Seeking a fresh start, newly divorced Sarah and her daughter Elissa find the house of their dreams in a small, upscale, rural town. But when startling and unexplainable events begin to happen, Sarah and Elissa learn the town is in the shadows of a chilling secret. Years earlier, in the house next door, a daughter killed her parents in their beds, and disappeared - leaving only a brother, Ryan, as the sole survivor. Against Sarah's wishes, Elissa begins a relationship with the reclusive Ryan - and the closer they get, the deeper they're all pulled into a mystery more dangerous than they ever imagined.
This is a novel based on the screenplay written by David Loucka, but the title page says the screenplay was based off of a story by Jonathan Mostow. I don't know if that means it started out as an actual short story or just a general story idea... at any rate, this is the novelization of the film, which I haven't seen just yet. I thought I had, but after reading this novelization, I think I must have had it mixed up with another film, because this storyline didn't sound familiar to me. But I now have it queued up on my Netflix Instant Play, so that will soon be remedied :-)
The storyline has the standard elements of the genre -- broken family, mom and daughter restarting their lives in a new town, in a old historic mansion of a home mysteriously "priced to sell"... oh, yeah .. there might have been a double murder next door a few years back. As the mom, Sarah, points out, "Double murder is kind of a drag on the real estate market."
Having not seen the film, judging this solely on a spooky story all on its own, I found this one pretty entertaining for the most part, though personally I felt the creepy factor could have been upped a wee bit more. The intro was really gripping but in the main part of the book a good deal of the spooky tension was lost while the reader learns about the marital problems of Elissa's parents, as well as her struggle to maintain friendships between states or maneuver new social situations... you know, normal teen struggles.
Elissa meets Ryan, the surviving child of the couple that was murdered by their daughter, the daughter immediately vanishing right after. Ryan still lives in the house where the murders take place, making him the neighorhood Boo Radley. Stories and rumors fly and Ryan becomes a social pariah. But, of course, aren't we commonly tempted by what we're told we can't have? So Elissa slowly builds up a friendship with him, finding him shy and cute. But Ryan has his seeecrettts....
Yeah, this book kinda makes you nervous to befriend the oddball in the room! That ol' "you try to be nice to people... " SMH.
A minor thing that bugged me: the line that reads "the doctor was OCD about shift changes",,, way to make light of a pretty debilitating disorder! Again, SMH.
A quick, fun read for the spooky season. Got me interested to see the film!