The Haunting of Lily Frost by Nova Weetman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lily Frost is 15 and not happy about being forced to move from the city to the country town of Gideon. Removed from all that is familiar, including her best friend, next-door neighbour Ruby, Lily is sullen, sarcastic and determined to hate her new home. As she arrives at the house, Lily feels uneasy – the house is huge and rambling and just doesn’t feel “right”. Choosing the creepy attic as her bedroom intially as a way to annoy her mother, Lily soon discovers that there is more wrong with the house than she first thought. Inexplicable puddles of water on the floor. Letters mysteriously scratched into the floorboards that spell out the name of the girl who used to live there. The feeling that someone or something is trying to grab her, and then finding that part of her body wet. As Lily tries to make new friends, she just deosn’t seem able to say the right thing a lot of the time and she is isolated in both the town and even in her own family as the “odd” one. Nova Weetman expertly draws the reader in and builds the tension in this well-crafted novel. She captures the nature of a small town where everyone knows everyone elses business (or thinks they do) really well. Lily is a flawed but likeable protagonist who reminded me of my own daughter – prickly and a bit defensive a lot of the time. Danny, the love interest, is not drawn as well I think, but Ruby, Lily’s best friend, is the best friend every girl wants – loyal, funny, but not afraid to call bullshit when she sees it. As the story builds to a memorable climax, the tension is palpable – particularly the last 50 pages or so. It only took me a couple of hours to read the second half of the book because I could not put it down. I love a horror story that can create a scary and eerie atmosphere without resorting to blood and gore. Weetman has done a great job. I hope she writes more books like this one.
Recommended for ages 12 and up.