Ads 468x60px

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

REVIEW: She is a Haunting, by Trang Thanh Tran

A house with a terrifying appetite haunts a broken family in this atmospheric horror, perfect for fans of Mexican Gothic.

When Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam for a visit with her estranged father, she has one goal: survive five weeks pretending to be a happy family in the French colonial house Ba is restoring. She’s always lied to fit in, so if she’s straight enough, Vietnamese enough, American enough, she can get out with the college money he promised.

But the house has other plans. Night after night, Jade wakes up paralyzed. The walls exude a thrumming sound, while bugs leave their legs and feelers in places they don’t belong. She finds curious traces of her ancestors in the gardens they once tended. And at night Jade can’t ignore the ghost of the beautiful bride who leaves her cryptic warnings: Don’t eat.

Neither Ba nor her sweet sister Lily believe that there is anything strange happening. With help from a delinquent girl, Jade will prove this house—the home her family has always wanted—will not rest until it destroys them. Maybe, this time, she can keep her family together. As she roots out the house’s rot, she must also face the truth of who she is and who she must become to save them all.

As I read the description for this novel, prior to requesting it, I envisioned a horror story. Similar in my mind to The Ring and maybe more psychological, I guess.

And while this fits the bill as a horror story, it also incorporates other themes that add so much to the dynamics of this story. Set in modern-day Vietnam, there are threads through out of a barely functioning dysfunctional family, the repercussions of French colonialism, and generational traumas. I worried that it would be too "busy,"

The story was truly haunting and darkly delicious. It was satisfying for this lover of horror stories. Part psychological and part just gory and gross. Jade's response and reactions are completely believable and real. 

I had a handful of issues from the crafting perspective. Jade is the only character really developed. To some extent, it worked (Ba basically abandoned the family when Jade was young, so the fact that he is not "developed" helped show the very broken relationship Jade has with him), but characters that were pivotal (Lily, Florence) were sparsely described.

The house itself, the setting of the whole story, is a character in and of itself because of the haunting. I couldn't create images in my head of it--the rooms, the garden--because it wasn't given enough words. Maybe this was intentional (this could be any house?), but I like more detail.

Overall, it's a really good, creative, scary debut. I recommend it.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Bloomsbury USA Children's Books through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

0 thoughts:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed by Jennifer Turney under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Animated Social Gadget - Blogger And Wordpress Tips