Author : Sarah Gailey
Title : Just Like Home
Pages : 350
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date : July 21, 2022
Source : Netgalley ARC
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
“Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories — she’s come home, back to the home of a serial killer, the house that he built, her home. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there.
Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?
There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Vera hasn’t been home in over a decade. Her mother threw her out as soon as she was old enough and Vera never returned. But now Vera’s mother is dying and she wants her daughter to come home. Vera is reluctant to do so. She and her mother have the most complicated relationship. Vera was always closest to her father but he’s not around anymore. Basically Vera is just coming home to clear out the house and watch her mother die, but things aren’t as straightforward as she’d like them to be.
Strange things are happening at the house Vera’s father built. An artist has move into the guest house out back. One of many who have come and gone, as Vera’s mother tries to earn money based on the history of the house. But this one is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts, in more ways than one. Notes are being left around the house in Vera’s father’s handwriting and if it’s not the artist leaving them, who is it? What is with those strange noises underneath Vera’s bed? And just what went on in the basement all those years ago?
Well, this sure didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. In fact, I think if I’d had an inkling of the kind of story this would end up being, I probably wouldn’t have read it. As it is, I contemplated not finishing it many times but I felt bad doing that so I just kept going.
Let’s be clear here. None of that is the book’s fault. It’s definitely me. I wasn’t the right audience for this one. From the blurb, I was expecting a chilling gothic thriller. It’s not that it isn’t that but there were moments where I found it veered more towards the horror genre in all its disgusting goriness and … just eeww. That really put me off. Maybe the cover should have been a clue, I don’t know.
It’s definitely a slow-burner and I personally felt it dragged a bit too much at times. There were teasers as to things that had happened but what those things were exactly took quite a long time to be revealed. Even the fact that Vera’s father was a serial killer, which is right there in the book description, took ages to be mentioned. I found it impossible to connect to the characters but also never quite got a grip on the story, and I feel there are quite a few questions that remained unanswered.
‘Just Like Home‘ does offer a unique spin on the haunted house theme. It explores the thin line between love and hate, and between good and evil. It shows that monsters come in all shapes and sizes, and jealousy will always be one of them. It shows how events that happen in a house will seep into the walls and affect all those who live there.
I didn’t really know what to make of this story while reading and to be honest, I still don’t. It’s well written and it’s obviously immensely intriguing, dark and disturbing. It has some surprises in store but it’s very, very bleak with a dash of weirdness and a whole lot of gore. Did I mention that? *shudder*
So, all in all, not quite for me. However, I’d be up for trying one of this author’s books again some time. Just without the stomach-churning bits, please and thank you.
My thanks to the publisher for the advanced review copy, which I received via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
20 Books of Summer : 10/20