Title: Trick or Treat
Author: Richie Tankersley Cusick
Publisher: Open Road
Pages: Kindle Edition; 165
Release Date: October 4, 2011 (Kindle)
Intended Reading Group: Young Adult
Content Screening: Violence; Horror
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Fans of R.L. Stine and Christopher Moore
Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
A young girl is tormented by her new house’s terrible past
Martha wants to be happy for her father. She likes his new wife—even if she’s a terrible cook—but she doesn’t understand why they had to leave Chicago and move to this horrible house in the country. It’s big, broken-down, and miles from anywhere, alone in the woods with nothing on the property but an overgrown cemetery. But at night it doesn’t feel empty. Conor—her new, weird stepbrother—chose Martha’s new room for her. It’s dark and drafty, and no matter how she tries to fix it up, she can’t sleep easily there. At night, whispers come from the closet, filling Martha with a sense that something terrible happened here. She’s right. Not long ago, the house was the site of a gruesome murder. When Conor and Martha’s parents leave town on their honeymoon, the two teens will find out why the dead don’t rest easy at the old Bedford house. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Richie Tankersley Cusick including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
Here's the honest truth. My teenage self would have ravenously read this book, only to pick it up again a few weeks later and read it again. Why? Trick or Treat utilizes all of the classic (and slightly cliche) horror aspects that keep you turning pages at a manic pace. Creepy house? Check. Hot guy who takes the girl's attention? Yup! Add in a haunting back story to the house, a well situated honeymoon, and you've got yourself quite the set up for a good horror story. I ate up books like this back then, and I still do now even if it's at a slower pace.
I liked Martha for the most part. She fits the bill of a horror story protagonist perfectly. A little whiny, a little uncomfortable in her own skin, and afraid to share how she feels with others. However what impressed me most about her character was how much I really felt like I knew her. Without even realizing it, I had been introduced to Martha's character so deeply that I knew what she would do next. Cuisck pulls you in close. She lets you see everything that's happening and, if you're like me, you'll find yourself screaming "WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?" at the book pages.
The setting too, is perfectly done. As I mentioned, you've got the haunted house! Martha's new hometown has that small town vibe. Everyone knows everything about everyone else. It's hard to hide a secret. Or is it? It's this setting that really helps make the story come alive. As I read I actually felt immersed in the book. It sucks you in and even if you know what's coming next, you'll keep reading. It's like waiting for something to spring from the shadows. You know it's coming, but you have to see it for yourself.
Sure I figured out the plot twist about 40 pages in. Yes, I realized that this was following the road of most teen centered horror movies. Keep in mind that this book was originally written when all of that was new, fresh, and expected. Plus there's something to be said for that classic plot line. We know it, we love it. Especially when it's done well. By the time I got to the end I was reading like a mad man. Cusick knows how to take what's been done hundreds of times, and do it well enough to give you the shivers. Don't read this before bed.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.