide black eyes, her razor clutched in one hand. He tilted his head, his upper lip twitching."  -The Haunted by Danielle Vega.*Special thanks to Bookish First for sending me an ARC to reviewThe Haunted by Danielle Vega is by far my favorite work from her so far. This is Vega at her best. Her previous YA horror books were insanely gory but this one is more suspenseful and creepy. The Haunted was your typical ghost story. A family moves into a house that turns out to be haunted, it doesn't really break any new ground when it comes to that. Honestly, this had the feel of an episode of Supernatural minus Sam and Dean lol.The story follows Hendricks Becker-O’Malley, a girl with a mysterious past who moves with her parents and little brother to a town named Drearford. When Henricks starts school she learns that her new house is well known around town. They call it Steele House. Local legend claims that it's haunted but Hendricks isn't so sure.The opening scene immediately grabbed my attention. I think my exact thoughts were, "uhm YES." It was so easy to fall into the story, and stay in it. The pacing was great, up until the ending. I kind of felt like in the final scene everything was happening too fast and there was just too much going on I almost couldn't keep track of everything. It almost felt rushed and hastily thrown together. I loved the writing though! Vega is a master when it comes to mystery and suspense. She'll always keep you guessing and won't reveal anything too early.What I didn't like was that some things didn't make sense or weren't followed through completely. For example, there was a scene where Hendricks was injured, she most definitely broke a rib, but then the story jumps to 2 weeks later and she is completely fine??? Not even a mention of a hospital stay?? I call BS!! There were other things as well but I'd rather keep this review light on the spoilers so let's move on.The Haunted is perfect for any YA horror lover. If you haven't heard of Danielle Vega and are a fan of YA horror then you should definitely check out this book along with her series called The Merciless. Despite the fact that I had some problems with this one I still really enjoyed it and highly recommend.Available June 4th, 20194/5 Stars!
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  • JANELLE || WHATSHESEEES
    January 1, 1970
    For a YA book, I never would have imagined this to be as scary and spine-chilling as it was.Danielle Vega's writing made this book what it is. With its relatable teenage drama along with being new somewhere and basically no one able to help you besides the one person your not sure to trust.Each chapter had me feeling goosebumps along with saying "Holy S***" did that just happen...The suspense throughout this book made it super easy to read. I was flying by chapters quicker than I realized and th For a YA book, I never would have imagined this to be as scary and spine-chilling as it was.Danielle Vega's writing made this book what it is. With its relatable teenage drama along with being new somewhere and basically no one able to help you besides the one person your not sure to trust.Each chapter had me feeling goosebumps along with saying "Holy S***" did that just happen...The suspense throughout this book made it super easy to read. I was flying by chapters quicker than I realized and then before I knew it, it was over. One sitting is all this book took!I'm actually shocked that this was categorized as a YA because well, me being obviously NOT a youth-adult, I enjoyed it tremendously and actually thought it was creepier and way scarier in general than my recent folklore tale, Little Darlings by Melanie Golding (which is not a YA).I'm really looking forward to meeting the author at BookCon this year and getting The Haunted signed!!This book releases June 19, 2019, an I recommend getting a copy.It's that good and 100% worth the one sitting sesh you need to read it all. Besides, it is a short book after all...
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  • Ashley Grace Harter
    January 1, 1970
    I just finished this book. I found myself breezing right through this, just as I had with her Merciless series. I will return and provide a proper, more detailed review. All I can say after putting the book down, is that I’m conflicted. I’m currently feeling sad/heartbroken AND a bit spooked. Haha This made me think of books I grew up loving (Goosebumps, Fear Street, etc.), but it still felt a bit more grown up in some ways and fresh. I love horror, and I do enjoy a good YA book. So for me, this I just finished this book. I found myself breezing right through this, just as I had with her Merciless series. I will return and provide a proper, more detailed review. All I can say after putting the book down, is that I’m conflicted. I’m currently feeling sad/heartbroken AND a bit spooked. Haha This made me think of books I grew up loving (Goosebumps, Fear Street, etc.), but it still felt a bit more grown up in some ways and fresh. I love horror, and I do enjoy a good YA book. So for me, this was a fun read. It’s not a perfect novel, but the good heavily outweighs the bad. It’s entertaining and creepy. Also, after reading 5 of her novels within 2 weeks (less actually), I can confidently say that I am a fan of this author. I look forward to reading what she writes in the future.
