The Harrowing – Alexandra Sokoloff Review

Baird College’s Mendenhall echoes with the footsteps of the last home-bound students heading off for Thanksgiving break, and Robin Stone swears she can feel the creepy, hundred-year-old residence hall breathe a sigh of relief for its long-awaited solitude. Or perhaps it’s only gathering itself for the coming weekend.
 
As a massive storm dumps rain on the isolated campus, four other lonely students reveal themselves: Patrick, a handsome jock; Lisa, a manipulative tease; Cain, a brooding musician; and finally Martin, a scholarly eccentric. Each has forsaken a long weekend at home for their own secret reasons.
 
The five unlikely companions establish a tentative rapport, but they soon become aware of a sixth presence disturbing the ominous silence that pervades the building. Are they the victims of a simple college prank taken way too far, or is the unusual energy evidence of something genuine—and intent on using the five students for its own terrifying ends? It’s only Thursday afternoon, and they have three long days and dark nights before the rest of the world returns to find out what’s become of them. But for now it’s just the darkness keeping company with five students nobody wants and no one will miss.

So everyone who has known me for longer than a couple of weeks knows that I’m a huge horror movie fan. I’ve seen some really bad ones and a couple of really good ones. Everyone who knows me also knows that I read a lot. Strangely enough, I’ve never crossed my love of reading with my love of horror….I just don’t read a lot of horror books…until I started reading books by Alexandra Sokoloff. The first book I read by Alexandra Sokoloff was called The Unseen. It was about a couple of researchers from the Duke Parapsychology Lab who were doing experiments about ESP and psychic energy. I liked it a lot and found myself thinking “Hey, this would make a great movie!” So when I came across The Harrowing at a book sale, I immediately snatched it up.

The Harrowing is about a group of 5 college students who stay in their creepy, deserted dorm instead of going home over the Thanksgiving long weekend. At its heart, it’s a ghost story, but it’s not the typical ghost story. It incorporates a lot of myth into the ghost, you need to read the book to understand what I mean. The ghost isn’t a ghost, but an evil being. Obviously, there was quite a bit of research done for this book, and I appreciated that, but that’s not what stood out for me.

Each of the characters are really well developed and I found myself empathizing with all of them. They all start out as such stereotypical versions of college kids and totally evolve into somebody different (and better) by the end. All of them find their courage and strength in different ways.

Overall, I’d say this book was pretty good and I’d recommend it. It’s short so it’s perfect for a couple of nights of creepy reading right before bedtime. Enjoy.

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