ARC Review: Hawthorn – Jamie Cassidy

Hawthorn – Jamie Cassidy

25627476A house on a hill.
A house filled with mirrors.
A house with eyes that watch their every move.

Learmonth village has a history, a past that they hold dear, superstitions that they cling fast to. Learmonth House, however, is governed by its own set of rules, its own past and Gemma and her family are about to discover just what those rules are. 

Learmonth has a pact with the darkness and the darkness is hungry.

Release Date: May 28th, 2015

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

I had conflicting feelings about this book – the first half was meh, but the second half was much better.

What I liked:

-the creepy factor was on point. I admit to feeling a little freaked out a couple of times and vowed not to read it at night because I have enough imagination issues without being scared of my full-length mirror. I love the idea of reading horror, even though I know it messes with my brain, so, while this wasn’t full on scare-your-pants-off, it was satisfying.

-I liked the multiple POVs for the most part, though I did sometimes find it hard to differentiate between who was talking, particularly in part one where I mixed up Gemma and Jules at least twice.

-I enjoyed that the family wasn’t “traditional” – Gemma’s parents were divorced, but her mother found love with a woman. Yay for LGBTQ representation! And I thought it was cute that there was such a big age gap between Gemma and her younger twin siblings (mostly because I come from a family with big age gaps too!).

-the faery-world reminded me of Holly Black’s faerie books which are excellent and among the first urban fantasy YA books I read (definitely some of the first faerie books I read).

-the second half of the book was written in a more disjointed way as Gemma struggled with her experiences and with the appearance of Night Mary, but I honestly would have preferred if the entire book was written that way – I thought it was much more compelling, even if it was confusing.

What I didn’t like:

-Gemma seemed younger than 16-17. There was something about her personality that made her seem more like a thirteen year old, especially when it came to her first “boyfriend”, Liam.

-I also didn’t agree with the way she griped about Liam tutoring the “slutty” girl at their old school. First of all, slut shaming isn’t cool. Second of all, double-standards aren’t cool either. It wasn’t okay for Liam to be helping another girl (even before they were “together”), but there was no problem with Gemma literally throwing herself at Sam and/or the other guy whose name I can’t remember. Uncool, Gemma, uncool.

Apart from laughing my face off when Gemma described Sam as “the love interest in a paranormal young adult novel” (in those exact words!! How does that help me imagine him??), the writing was decent – a good amount of description and great at creating a creepy atmosphere.

I’d be interested in reading some other books by these authors (Jamie/Amos Cassidy is the pseudonym for two people!).


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