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  • Cristine Paquette
    January 1, 1970
    Your typical scary movie-esque story about how something big happens in a family's life to make them move into a beat up old house in a small town, that may or may not be haunted. Hendrick's family moves into the infamous Steele House that has been rumored to be the spot of multiple murders through the years and is the cliche haunted house of Drearford, NY. Think teens PG-rated version of The Haunting of Hill House. I went into this book expecting it to be a spooky teen ghost story and that's ex Your typical scary movie-esque story about how something big happens in a family's life to make them move into a beat up old house in a small town, that may or may not be haunted. Hendrick's family moves into the infamous Steele House that has been rumored to be the spot of multiple murders through the years and is the cliche haunted house of Drearford, NY. Think teens PG-rated version of The Haunting of Hill House. I went into this book expecting it to be a spooky teen ghost story and that's exactly what it was. I would definitely recommend this book for grades 8-10 and not a year older. It was a cute high school version of supernatural and I kept hoping they would call in the Winchester brothers to fight their ghosts, but I suppose Hendricks and Eddie did just fine.
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  • K.S. Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    I'll admit, this had me hooked from the first page. When someone tells you that Danielle Vega is the young adult genre's answer to Stephen King, you have to wonder, because that is a high threshold. However, I hate that I doubted it because Vega's writing and style certainly blew me away with her debut Haunted. This is a book to read in the daylight or a one to read to scare you just enough that you'll sleep with an extra light on and your bedroom door closed. Don't be alarmed, this has just eno I'll admit, this had me hooked from the first page. When someone tells you that Danielle Vega is the young adult genre's answer to Stephen King, you have to wonder, because that is a high threshold. However, I hate that I doubted it because Vega's writing and style certainly blew me away with her debut Haunted. This is a book to read in the daylight or a one to read to scare you just enough that you'll sleep with an extra light on and your bedroom door closed. Don't be alarmed, this has just enough spooky-ness to it that it will get your nerves going and make you wonder about the noises in the dark at night, but it is a thrilling tale through and through. This is definitely for fans of Stephen King and Grady Hendrix, even if you don't regularly read YA.
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  • Katherine Moore
    January 1, 1970
    Hendricks is undoubtedly living in the house of many a person’s nightmares, and at least one little girl’s death, and as the new girl in town, she seems to be finding this out gradually through her friends at school. Steele House doesn't seem to be an ordinary house by any measure, and not only is it hiding a dark secret, so is Hendricks, one that sent her family packing from Philadelphia and to this tiny town of Drearford. Once her family moves into Steele House, which is being renovated, she f Hendricks is undoubtedly living in the house of many a person’s nightmares, and at least one little girl’s death, and as the new girl in town, she seems to be finding this out gradually through her friends at school. Steele House doesn't seem to be an ordinary house by any measure, and not only is it hiding a dark secret, so is Hendricks, one that sent her family packing from Philadelphia and to this tiny town of Drearford. Once her family moves into Steele House, which is being renovated, she finds a new group of friends right away (to her surprise). Hendricks begins to craft a new social life out for herself, involving both the popular guy at school, but also the boy next door, who is also the brother of the little girl who died. She soon finds there are new and far more powerful ghosts than the ones in her past that she has to deal with.This is a pretty basic horror novel, a classic haunting tale that author Danielle Vega has written for teens, and it's perfect for those who might be somewhat cautious about stepping into the genre. The main character Hendricks embodies all those insecurities and anxieties felt when starting at a new high school and she has a lot of baggage from her past, the very reason the family has had to move.I appreciated these parts about the story, as well as the very real conflict she has with whether she should fall in with cliques at school, but