Harmony House was one of those books that I was so excited for that it felt like torture to wait for after I had heard about it. There just never seems to be enough good YA horror novels out for my taste (I really do love the horror genre), so imagine how excited I was when I was approved on Edelweiss for this title (thank you, HarperTeen!). I started reading Harmony House almost instantly after I was approved for it, abandoning the book I was currently reading at the time because I just could not wait to dive into this.
Before I started reading, I checked on Goodreads and noticed that it has a lot of negative and “meh” reviews. I wondered why, and figured that I would probably absolutely love this, since I have the tendency to like books that not many others do.
But this time around, I have to agree with the majority of other reviewers – much to my dismay, Harmony House was a bit of a disappointment.
I’m trying to make this review as spoiler free as possible, but I don’t know how easy that will be!
Harmony House started out well enough – you know, the traditional creepy story about a family who lived in a house many years ago, and who ended up killing herself over something. Then we find out that the house was later used as a place for unwed young mothers to go to give birth to babies – run by nuns and an awful man who took his religion a little bit too far.
So, when Jen Noonan and her father move into Harmony House, obviously things are a little bit creepy right off the bat. She starts seeing things, meeting strange people, and her father is acting even more strange than usual. She starts hearing stories about the house, and while she is a little creeped out, she doesn’t think too much of it, until she starts hearing voices and seeing prayer journals with certain words crossed out, creating cryptic messages. The final straw is is when a movie night with her new friends goes horribly wrong – and Jen finally realizes that this house has an evil beyond her control.
Harmony House had so much promise to it, and it’s hard to figure out exactly where things went wrong. For one, there is a lot of creepy religious stuff going on – I didn’t exactly expect that from this book, because it seems to me like the whole religious horror thing has been a little overdone throughout the past few years. But it shows up again here, and instead of being creepy, in some places it’s just downright weird. It’s hard to go into detail without ruining some of the story, so I won’t. There’s also other random things in this book that just made me scratch my head and wonder what was going on.
I had a hard time connecting to Jen’s character, who just annoyed me more than anything. I don’t know exactly why she irked me, but I do know I really didn’t like her attitude and constant need to take random pills that she and her friend pilfered before she moved (especially toward the end).
The actual horror aspect of this book was so light it was practically nonexistent. I wasn’t creeped out. I wasn’t terrified. I wasn’t even really unnerved, which is weird, because I’m easily scared (and I love it!). The book does go pretty quickly, though, and I read this in a single day, so if you’re looking for something light to read, this is definitely an option. I wish it had been better, but it wasn’t a terrible book, and I would probably read another horror novel by this author if he were to write one.
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.