Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The House Eaters by Aaron Polson

I've been a fan of Aaron Polson's writing for years, and I'm also lucky enough to count him among my online writer friends. His short fiction is excellent, but The House Eaters was the first of his novels that I've read.

Seventeen-year-old Nick's family is going through some hard times. His mother has lost her job and his younger sister Tabby is still recovering from a severe bout of depression the year before. The family has moved to a podunk town two weeks before Nick's senior year of high school starts. But even worse than Nick ending up in his English-teacher dad's class is the derelict house built into the side of a hill, just visible from Nick's bedroom window. Something about the house creeps Nick out.

At school he befriends a pair of nerds who are fascinated with what Nick thinks of as the House. They're convinced it's haunted and want to do some ghost hunting--not something Nick is enthusiastic about. He's attempting to ignore the voice that seems to be trying to contact him from the House, for one thing. For another, he's scared of the dark.

The plot is deliciously creepy, a fresh twist on a haunted house story. I'm a wimp--I had to read this in the daylight or I'd never have been able to sleep. But the creepiness is only part of the story. Nick also has to deal with being the new kid in school, his parents' relationship problems, his sister's issues. The contrast between his normal life and the events surrounding the House makes for a fascinating, layered book.

Nick is a likable guy. His relationship with his sister is realistic, warm one moment and annoyed the next. Despite his fears, he's not a wimp; he takes on the school bully even when he knows he's not going to win, and he faces his fears to help those he cares for. The book's frequently very funny, incidentally, and the writing is wonderfully atmospheric.

I enjoyed this one a lot. Sometimes it's fun to be a little scared. As long as it's daytime.

B&N link


Aaron Polson said...

Thanks for reading, K.C.

K.C. Shaw said...

Thanks for writing. :)