because they couldn't be dealt with very deeply that conversely also frustrated me a bit. The parents also happen to be totally absent from Hendricks' world most of the time, which is pretty convenient (and actually pretty irresponsible).As far as the very descriptive scenes that involve the haunted Steele House, these are vivid and full of horrible paranormal evil that will conjure up images that will stick with you. There's also a very deep-seated reason for the evil that resides in the house and it's actually very sad. I appreciate that Vega tied the narrative together at the end, even though it was quite an abrupt ending. As an author, I think she has great instincts for what works well to both scare and satisfy, understanding that real life is a bit messy and not perfect. It's kind of why the ending left me with a punch to the gut.I read a lot of horror fiction and love a great scare, so I love finding creepy books that suck me in; this is a quick YA 'haunted house' read, perfect for a spooky weekend.*I also would have fallen victim to Steele house myself thanks to the cat at the beginning that draws little Meredith into the basement (even though everyone should know the first rule in horror is ‘don’t go into the basement’). But…kitty!!!!
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    Would have been more like 5 stars, but the ending got a bit crazy and out of hand. Otherwise, nice haunting story that has you guessing about a couple of things though to the end. Would have like some more details about how the ghosts came to be.
  • robbie p.
    January 1, 1970
    What fresh hell is this???
  • Alex J
    January 1, 1970
    1/5 stars. Hoooooooo BOY.*DISCLAIMER: This review contains full spoilers for Danielle Vega's "The Haunting" which I am choosing not to filter or hide because I could honestly care less.*So I've been on this website for like two and a half years now and this is the first time that I have felt actively compelled to write a review for something. And out of all the books I feel compelled to review, it happens to be a newly-released horror young adult book, which is strange because I barely read horr 1/5 stars. Hoooooooo BOY.*DISCLAIMER: This review contains full spoilers for Danielle Vega's "The Haunting" which I am choosing not to filter or hide because I could honestly care less.*So I've been on this website for like two and a half years now and this is the first time that I have felt actively compelled to write a review for something. And out of all the books I feel compelled to review, it happens to be a newly-released horror young adult book, which is strange because I barely read horror books and I am always late when it comes to recent releases. So why do I feel compelled to review "The Haunted" by Danielle Vega, and why did I give it such a low rating?Essentially what happened was my sister read the book, told me the basic premise, and mentioned how it averts some clichés that are common in YA novels these days. So I, who am very much sick and tired of clichés that like to appear in these types of books, decided to give it a try. I read the book in an entire sitting, and I have very few nice things to say about it.I will say this, however, before we jump into the pool of negativity. Danielle Vega is pretty good at creating suspenseful situations that give off a sense of dread not only towards the characters, but towards the reader as well. These situations are also cleverly juxtaposed with events that happened before the book takes place. There are some interesting parallels between the main character Hendricks' background regarding her previous (and abusive) relationship, and the incredibly haunting imagery of certain sights and sounds in her haunted homestead Steele House, which invoke and trigger specific memories of her past relationship. This is a unique framing device not often seen in YA novels, and seems to set up the story early on as one of self-discovery; with a lesson in moving on from the horrors of the past in order to face the demons of the present.I WANT to say that this is the driving focus of the narrative, but of course it isn't; I wouldn't be writing this if it was. And I've already run out of positive things to say. Hendricks (and Vega, basically) make it very clear at the start of the book that she (they) is (are) tired of clichés, or in Hendricks' case, being labeled as one. She's always been seen as the pretty blonde girlfriend of the jock soccer player (because she literally was that at one point), and with her move to the small town of aptly named Drearfield, New York, she's looking to change that about herself. Immediately she runs into a whole host of characters who are solely designed to subvert the