by Chelsea Bobulski
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: August 6th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
In this eerie and suspenseful YA, a teen girl discovers what connects her to the hotel she calls home as horrifying visions lead her to the truth.
Nell Martin is moving again, this time to the Winslow Grand Hotel, built in 1878. As Nell is settling in, strange things begin to happen. Doors lock of their own accord, writing appears on bathroom walls–and most horrifying of all–visions of a dead boy permeate her waking life. Thinking it was her mind playing tricks on her, she soon finds the past and the present colliding as she learns horrific details of a murder that happened at the hotel in 1905 involving a girl named Lea.
Nell and a mysterious bellboy must relive that day in hopes of finally breaking a curse that imprisons them both. And Nell discovers what truly links her to the history of the Winslow Grand Hotel.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
Ideally, I’d give this book 3.5 stars out of 5. When I read the blurb, I was hugely excited. That, along with the cover of the book, really grabbed my attention. And there were a lot of bits that I really liked about the book. For example, the main characters. Both Nell and Lea were well-written, well-rounded characters, although I did feel that Lea slipped a bit too much into the rebellious young woman stereotype.
One thing I really struggled with was the switching viewpoints. This probably wouldn’t have been such a problem had the chapters been longer, but some of the chapters were so short, I’d barely got my head around the time period I was in before I was thrust back into the modern day. Or vice versa.
I liked the other characters in the book, but I would have liked a bit more detail about what Alec was going through. I saw everything from Nell or Lea’s point of view, but apart from a few vague hints, all I saw of the love interest was someone who was miserable most of the time.
I did like that the stakes were quite high in the book. The premise and the characters were strong enough to keep me reading. But I was left with an awful lot of questions even as I learned more about Lea’s history; and I felt that plot devices were a little over-used in places.
I wasn’t especially sold on the love triangle aspect between Nell, Alec and Max. I would have liked to see more of Max standing on his own two feet, not just as another area of conflict that I see all too often in young adult books. There were glimmers of his own personality coming through, but by the end of the book, I felt he was very much there as another plot device. The strongest supporting characters were his mother and Nell’s father.
I did feel that the ending was kind of anticlimactic. I was left with a very strong sensation of, ‘Wait. That was it?’ The whole buildup throughout the book was awesome, but I did feel like the ending let it down somewhat. There were a lot of hints that I felt didn’t really come to fruition.
I would read more books by this author in the future, but although I did enjoy reading this book the first time through, I think it’s one I got all of my enjoyment from in the mystery threaded through the pages. I would recommend reading it.
About The Author
Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, classic musicals, and Buckeye pride. She’s always had a penchant for the fantastical, the stories that teach us there is more to this world than meets the eye. She has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and a dash of destiny in their bones. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, she promptly married her high school sweetheart and settled down in Northwest Ohio with her notebooks and daydreams and copious amounts of chocolate. THE WOOD is her debut novel.
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