This book is just a little bit…harrowing.
No truly! Accurate title is accurate! It’s a YA horror that tosses you solidly into disturbing situations and creepy discoveries and I was glued to the page. I ended up reading it one day and more than once felt my skin crawling. I love how a good compliment for horror is, “THIS WAS AWFUL” 😂 It is said in the best possible way.
But when you’re alone in the dark, impossible things grow bones and flesh.
The story follows Lola Nox, daughter of a famous horror film maker, who is shipped off to her estranged grandmother’s house after her father is stabbed. Everything is rushed and confused and horrible for Lola at the start — she’s scared for her dad, but also intrigued to maybe finally get answers about the family mysteries at Harrow Lake. Her mother grew up here before she starred in one of her Lola’s dad’s first movies…but Lola has no idea why her mother left. So basically we get introduced to this sleepy little town with no wifi reception and no…normal people. 😂💀 Everyone is just a very specific brand of weird, and there’s something off about EVERYTHING. Even her grandma (who is kind of awful?!) and the teens Lola meets in town.
No, it’s this place this town where time doesn’t move forward like it’s supposed to. Where stories get stuck in your head like a tooth burrowed deep in your flesh. I feel like Harrow Lake is working its way inside me.
Okay so the characters were all fascinating and weird. I liked Lola — a total unreliable narrator but also very easy to feel sorry for. Her life is always yanked out of her control. Her relationship with her dad is toxic to say the least. He’s super controlling but she adores him, and we just WANT TO KNOW what he’s hiding.
Now for the horror factor. It didn’t terrify me but it definitely was disturbing. The urban legend is about Mister Jitters and like, hi, his name is just creepy alone. He sort of snatches people and eats them underground. But the town also has landslides and strange random teeth pop up and there are BUGS. I hate bugs. There’s a bit of haunting too. Lola is the typical Horror Heroine who walks into creepy situations willingly and makes you go 🧐 child, what are you thinking. But I thought the ending tied everything up nicely and explained a lot. It’s not really a book about likeable people, but it gets into the psychology of literal vs figurative monsters. And who you should really fear.
I picture Mister Jitters inside that stifled, hollow space. An enormous praying mantis, grinning his awful grin.
Harrow Lake is a story that will keep you disturbed, second-guessing yourself, and mistrusting everyone. It has a compelling mystery and dark family secrets and when Lola finds out the truth…you’ll probably wish she hadn’t.
Also thanks to Penguin Teen AUS for the ARC! I’m terribly late with reading this one, but it’s super cool how it looks like an old movie video tape!
Published 18 August 2020 from Penguin Australia.
Stephen King meets Hitchcock for the Netflix generation in HARROW LAKE, the most nerve-shredding thriller of the summer.
Welcome to Harrow Lake. Someone’s expecting you . . .
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.
And there’s someone – or something – stalking her every move.
The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.