reader's expectations of typical character archetypes. You've got the hot jock who everyone wants, but, SURPRISE! he's actually a genuinely nice guy. You've got the artsy chic, but, SURPRISE! she's also a cheerleader. You've got the somewhat slutty popular girl, but, SURPRISE! she's a lesbian (do you see a pattern here?) Luckily for us readers, none of these characters are that interesting outside of their anti-cliché defining characteristics, so we don't have to even bother getting to know them! (Also side note for Vega, having a character be gay shouldn't be the only thing that differs them from literally every other popular high school character archetype in every YA novel ever, because that looks really bad for minorities wanting representation in your books.)And what about or dear protagonist, Hendricks, huh? What's interesting about her? Well, apart from having this "mysterious" past regarding her last relationship (spoiler alert: what happened with her last boyfriend is exactly the first thing that comes to mind), she fits the new-girl archetype pretty well, and is perfectly serviceable at playing the part, but, I'm sorry, what part of starting with a clean slate and distancing yourself from a relationship has anything to do with KISSING TWO DIFFERENT GUYS WITHIN THE SPAN OF BASICALLY A MONTH??? I know I'm getting ahead of myself here, but shouldn't she make sure she has the whole abusive boyfriend thing behind her BEFORE getting into not one, but TWO different relationships? Whatever. Anyways, outside of that, Hendricks is a character that exists. Not well to boast for our protagonist, but hey, I'm not writing the book.And then there's Eddie. The dark shadowy outcast addicted to cigarettes and has some shady connections to the strange goings-on at Hendricks' new house... wait a minute what happened to subverting character archetypes again? It seems that Vega forgot to put Eddie in the cliché-aversion camp, so we get exactly who we think he's going to be. No surprises, no gimmicks, just your everyday average he-looks-like-a-bad-boy-and-kinda-acts-like-a-bad-boy-but-once-you-get-to-know-him-and-learn-about-his-tragic-past-turns-out-he's-not-actually-that-bad-of-a-boy-and-definitely-doesn't-become-the-main-love-interest-by-the-end-of-the-book. You know, one of those guys.In comparison to what Vega is trying to do with all of her other characters, Eddie's aura and overall personality stick out like a sore thumb. The fact that the character who has the biggest connection to the central goings-on of the mysteries surrounding the haunted Steele House is the one basic and clearly clichéd character in a story full of characters (seemingly) intentionally designed to be the exact opposite. I just find this incredibly baffling, especially since Eddie arguably has the biggest growth over the course of the story (if we can even call it that, but don't worry, I'll get to it). If Eddie had at least a more interesting aura to him, his choice towards the end of the book would have carried a lot of much-needed emotional weight, because good lord there is none of that here.Before I move on from talking about the characters I just wanted to point out that Hendricks' parents seem perfectly fine with their seventeen-year-old daughter going to parties that serve alcohol, which I just find really odd. Also, in case you were wondering if the whole the-adults-don't-believe-what-the-kid-says-when-they-say-something-about-ghosts cliché , don't worry, because that's here too.Not once during the book did I ever get a sense of the timespan between the start of the book and the end. Vega mentions a couple dates here and there, but if Eddie hadn't said something about Groundhog Day some point halfway through the book, I would've told you that the entire story took place over two or three weeks. Clearly defining how much time has passed in your book is a pretty important thing to note, especially if you are wanting to portray relationships in your story. From my perspective, it seemed like Connor asked out Hendricks to go out with him only two days after first meeting her (which just doesn't make much sense and honestly makes me think of Hans from "Frozen" for some reason), and Eddie and Hendricks discovered they were meant for each other about a week after their very first meaningful interaction. Especially if Hendricks is trying to get over her previous relationship (which is hinted to have lasted around two years), these random and incredibly quick instances of her pursuing a relationship with people she hardly knows doesn't make much sense, and isn't all that believable. If Hendricks had taken things with either Connor or Eddie way slower, or the book actually specified that the entire story