Saturday, June 3, 2023

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

Armed with only hazy memories, a woman who long ago witnessed her friend's sudden, mysterious death, and has since spent her life trying to forget, sets out to track down answers. What she uncovers, deep in the woods, is hardly to be believed....

Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they'd been spending time with all summer.

Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addiction that has allowed her to cope with what happened years ago, the gaps in her memories, and the lost time that she can't account for. But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her Berkshires hometown to relive that fateful summer--the influence Frank once had on her and the obsessive jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey.

At her mother's house, she excavates fragments of her past and notices hidden messages in her deceased Guatemalan father's book that didn't stand out to her earlier. To save herself, she must understand a story written before she was born, but time keeps running out, and soon, all roads are leading back to Frank's cabin....

Utterly unique and captivating, The House in the Pines keeps you guessing about whether we can ever fully confront the past and return home.

Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 3, 2023 
by Dutton
3/5 stars

Ana Reyes has written her debut novel, which revolves around two mysterious deaths.

I have some mixed feelings about this book. While the story and mystery were intriguing, I found it hard to connect with the characters. It took me three weeks to finish, which shows that it didn't fully captivate me. I usually enjoy psychological thrillers with unreliable narrators, which this book has, but I just couldn't get fully absorbed into the story. Some aspects of the book felt unnecessary.

Reese Witherspoon picked this book as her January Book Pick, her choices are hit or miss for me. I'm not sure if it was the hype surrounding the book that made me pick it up or it could have been the eerie cover.

One thing I did like about the story was Maya and Dan's relationship and how the ending brought closure for her. It was satisfying to see her find closure in other aspects of her life as well.

Overall, The House in the Pines was an entertaining read. I ended up finishing it off with the audiobook via CloudLibrary.

This book was part of my 2023 reading off my shelf challenge and is #42.

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