October 27, 2020

#BookReview: Horrid by Katrina Leno

Synopsis: From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.

Following her father's death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor's doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone...and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident "bad seed," struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane's mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won't reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the "storage room" her mom has kept locked isn't for storage at all--it's a little girl's bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears....

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more...horrid?


Rating: ⭐⭐
My Review: I know this is a two star review AND its one where I did not DNF the book.  I read this cover to cover and for the most part I did enjoy the ride.  But as the ending came at me I found myself wondering what was the point of this story. If it would have been a series I could see this as a set up for possession etc.  But as it stands it just doesn't good a great job at being a stand alone.  This story starts off with us learning that this girl eats books and that her dad died and lost all their money.  So they are forced to move to a house where her mother was born.  Which is a small community so everyone knows everyone else etc.  

You spend most of the story learning more about the main character and her mom. With small light paranormal things happening. Then towards the end (I think about 3 or 4 chapters) you find out a twist that just came way to late.  The reveal doesn't do anything to really make you love the story.  It reminded me somewhat of The Merciless by Danielle Vega.  But where that one did a fabulous job with the twisted ending Horrid just didn't.  

I really wished that the darkness of this story would have been amped up.  It felt very light and that just didn't work out for at all.  I think that if Jane's mom would have found out about the eating book pages sooner, the paranormal activity would have been MORE, the twist would have been darker, and just more I think this one would have been a stellar read!!  

Overall, it lacked the darkness and twisted story that this one needed.  

Noticed that this was pegged as a contemporary horror.  Ya I don't think those two should EVER GO TOGETHER!! 


"Leno (You Must Not Miss) permeates each scene with delicious frights [...] Poetic descriptions create an uncanny atmosphere, and nods to cozy bookstores and classic mysteries will charm bibliophiles as Leno effectively mixes terror with grief."Publishers Weekly

Praise for Horrid:

"The author crafts spooky set pieces and an intriguing cast of supporting characters [...] serving up an explosive finale [...]. A deliberately paced thriller with a frightful twist."

Praise for You Must Not Miss:

* "Leno (Summer of Salt, 2018, etc.), channeling early Stephen King at his best, offers no neat conclusions, and her frank examination of depression, grief, alcoholism, and the ruinous aftermath of sexual assault, is grim yet effective. Readers will ponder this exceedingly creepy gut punch of a tale long after turning the last page."

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Leno (Summer of Salt, 2018) takes a concept...and executes it with beautiful, brutal precision. Between the lines of spare and dreamlike prose lurks a girl who, though quiet at first, demands to be seen, and readers will not soon forget her."
Booklist, starred review

"Leno evokes a Stephen King-like creepiness that draws readers deeper into the story with each turn of the page. [...] [A] great choice for those interested in a gripping but speedy read. [...] Hand this to teens who binge-watched Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House."School Library Journal

"This is movie-ready Gothic horror, with a deliciously foreboding setting, an increasingly unreliable narrator, and a Mommie Dearest plotline that carefully and effectively straddles the line between campy and disturbing...the pacing strikes just the right rhythm, moving erratically as Jane becomes more upset but pausing on the truly terrifying elements...Jane may be a fan of Agatha Christie, but this will more likely please readers of Shirley Jackson."BCCB

About the Author

Katrina Leno was born on the east coast and currently lives in Los Angeles. She is the author of five critically acclaimed novels: The Half Life of Molly PierceThe Lost & FoundEverything All at OnceSummer of Salt, and You Must Not Miss. While she has never eaten an entire book, she admits to tasting a page or two. You can visit her online at katrinaleno.com.

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