By Micol Ostow
Available by now from EgmontUSA
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I've read several books by Micol Ostow, many of them quite sweet and cute. Her recent books, FAMILY and AMITY, have been a change of pace. AMITY plays off of the Amityville Horror legend, with a strange house and disturbed kids.
The narraction switches back and forth between Connor (ten years ago) and Gwen (present). Each has their own issues. Connor is a sociopath, and Gwen sees things that aren't there. The only person Connor loves is his twin sister, so he doesn't resist the sinister house much. Gwen, on the other hand, fights hard because the house can't quite infect her brain chemistry. I thought the combination of real-world mental issues with paranormal horror was an intriguing touch.
The thing is, I just didn't find AMITY scary. In a book, there's no creepy music or jump scares for cheap thrills. The tone and imagery have to carry it. I remember one image, of a ghostly figure outside the window and Connor reaching to touch it, to welcome it instead of being afraid. But the images that were meant to be scary just faded from my mind.
AMITY is an extremely quick read. It is a little under 400 pages long, but took me less than an hour to read. (I'm fast, but not usually that fast.) It's a good enough way to pass the time, but don't go in expecting to be very scared. The juxtaposition of time and point of view is interesting, and the plot offers a few twists. Overall, Ostow has done better before.