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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Hooke

Review of 'The Women in the Walls'

The Women in the Walls

By Amy Lukavics, 2016

Harlequin Teen

Horror, Mystery, Gothic

Rating: 👻👻👻 (3 out of 4 boos)

“Lucy Acosta's mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They're inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she's ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother's voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin's sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.”

What’s the main character like?

First-person narrator Lucy Acosta is a little sad and spineless. I sympathize with her and like the character but wouldn't say I like her. Lucy's cousin mistreats her in certain ways, which Lucy allows. And inspired by her cousin, she’s a bit of a mean girl herself. But in that regard, she feels very realistic: peer-pressured by the only peer in her life and drawn to sad acts that are a desperate reaction to an isolated, creepy childhood. Overall, Lucy is relatable, but her darker urges might feel exaggerated to some readers.

How scary is it?

Gothic, twisted, and ultimately gory, The Women in the Walls is jam-packed with imagery that’ll keep you hearing fingernails scratching inside your walls and wondering what it would be like to swallow teeth...

Who might like this book?

In its creepiness, grossness, and ambiguity, The Women in the Walls echoes the 2018 horror remake Suspiria (minus all the dancing). And on that note of ambiguity, readers who prefer tight endings with nothing left to the imagination may dislike the mysterious, final moments of this book.

What wasn’t my favorite?

The book’s ending was a letdown for me. I don’t need pretty bows tied around my endings, but I was looking forward to answers about certain things that I never fully understood. Nonetheless, I really, really loved the rest of the book, and I would read more by this author.

What did I like best?

The setting of this book was everything for me. Lucy lives in an isolated and old-fashioned mansion. There’s a creepy attic. There are weird spaces even Lucy never knew about growing up there. And there's a surrounding forest with mysterious tombstones. All delightfully gothic and horrifying.

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