I received an eARC from Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.
“Who built this house? Whose money? Whose blood?”
Ghosts aren’t the only thing that can haunt a house. Trynne Delaney’s debut novel explores the insidious legacies of violence and oppression—and how Black, queer love and resistance can disrupt them.
With her dad’s incarceration, escalating fights with her mom, and an overbearing stepdad she’s not sure she can trust, Asha is desperate for the fresh start promised by a move to the country. Her great aunt Aggie’s crumbling, pest-ridden house isn’t exactly what she had in mind, but the immediate connection she makes with her new neighbor Cole seems like a good sign. Soon, though, Asha’s optimism is shadowed by strange and disturbing occurrences within the old house’s walls: footsteps stalking the halls; a persistent chill; cold hands around her neck in the middle of the night . . .
Fearing for her loved ones’ safety—and her own—Asha seeks out the source of these terrifying incidents and uncovers secrets from the past that connect her and Cole’s families and reach into the present. But as tensions with her mom and stepdad rise and Cole withdraws, Asha is left alone to try and break the cycle of violence that holds them all in its haunting grip.
Asha is not excited for this move to the country. She’s leaving everything she knows in the city behind for the crumbling house her mother grew up in, a house she only vaguely remembers from childhood. Her mom is excited for the move, to be able to fix up this crumbling old house. Asha isn’t, until she finds an old photograph in the walls, something that leads her down a path of ghosts and the history of both sides of her family in this small country town.
If you want YA books with protagonists who aren’t perfect and who are rough around the edges, this book (and Asha) is for you! She’s going through a lot; her rocky relationship with her mother, learning her family’s history in the town, her mother’s boyfriend who Asha doesn’t trust, the friend she left behind in the city not reaching out to her, her father’s imprisonment, making a friend in the country, and on top of all of that, the house she’s living in is crumbling and haunted. Throughout all of it, Asha definitely doesn’t make the best of decisions and the whole time you’re hoping for her to figure it out.
I did want to see more of Cole, who Asha meets at the start and befriends. Cole and Asha’s family histories are intertwined and honestly think chapter’s from Cole’s perspective would’ve greatly improved the book. Cole has a lot of their plate and I would’ve loved to see their inner thoughts and see what was going on when they weren’t with Asha.
The writing was absolutely gorgeous. The dialogue felt accurate to teenagers and the narration, like I said, was stunning.
The second half of the book was my favorite. The plot kicked in and the ball really started rolling at that point. I do wish we had seen more of the ghostly interactions that are referenced as happening off page.
I rated this book 3.5 stars! I thought this book was good, but it’s not a new favorite for me. I do hope this book finds it’ audience because I think it’s perfect for people who like YA paranormal books that are as much about generational trauma as they are about ghosts and hauntings.