Following a painful divorce, Sarah Cassidy and her teenage daughter, Elissa, moves from Chicago to a “nice” suburb in Seattle, determined to make a fresh start. Elissa soon befriends their neighbour Ryan, a lonely young outcast living in the house at the end of the street, in which his sister once murdered their parents; Carrie-Ann then disappeared into the surrounding woods where it is believed she drowned. Inexplicably filled with unease over Elissa's friendship with Ryan, Sarah tries to exert some control over Elissa’s life, straining their already tumultuous relationship even further.
Years after the double murder the Jacobsen family tragedy is still the talk of the town, as Ryan’s dilapidated house and its reputation has a negative effect on the surrounding property values, and the community just can’t seem to let go. Hated and victimised by the townspeople, Ryan has turned into somewhat of a recluse, and Elissa is determined to be his friend and get the townspeople to give him a break. More unsettling than the house or Ryan’s reputation, however, is the urban legend that the disturbed Carrie-Ann never died, but continues to live in the woods; a creature of hatred.
Is it Elissa’s imagination, or is she being watched?
House at the End of the Street by Lily Blake, David Loucka and Jonathan Mostow (a novelisation of the film with the same name), started out with so much promise. I was really into the story from the first page, enjoying the writing style and the setup of the story to come. However, what followed did not live up to my expectations.
While the novel is obviously supposed to be a thriller, it didn’t scare me once. Not once. Not even a little bit. Even the ending, which I presume is meant to be suspenseful, didn’t even have me anxious. I wish I could say that at least the ending surprised me, but it didn’t. I wouldn’t say I saw it coming for sure, but I suspected some of it all along. Yes there were twists, but I saw most of them coming.
The storyline is indeed quite disturbing, but overall this was a really easy read which I finished in less than a day, and it wasn’t deep enough or strong enough to leave a lasting impression on me.
Having said that, I believe I will definitely watch the film version. At the very least I always enjoy comparing adaptations (and in this case the book is based on the movie), and I love Jennifer Lawrence as an actress. If anyone can make these events interesting, she can.