Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 2 June 2015
Format: Paperback, 304 pgs
Do that title and cover image intrigue you? Well it definitely did to me. As you know, I love reading a good psychological suspense. Thrown in with a horror element and that's always a bonus to me; after all I don't watch too many horror flick so I can only indulge myself in books. Weird, I know.
Anyway, A Head Full of Ghosts tell a story of the Barretts family and how their family is torn apart when their fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. From the start, readers have the unsettling feeling as the younger sister, Meredith (Merry), recalls her past living with her family fifteen years ago in an interview with a best-selling writer.
Merry and Marjorie, despite their age difference of six years, are quite close and will share secrets with each other. Marjorie will always tell Merry made up stories and Merry love hearing them. However, when Marjorie's stories began to get weird and dark, Merry wonders if Marjorie is just trying to scare her or if that there is something sick and wrong with her. After all, there are times Marjorie plays (unexplainable and impossible) tricks and leaving weird notes to her.
Seeking help from Father Wanderly seems like a solution to their dad, John Barrett, but their mother isn't convinced by everything and thinks that seeking medical assistance might be more favourable. Then, when a TV producer approaches them to have their story aired, they figured why not since the money would help the family, considering the messy state they are all in.
While this may sound horrific to some, what makes this story stands out is not the bits of gore and horror but whether or not should we believe in Marjorie, since she'd told Merry that she'd push it along seeing how freaked out her parents are, seeing her state. Plus, she decides it helps the family, with the extra money coming from the TV show.
The writing style and the characterisations are great; and Merry's account of what's happening in an interview to the author in between the real events allows a satisfying reading experience, allowing readers to question themselves if there's real evil at work or if Marjorie is the ultimate manipulator as they read along. This is more than a horror story in my opinion; this is a sad yet beautifully crafted story about a disturbed family and misconception and I closed the book with a heavy heart.