Sunday, February 1, 2015

{Review} The Bargaining by Carly Anne West

The Bargaining by Carly Anne West
Published: February 17th, 2015 by Simon Pulse
Series: Standalone
Source: Edelweiss (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA, Horror, Paranormal
Pages: 384

The fact that neither of her parents wants to deal with her is nothing new to Penny. She’s used to being discussed like a problem, a problem her mother has finally passed on to her father. What she hasn’t gotten used to is her stepmother…especially when she finds out that she’ll have to spend the summer with April in the remote woods of Washington to restore a broken-down old house.

Set deep in a dense forest, the old Carver House is filled with abandoned antique furniture, rich architectural details, and its own chilling past. The only respite Penny can find away from April’s renovations is in Miller, the young guy who runs the local general store. He’s her only chance at a normal, and enjoyable, summer.

But Miller has his own connection to the Carver House, and it’s one that goes beyond the mysterious tapping Penny hears at her window, the handprints she finds smudging the glass panes, and the visions of children who beckon Penny to follow them into the dark woods. Miller’s past just might threaten to become the terror of Penny’s future….

I really, REALLY wanted to like this book.  I mean, look at how gorgeous that cover is and the synopsis is super creepy, but I was extremely disappointed.  I HATED the first 65% of this book!  It was confusing and the pace of the book moved painstakingly slow, but the ending of this book was crazy!    

The writing of this book was pretty good, other than the fact that I was super confused through the majority of it.  I do not blame that on the writing, but how the mystery was revealed to readers.  The mystery was revealed in a very haphazardly way, which made me forget small details that were revealed earlier.  I think if West would have revealed the mystery in more of a chronological order of events, it would have been easier to understand.  Plus, there were a lot of things going on in this book other than the big mystery that made the plot confusing and slow moving. 

Boredom was also a culprit in making this book hard to understand.  I found my mind wandering a lot while reading this book, which made me question if I had missed something.  The majority of this book was not enjoyable for me, but once the mystery was revealed, I began to really enjoy it, but that was nearly at the end of the book.  However, even after the main character had her ahh ha moment, I still did not know what was going on.  It was not until the main character practically spelt out the mystery that I even grasped the concept.  This book also leaves a lot of unanswered questions, which I am not entirely sure if it was intentional or not.

I really didn’t connect with any of the characters in this book.  I didn’t really find Penny all that relatable.  It is hard to describe how I felt about Penny…I didn’t hate her or find her annoying, but I did not really care for her either.  I really did not have any feelings toward Miller either.  I found that his relationship with Penny was underdeveloped and the small romance (?) that was happening was strange.  I question the romance aspect because there really was not a romance, but then Penny would talk about how he was good looking and then she has the urge to kiss him, but that is about it.  Honestly, my favorite character was April (Penny’s step mother).  I thought the other characters were not integrated into the story very well and was left questioning some of the relationships that began to develop. 

So was this book scary?  That’s probably why most readers would want to pick up this book and I would have to say it is…well the last 75% of it is.  I think that the confusion that I felt at the beginning and middle of the book really took a toll on how scary I perceived some of the scenes.  One scene in particular would have been pretty creepy, but the entire time I was trying to decipher what was going on.  After the big mystery was revealed, it became much scarier!  I found my heart racing and I occasionally found myself looking around the room while I was reading to make sure nothing was coming to get me.  I also thought it had a lasting effect.  After finishing the book, I sat there in my room that night having a hard time going to sleep because I could not stop thinking about the ending of the book.

Honestly, I would probably not recommend this book because I really did not enjoy the majority of it.  I would say that if it is at your library or you can find a deal on the book, to give it a shot, but read until the end because that is when it gets really scary.  However, I would not put this on the top of my TBR shelf on Goodreads.  With that being said, I do plan on reading West’s other horror novel, The Murmurings, which I have already purchased.  I am really hoping that I will enjoy that book better and that it will not be as confusing as this one.

Check out Carly Anne West's website to learn about all her books here, as well as clicking the picture below to check out the first book she wrote, The Murmurings.  

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