Rating: 1/5 stars
Trigger warnings: Self-harm, suicide
Overall Summary: Compelling and refreshing paranormal horror, but lacks depth and creativity
Hello fellow blog readers – it’s been a while. Today I wanted to review a book kindly sent to me by the beautiful people over at Simon & Schuster, in exchange for an honest review. As you can see from my rating, this wasn’t a favourite for me. However, I’d like to share the aspects that I did enjoy concerning the novel, as well as the issues that I had with the story.
“Women in the Walls” by Amy Lukavics – Synopsis (as of Goodreads):
Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.
When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.
So, starting off with aspects that I enjoyed about the book. I can definitely say that towards the beginning half of the book I was highly intrigued as to the progression of the plot and read on in anticipation. I found the overall premise of the story to be extremely appealing (and CREEPY), and it wasn’t until around halfway through the novel that I lost this interest. Also, this was a really quick read, so I’d definitely recommend Women in the Walls if you’re trying to fill up your readathon TBRs.
Another aspect that I admired with the book was the whole horror-esque genre. It is so very rarely that I come across YA novels that actually delve into the horror genre, and it was somewhat refreshing coming across a story that wasn’t afraid of some genuine gore. Let me give you a couple of illuminating examples:
- People are killed and stuffed into walls
- People are killed and served as food
Whilst I enjoyed the gore + creep factors of the story, I definitely feel as though it was far too grotesque. Perhaps some readers could like this, but personally even as a horror movie fan, the descriptions could go way overboard to the point where I felt physically sick and wondered at the sanity of the author(?)
One of the main issues that I had with Women in the Walls was its approach to self-harm and mental health as a whole. I would like to recommend that the print edition of the story should have some type of trigger warning for those initially picking up the book, as its detailing can be quite extensive and may affect some readers. As an avid reader of mental health YA, I feel the need to criticise the way in which the author approached self-harm. The protagonist’s acts of self-harm are thoroughly detailed, yet her motivations and mental struggles with the issue are never elaborated on, leaving this aspect detached from the overall arch of the story, whilst possibly offending audiences.
My primary issue with the story, however, remains the writing style. Though it was initially an aspect that I attempted to overlook, the blatant immaturity and lack of creativity in the text was cliche and made continuing with the book difficult, despite a somewhat intriguing plot-line.