BOOK REVIEW: ONE BY ONE BY D.W. Gillespie

Review copy provided courtesy of NetGalley.

A normal family moving into a strange old home with a dark past--of course weird and creepy happenings quickly ensue!

Haunted house stories are easily my favorite kind of read. If we're going to get really honest, even the most basic, predictable haunted house tale will still end up being a good time for me, but this story is anything but predictable. Now it has all the familiar tropes (really, all of them), but they are done so so well, and Gillespie uses that familiarity to trick you into feeling comfortable before taking things in a completely unexpected direction that I found incredibly satisfying.

One of the highlights for me was the story being told from the perspective of 10 year old Alice as she observes her family adjusting to their new home and they ways it changes them. Writing child characters that feel believable, but are also compelling, is tricky, but you wouldn't know it here. I can't praise Gillespie enough for perfectly capturing the stage of girlhood where they are very much still a child, but start becoming aware of more adult issues that they don't quite understand yet, and feel torn between childhood and their impending puberty. I was surprised not only that that kind of insight was shown, but just how well it was done. Alice is smart, capable, and intuitive, and I loved following her as she tried to understand what happened in the house's past to solve what was happening to her family.

While Alice is the star, I easily connected to each character in different ways, even Mary, who we only know through her diary. I couldn't tell you what any character really looked like, but I felt a deep understanding into them and their motivations, and I'll take that over hair and eye colors any day.

The story itself hits every single beat you anticipate from a haunted house story, and gave me all the dread and tension I desired, but it's hard to go into much more of what I loved about it without risking spoilers. This is one best experienced knowing very little going in, but I will say, don't trust any of your theories while reading it! One by One is a perfect book for my fellow haunted house junkies, but even more perfect for those that think they're all the same. 

I loved the hell out of this book, and I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to an author that is new to me. Highly recommend!

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