Published: 25 August 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Word Count: 320
Diary of a Haunting follows the story of Paige and her family when they move to a small town in Idaho following her parents’ divorce. Naturally, they move into a creepy old house (that has a suspicious history) and strange things start to happen. Paige documents these events in her online journal, and tries to figure out what is happening, and save her family.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid in any way for said review.
Funnily enough, when I requested this book, it didn’t cross my mind that the book would actually be in diary format. It is. I wouldn’t say this takes anything away from the story that the author wanted to tell, though I do believe it would have been a stronger story if it had been told in the third person–even if it had been kept in a day by day format, because it would have allowed the reader to see more. The diary format of this story is like the found footage format used in horror movies: it’s effective for some things, and not effective for others.
I probably would have loved this book if I were fourteen. It’s not really scary, though it does have some ‘creepier’ moments. I’ve read/watched a lot of horror since then, though, so everything was pretty cliche and didn’t really offer anything new to the genre. The one aspect that is pretty cool is how meta the novel is, down to the fact that the author of the book is one of the characters in the story. It’s aware of the genre its using and acknowledges that, which is nice.
I will say, Paige does come across as a true teenager, down to the abbreviations that she uses in her journal. The author captured her voice well. The one character I wasn’t too sure on was Logan. We’re never told how old he is, so some of his dialogue seems stilted. I’d put him in the 8-9 bracket, but some of what he says and does seems older than that.
This was a solid three star book for me until I got to the last quarter of the book and it all kind of fell apart for me. Things happen that don’t make any sense, characters act differently to how they’d been acting before, and we don’t get any solid answers. This is part of the reason why I think it would have been a more effective book as a third person narrative. We’re told things that don’t actually explain anything that has been happening, and then something happens that just felt forced and unnecessary given what we had been given up until this point.
All in all, it was a quick (I read it in one sitting), relatively entertaining read, but there are far stronger YA horror/ghost stories out there. I’d recommend this more if you’re someone who is new to the genre, rather than being a horror buff. You might find it entertaining as I did, but you might also get annoyed by all the cliche moments.
I give Diary of a Haunting two out of five stars.
Do you have any horror books that you really like? Let me know! I’m always looking for some recommendations.
Until next time, happy reading!