Author: Kat Ellis
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller
Expected Publication: 25 August 2020
Page Count: 304
Source: Penguin Books NZ/Turning Pages NZ
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A can’t-put-down, creepy thriller about the daughter of a horror film director who’s not afraid of anything–until she gets to Harrow Lake. Things I know about Harrow Lake:
1. It’s where my father shot his most disturbing slasher film.
2. There’s something not right about this town. Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker–she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s quickly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot. The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map–and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away. And there’s someone–or something–stalking her every move. The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.
Cover Design ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I received a proof copy of this book and I must say, it had such a creative concept and I absolutely loved it. It held the design of a VHS tape with a red cover and the book itself was the tape. I was beyond impressed.
Lola Nox was the main character, as we follow in her first person perspective, and she also happened to be my favourite character. Despite being the daughter of fame, she didn’t let it get to her head and kept her normalcy. She was curious but not so curious where it became stupidity. I felt myself connecting with her the greatest.
Nolan Nox, although he was not in much of the story, I felt he had a large influence on the story, also given the influence he had over Lola and her thoughts. He was a bit of a mystery, that man, even after the book finished, I would still have loved to see more of him.
Besides these two, the other characters were not as major in my opinion and they were a little bit lacking. Especially Lola’s Grandmother, she didn’t seem to have much personality to her besides the trauma she experienced. Beyond this, it is hard to distinguish who she was a person.
The plot was what initially captured me to request a copy of this book and the plot did live up to my expectations. It was exciting, it kept me wanting to read more and more, and after reading half of it in the night I found it rather difficult to put it back down again. I flew through this book.
There were the odd plot holes every now and then, as well as a few things that are left unexplained that I would have liked to have known more, but other than that, it was enjoyable and creepy and mysterious and everything I wanted even if it wasn’t perfect. However, I also think that the lack of explanation for certain things actually added to the emotions of the book.
Writing Style ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The writing style has nothing to fault. The incorporation of italics to emphasise certain things, I loved as it is also the way I write. It felt engaging and it was interesting to be inside the main character’s thoughts at times.
The way the book begins and ends is very creative. It begins with an interview where parts are cut off, and are revealed at the end where things make sense. It was a great way to tie the overall story together.
An atmospheric town with a creepy backstory which created a very unsettling novel. Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis has knocked itself to be amongst the best YA thrillers which I have read. While it definitely wasn’t so scary your nights sleep will be disrupted, it certainly delivered with atmosphere, radiating with a certain mysterious endeavour that captivates throughout. Not to mention, the concept of the film the novel is surrounded around sounds amazing, I would love a Nightjar companion novel! It was also a breeze to read through, with a very engaging writing style which kept you engaged. If you dislike horror, I would stay clear of this one.