Book Review: Phobic (The Forbidden Doors #1) by Cortney Pearson

22465896Title: Phobic (The Forbidden Doors #1)

Author: Cortney Pearson

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 3 stars

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if those things aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.

To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she’s gradually falling for, but even he doesn’t believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.

Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.

Let’s start with the good. In Phobic, fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw lives in the strangest house imaginable. It was the place where her mother committed murder, the house repairs itself, sometimes rooms change of their own accords, and the lights flicker whenever Piper says something. When she opens up a forbidden door, that’s when trouble really starts.

The plot about the house, the history of the house, and the connection it has with Piper, is pretty much amazing. I loved everything about that. The mystery takes a while to take shape, and to be revealed, and the pacing on that was just right.

Unfortunately, the secondary plots were not of the same quality. The characters, except for Piper, all lack personality. They’re not developed well, and what little personality they have, switches as often as one would switch clothes. They’re not consistent. Even the bullying seems over the top – I understand she might be bullied because she lives in a strange house and her Mom murdered someone, but it just went too far here.

Piper, at first, acts like a human doormat. I was glad to see her gain some personality and guts toward the end of the novel. At least she didn’t let people walk over her like that anymore. She’s the only character showing development though, which wasn’t exactly great.

The writing was overall solid, but there were some strange expressions, and the editing wasn’t always stellar. The book was creepy enough though, and the house, and the house’s history were highly entertaining. If the secondary plots hadn’t been so over the top, I probably would’ve loved this one. Now I enjoyed it, but I can’t give it more than a three-star rating. Concept is original though, and anyone interested in YA horror should definitely take a look at this book.

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