Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Cellar by A.J. Whitten: Review
Posted by Tiffany at 5:09 AM

Title: The Cellar
Author: A.J. Whitten (site)
Will Be Published: May 2nd 2011 by Graphia
Pages: 276
Preorder: $6.74 Book Depository $8.99 Amazon 
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis:Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster.
But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them? (Goodreads)

Initial Thoughts: I was, for some reason, reluctant to start this book. I think that I had a sneaking suspicion that it would be a bit too Middle Grade. I was pleasantly surprised.

Review: Going on the synopsis, you might think that this book is about a girl whose sister falls in love with a vampire. She tries to stop her, but then realizes that he does love her after he makes some huge sacrifice. I am very pleased to be able to tell you that The Cellar is nothing like that. The boy in question is undoubtedly a villain, although you do see a few glimpses of who he might have been before. (Nope, not going to give it, you'll have to read.) I love, love, love that he turned out to be evil. Perhaps evil with reservations, but still evil. I've missed horror stories that are actually horrifying. There are a few gory, deliciously creepy scenes in this book. The story is fairly simple, but the execution is riveting. I read The Cellar in one day, caught up entirely in Meredith's struggle to protect her sister. One of the best aspects of this book is that there are other things going on in their lives. The family has been through a tragedy that none of them have recovered from. The first chapter or so, if read to someone who hadn't heard a thing about the book, would feel like the intro to a book about a family struggling to come to terms with their new life. I was surprised to find that I wanted more of this. I wasn't waiting impatiently for the Good Stuff, I was caught up in their lives before Adrien. I feel that it really gave this book more dimension. The horror actually became the catharsis for change in their family, making it (almost) worth the trouble. In short, I loved this book! The characters felt realistic, the villains were perfectly evil, and there was a lot more substance to the story than you find in your typical horror novel.

Quick Review: The Cellar is the story of two sisters trying to recover from a tragedy whose lives are upended by an evil monster moving in next door and wooing one of them. Yes, it is just as amazing as it sounds. Be prepared for flesh-eating, evil birds, and a bad boy who can't be saved (for once).