Book Review: The Haunting - Alex Bell

The HauntingThe Haunting by Alex Bell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

17 year old Emma (accompanied by her disability assistant dog Bailey) sneaks off from her overprotective parents to visit her sick and elderly grandmother in the Cornish village where, 7 years earlier, she had lost the use of her legs in an accident in her grandmother’s inn - The Waterwitch. Emma bumps into her childhood best friend Jem and his younger sister Shell who have just moved into The Waterwitch to look after it for Emma’s grandmother while she is in hospital (and to escape from their violent and abusive father).

However, rumours abound that The Waterwitch is cursed and haunted - even more so than most Cornish inns! Even Emma’s sensible, sceptical grandmother warns her away from the place. Strange things certainly seem to be going on there, but what is the cause? Is it anything to do with Emma’s accident? Will anyone else gets hurt?

The story is told from three points of view - Emma, Jem and Shell, who share the first person narration duties. Each has a unique voice and viewpoint, enabling the reader to see the events unfolding from several angles. There are some genuinely creepy, tense and scary moments throughout the book, and it is an enjoyable story about family, friendship, facing your past and angry witches.

Some of the horror did feel clichéd, but I was engaged enough in the story to not mind this too much. My main issue with the book, however, is it’s title - I find “The Haunting” to be an unimaginative, non-descript, generic title. What’s wrong with “The Waterwitch”?!

Overall, The Haunting is a solid, enjoyable story, with some creepy - if clichéd - horror moments. It is a decent addition to the Red Eye series of YA horror books.

Thanks to The Reading Zone and the publisher for the review copy.

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