Synopsis from Goodreads
Meet Hanna. She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.
Meet Suzette. She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.
I had a wonderful compliment from a reader indicating they enjoyed the Pros and Cons book review format I have used in the past so I will start using it more often. That format obviously works best when I actually have pros and cons to report and that is definitely the case for this book. Since there were things I liked about this book and things I did not like at all, here are my Pros and Cons:
- I love a good psychological horror story and a story with a creepy kid definitely freaks me out.
- Love the cover art.
- When the story is being told from Hanna’s point of view it is downright unsettling in the beginning of the story (albeit somewhat unbelievable – see Cons).
- I listened to the audiobook and the narration is phenomenal. I think the different “voices” of Hanna definitely added to the creepy vibe. Well done!
- Under Slumber Bumble Beast is the best name for a children’s story character EVER.
- The Dad in this story might win the award for the stupidest father in literary history. I get that he had to be on the daughter’s “side” in order for the story to work, but JEEZ! He took Hanna’s side in everything. It was distracting, unbelievable and a bit disturbing. Example – when Hanna cut Suzette’s hair, the Dad’s response was just to compliment Suzette on the new hairstyle and tell his daughter not to do that again. THAT’S IT?!?!?! Seriously? I’m 48 years old, and if I’d have chopped off my mom’s hair while she was sleeping I’d probably STILL being suffering consequences from it! But Hanna? Nope. Not even the tiniest punishment or speck of discipline. Super unrealistic.
- A 7-year old with that level of conniving, diabolical, manipulative, and psychotic behavior was just preposterous in my opinion. Plus, she was amazingly aware of details that kids that age just typically don’t know, Google access or not. Hanna was completely overwritten and unrealistic as a character.
- I eye-rolled way too many times. There were too many stupid decisions like Suzette not telling her husband about some of Hanna’s worst antics. Seriously? That is just mind-numbingly stupid. Instead of being afraid he wouldn’t believe her, she should have had cameras all over the house for documentation to prove what Hanna was doing!!! If the husband was too stupid or blind to believe his wife, then provide proof! How hard is that? Of course, there is no book if she did that, right? But not proving what was going on and how serious it was getting was just too implausible for me to buy into.
- Suzette’s total self-blame for Hanna’s behavior drove me nuts. I get she had her own mother issues and health issues and perhaps her own mental issues, but her self-blaming behavior really infuriated me.
- The book went from being kind of creepy in the beginning to super dull in the end. Unsatisfying ending and ultimately disappointing.
I wanted to like this book. I really, REALLY wanted to like this book! I haven’t read a good horror novel in ages (if you have any recommendations I’m all ears) and I was hoping this would fit the bill. It did not. The book had some creepy moments and it had the potential to be a great psychological horror, but there were simply too many unbelievable plot points for me to accept. I’m all for suspension of belief for a story to work, but this one just didn’t work for me. It was over-the-top and too unrealistic.
Published July 17, 2018 by St Martin’s Press.
My rating – 2 out of 5
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