took place over, say, a couple of months, I probably wouldn't have this issue. I guess all I'm saying here is that portraying the passage of time in your book is pretty important, as it can either make or break the supposed realism of these human characters and their interactions with one another, and in the case of "The Haunted," it's definitely an instance of breaking it.Okay, let's finally get to the meat of the plot, which are the horror elements woven throughout the story. For a YA horror-centric book, I think that the horror was executed pretty well early on. There wasn't a lot of creative or unique uses of horror elements (think noises coming from nowhere, inanimate objects inexplicably moving by themselves, writing on the wall in blood, your typical horror movie fair), but I guess in a book already filled with clichés that's to be expected, and to be fair they did serve their purpose just fine. However, as I mentioned before, Vega really does knows how to hook you into these scenes, starting out with small horrors and quickly escalating them to intense proportions. And again, like I said before, these earlier horror scenes draw perfect parallels towards the struggles Hendricks has with her past.Notice how I said "earlier" horror scenes.About midway through the book, once we get to know Eddie's connection with the Steele House (his sister was murdered by a ghost in the cellar and his brother supposedly hung himself there as well), Eddie then gets to join Hendricks in her investigations of the ghosts. With Eddie now joining the Drearfield Ghostbusters, the horror scenes loose a lot of their tension and, for a lack of a better word, "horror" that made them stand out when it just Hendricks' interactions with the paranormal ongoings in the house. Hendricks' abusive boyfriend is hardly mentioned here, and the horror scenes become less about the fear that her abuser could still damage her and more about the chemistry (or lack there of) between our two investigators. The horror scenes essentially stop leaning on the more psychological side of horror and start leaning more towards the "blockbuster" type of horror, like what's typically played out in something like "The Conjuring" or "The Nun". While this isn't necessarily a "bad" thing, it does provide a weird tonal shift in the one element that should be constant throughout the novel.Now the book is only 250 pages long (Goodreads for whatever reason says that it's 305 but that's besides the point), so it does give off the vibe of a quick breezy read, with the climax of the story ending at around page 235. Naturally, with this being a stand alone book (from what I can tell; Vega hasn't released any plans for a sequel as of this writing), the last 25 pages would be more than enough time to give a fitting conclusion to these characters (although let's be real, I wouldn’t care about anything they do after the plot is done; thats how disinterested I am in them). Right? Well, jokes on you, idiot, because Vega saved the most cliché cliché for the very end: the plot twist.I'm not kidding, just as things start to finally settle down, we get a revelation that comes seeming out of nowhere FIFTEEN PAGES FROM THE END OF THE BOOK. The story continues to proceed with this newly developed plot point (I'll talk about that in a bit, don't you worry), and it finally climaxes with ONLY TWO PAGES TO GO IN THE ENTIRE BOOK. The two pages following this plot development is an epilogue set one week later detailing a few things, and then the book ends. I'm going to go into detail now, but keep in mind the fact that this is a stand alone book with no sequel set in sight.During the (seemingly) climactic showdown between Team Eddricks (dear lord did I actually just type that) and the ghosts, Hendricks realizes that the ghosts won't leave until she gives up what they want: love (which is weird but I won't explain it because this review is going on way longer than it should). Taking an old soccer jersey that belonged to her ex, Hendricks burns it as a symbol of giving up any love she had (or still has, it isn't made clear, nor does it ultimately matter spoiler alert) for him. As soon as this happens the ghosts leave. Now I don't know about you, but I think this is a pretty solid ending (if it were actually the ending, of course). Hendricks' action ties back into the parallels between both her ex and the ghosts haunting her, paving the way for that lesson I mentioned about facing the monsters of the past before vanquishing the monsters of the present, with her action also tying back into the best parts of the book: the early horror scenes.But that's where my compliments begin and end, unfortunately, as Vega decided to remind everyone about some