Atria Books | 22 February 2022 | 352 pgs
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss 

Twenty years ago, 14-year-old Clare and her best friend, Abby, ventured into Octagon House - an abandoned house which no one dare to trespass. There are stories that it is haunted and that the owner had killed his wife and his two young daughters there. Although Clare and Abby came out safe and sound, Abby was somehow affected by the house and she's never the same again. 

Now that they're adults, both of them have lost touch over the years. It is only the news of Abby’s attempted suicide that bring them together again. While it was good news that Abby didn't die, she now lies in a coma but what Clare didn't understand is, why at Octagon House of all places? As much as Clare remains fearful of that house, she knows she has to return to that place to find the truth surrounding Abby’s suicide. But what she's learned has left her in doubt and more questions unanswered. For starters, why would Abby had her car filled with gas if she meant to die? And of course, why Octagon House when the place gave her bad memories? 

I've to say this book was an engaging read for a debut novel. Atmospheric and filled with suspense, there was never a dull moment throughout my reading journey although there're some parts that seemed repetitive but the mystery drew me in. Aside from the girls' childhood story, there're also two other timelines that go way before that introduce the origin of the house and its owner and the occupants that moved in thereafter. Despite a psychological suspense with bits of paranormal element, I felt the coming-of-age and the emotional depth between the girls are much stronger and better defined. Despite the little shortcoming towards the end, overall I still find it a satisfying read due to the engaging writing style so I'll be curious of the author's next release. 

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