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“Here is a house of ruin and rage, of death and deliverance. Here is where I live, not living. Here is always mine.”
Author: Micol Ostow
Genre: YA Horror
Themes: Hauntings/paranormal/possession, murder, gore
Days I took to Read: 4
ABOUT THE BOOK
When Connor’s family moves into a quiet house on along the banks of the Concord River, he soon discovers that there is far more to their new home than first meets the eye. Ten years later, Gwen and her family arrive, and she’s haunted by visions, voices, and the feeing that she’s not alone. These two young adults soon realize that Amity is more than just a house, She is a manipulative presence determined to take down anyone that gets in her way.
Amity is a chilling book written in switched POV, taking place both in present-day, as well as in the period ten years prior, when the previous owners of the house experienced terrifyingly similar stories.
When it comes to Amity, every turn and every corner will leave you wondering just what’s real and what’s a figment of the children’s minds (or perhaps made of the house itself).
I’ll admit, I (once again) might have gone into this book with hopes far too high. I’m very intrigued by ghost stories, especially the Amityville Horror, as it’s generally regarded as being at least semi-true. So, after watching the terrifying Ryan Reynolds version again, I researched into fiction novels based on the events and stumbled across this one at the library. Just from the cover, I was already roped into the story and I couldn’t wait to fall horrifyingly in love with it.
Unfortunately, that didn’t really happen.
Ostow takes an already-complicated story and tries to make it even more confusing, by adding in a dual-POV, and the chapters are so short that it feels like I was just constantly ping-ponging between the characters. It’s really for this reason that I felt so disconnected from them as people, which lead to me not getting emotionally invested in what happened to them. There’s a few books that are able to accomplish this well (Eleanor and Park is one great example), but this one really pulled me more and more out of the story with each switch.
Then, we come to the horror and Amityville aspect of the story. As far as books go, it doesn’t have to be too scary to get me shaking in my boots, when it comes to books. Movies are a different story. However, Amity really didn’t… scare me at all. I found the “horror” parts to have a lot of potential, but they really fell short and seemed flat and canned to me. Plus, I really couldn’t take the whole “Amity is a being” thing seriously. I got the concept, and I understood why it could have been cool, but every time they referred to Her and She, I quite literally LOL’d.
Amityville is a massive story, one with tons of eye-witness accounts, paperwork and court files on the original murders (committed by Ronald DeFeo, Jr.), and a handful of fictional movies as well as documentaries. To be quite honest, there was so much source material that Micol Ostow could have used… And most of it was left untouched. Really, the only similarities between this story and the original “true” story is the fact that two terrible events happened about a year apart in the same house. There are small haunting similarities (the repeating of 3:15am, the flies, etc.) but other than that… Amity really didn’t remind me of The Amityville Horror at all.
So, if you’re looking for a little bit of a scare, but don’t want to dive completely into the horror genre head-first, you might be able to enjoy this one. But if not… perhaps skip over it when you go to the bookstore
MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Hell House by Richard Matheson