insignificant plot detail we didn't care about or quite frankly remember, and made it relative to the story. IN THE LAST FIFTEEN PAGES ARE YOU KIDDING ME.Let's back up a bit. Towards the start of the book, when Hendricks is starting to adjust to her new school, we are informed of an incident involving the mysterious disappearance of three high school boys in the 90's. This is mentioned once, and never again until the very end of the book, when Hendricks is looking at an old yearbook for some reason. Upon finding the page that memorializes the three boys, Hendricks, FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER, somehow pieces together that Eddie's MOTHER of all people was responsible for the apparent TORTURE AND MURDER of the three boys, who are now the same ghosts coming after Hendricks, except they weren’t coming for her at all; they were actually after Eddie the whole time.Throughout the book we get references to the ghosts needing "one more" sacrifice to complete the ritual or whatever, and then leave. Apparently, this was a reference to Eddie the entire time, seeing how he is the only child of his mother left alive, and him being the final sacrifice would complete the ghosts' mission of exacting revenge on their killer. In theory, this seems reasonable, but keep in mind that this is all explained and wrapped up in the span of thirteen pages, which quite frankly isn't enough.And how does our hero Hendricks figure this out? Well she kept hearing the ghosts talking about someone named "Saggy Maggie", and flipping through the yearbook, she found out that Eddie's mother's name is *gasp* Margret! Without any real proof or confirmation from anyone, there shouldn't be any way for Hendricks to immediately jump to the conclusion that, yes, EDDIE'S MOTHER WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MURDER OF THE THREE BOYS IN THE 90'S, AND THEREFORE THE MURDER OF HER OWN CHILDREN. Considering that the only mention of Eddie's mom before this was her just vacuuming in her house, this is a twist that came out of left field and should have stayed in left field. It's a revelation that not only makes no sense when you think about it, but it also completely invalidates Hendricks' sacrifice and letting her troubled past with her ex go. It brings into question if her boyfriend troubles were even necessary for her character in the first place if they mean absolutely nothing by the end of the book.Essentially three skeletons rise out of the ground (because I guess the boys got tired of being ghosts), set Steele House on fire and come after Eddie. Eddie, having changed from a brooding bad boy to Hendricks' Best Boyfriend Ever, convinces Hendricks to sacrifice him in the name of love, which, keep in mind, didn't work last time when Hendricks gave up her connection with her ex. Turns out Hendricks really does love Eddie despite basically only knowing him for the better part of two weeks, and allows Eddie to be sacrificed. Eddie dies, the house burns down, and the ghosts are never seen from again.Now what was the point of this ending exactly?The last fifteen pages of "The Haunted" completely disregard Hendricks' triumph of overcoming her biggest struggle and instead pin the focus squarely on Eddie as he accepts the fact that he needs to be sacrificed for something he didn't know his mom had done until essentially ten minutes before he died. And where does that leave us? Hendricks, left without a boyfriend and any purpose she served towards the plot of the book. Good job, Danielle Vega! You created the YA equivalent to the "Game of Thrones" finale: pointless, rushed, and full of wasted potential. TL;DR: Danielle Vega's "The Haunted" is so wrapped up in the idea of averting clichés that instead creates more clichés instead of actually averting them. None of the characters are defined by anything that happens to them throughout the course of the book, and any interesting motivations are stripped away in favor of a plot twist that felt shoehorned in instead of feeling natural. While the earlier horror scenes are well crafted and written, they take a dive-bomb in quality when the central conflict becomes more than just about the main character. Topped off with an ending that didn’t feel earned, necessary, or like it belonged, and you have one of the most poorly executed attempts at appealing to YA readers looking for a good horror read, as well as being one of the worst books I have read in a very long time.Jesus louisus, that was a wild ride and a half. If you managed to stick it all the way to the end, I sincerely hoped you enjoyed reading what was essentially a rant about a crappy book lol. So thanks for reading, I guess. :)
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