Title: What the Dead Want
Author: Norah Olson
Release Date/Publisher: July 26th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Finished: March 16th 2016
Pages: 320-eBook ARC-Given for review
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Haunting photographs and dark family secrets make this second spine-tingling novel from Norah Olson the perfect read for fans of creepy, suspenseful teen fiction.
A love of photography, an old camera, and countless questions—these are all that sixteen-year-old Gretchen has left of her mother, who mysteriously disappeared years ago.
Now she must return to the place where her mom vanished—a decaying mansion that Gretchen has suddenly inherited from her great-aunt Esther. However, Gretchen won’t find the answers she’s seeking without unraveling the secrets that lurk inside the house. There are stacks of photographs and letters from her ancestors that go back centuries, pointing to some kind of haunting past. But when proof of the mansion’s dark history appears to Gretchen in the form of ghostly visions and the soft, eerie whisper of her mother’s voice, there’s no doubt that something sinister has taken place there.
No matter how scared she might be, Gretchen must somehow uncover the reasons why this indescribable force has descended upon her family and find a way to set everyone—even the dead—free.
What I Thought:
When I read the description for this, it reminded me of the video game Fatal Frame (It’s pretty much a survival horror where your only weapon against ghosts is a camera). I never played it myself, but I watched a friend try it and also a youtuber who did a whole play-through with screams and all and I loved it. So of course when it made me think of the video game I had to try out the book. Not that I’m saying they’re similar at all, because they aren’t, just that it reminded me of it because of ghosts and cameras.
The first 40% of the book was pretty slow and not much about the plot or upcoming anniversary was even revealed until after this. I kept hoping it would have been revealed sooner, but her aunt kept dancing around the subject and never really told her much. I really wanted to know what was going on though so I kept on reading.
There’s a lot of letters from the past that help tell the story and sections that looked like they would have pictures. My copy, being an advanced one, didn’t included these images but I can’t wait to look at the final version and see what they are. I think it would have helped immerse me in the story more if they would have been included but I understand that they’re probably still being worked on.
What happened to these ghosts when they were alive was really sad. And even during the book people got hurt and unfortunate things happened. One such thing I’m not talking about on here simply because I’m not sure if it’s a spoiler or not and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. But I think what happened at the end and how it actually ended worked out really well for the story.
It was a pretty decent book and I did enjoy reading it. I just wish I was given a little more insight into a few things and if the main focus on the story started earlier to capture the reader more.