Monday, January 30, 2023

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

Your past and your family can haunt you like nothing else… 

Every childhood home is haunted, and each of us are possessed by our parents.

When their parents die at the tail end of the coronavirus pandemic, Louise and Mark Joyner are devastated but nothing can prepare them for how bad things are about to get. The two siblings are almost totally estranged, and couldn’t be more different. Now, however, they don’t have a choice but to get along. The virus has passed, and both of them are facing bank accounts ravaged by the economic meltdown. Their one asset? Their childhood home. They need to get it on the market as soon as possible because they need the money. Yet before her parents died they taped newspaper over the mirrors and nailed shut the attic door.

Sometimes we feel like puppets, controlled by our upbringing and our genes. Sometimes we feel like our parents treat us like toys, or playthings, or even dolls. The past can ground us, teach us, and keep us safe. It can also trap us, and bind us, and suffocate the life out of us. As disturbing events stack up in the house, Louise and Mark have to learn that sometimes the only way to break away from the past, sometimes the only way to sell a haunted house, is to burn it all down.

Hardcover, 419 pages 
Published January 17, 2023 
by Berkley
4/5 stars

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book, as horror isn't a genre I usually read, but the cover  grabbed my attention and I just followed my instinct and purchased it.

Louise returns to her hometown after the sudden passing of her parents. She hasn't spoken to her brother in years, and their first encounter reveals that they are not on good terms. What follows is an intriguing read as they navigate through their grief, reminiscing on the past, reopening old wounds, and dealing with their parents' estate. It isn't a huge estate, but it is filled with memories of a childhood that was far from average. I won't say much more about that, but suffice it to say that I will never look at certain childhood toys the same way again.

How to Sell a Haunted House is my first read by author Grady Hendrix, and I was immediately captivated by his writing style, character development, bantering and a story with its many intricate layers and puzzle pieces. It is a story of family, grief, the past, and correcting wrongs, which also includes acknowledging them and finally being brave enough to take action.

Classified as a horror story, I must say that, although there were some creepy aspects to the story, I wasn't as scared as I thought I would be. There were funny  moments and the sibling bantering was spot on.  I'm glad I followed my instinct and grabbed this one.

This  book is part of my 2023 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge (#10, woohoo!!)

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