Ari (To Each His Ghost #1) by S.M. Boyce (2016)
YA Fiction | Horror | Paranormal Mystery Blurb:
“A Ghostly Paranormal Horror Novel
A crumbling farmhouse lies on the outskirts of the sleepy borough of White Haven, Pennsylvania. No one lives there anymore, but it’s never been empty.
Ari Bowers is a nerdy high school junior with a crush on the Varsity wide receiver and a healthy fear of the paranormal. When her crush Marcus Wagner takes her on a date-gone-wrong to the local haunted farmhouse, her fear is tested. A dark entity latches onto them both in that house, and they pay for their mistake with blood.
Marcus won’t admit something followed him home from the farmhouse even though shadows lurk in his periphery. It’s a prank, all of it… until a local girl dies with similar wounds on her body. Now he’s convinced he’s gone insane. His life spirals out of control, and it all boils down to his stupid date with Ari. As he sinks into addiction and women to ease his pain, he’s left with a choice: lose everything, or acknowledge the darkness slowly taking over his soul. He’s running out of time, and if he doesn’t face this creature, it’s going to take him the same way it took Ari.
For Ari and Marcus, it’s not about whether or not monsters lurk in the dark—they just don’t know which one is after them.”
pooled ink Review:
I thought to celebrate the month of October and the fast approaching Halloween I’d kick off this month with a spooky story! 👻
Note: This is technically a stand-alone book although there are more books in this series of ghost tales.
It can be tough for books to be scary or particularly surprising (my theory is a) when reading your brain has more time to think and rationalize and put the pieces together and b) horror is something movies simply do better what with the sound effects, creepy music, and hellish camera angle sequences) but despite this I found Ari to be an undeniably creepy story. It made a chill sweep through me. Was I full on scared? No, but I definitely had some spine-tingling shivers and a refusal to read during nighttime while house-sitting all alone. I mean, I don’t believe in ghosts, but I wouldn’t mess with them either.
Keep in mind that I typically don’t do anything scary (honestly it’s my least favorite genre – I lean more towards psychological thrillers) but I thought I’d review this in the spirit of October and yeah, it was creepy. I probably won’t read it again because #creepy but it made for a good spooky read. If you’re a hardcore horror fan who doesn’t scare easily then this might lean more towards good fun as opposed to those of you who jump at your own shadow in which case what are you doing reading a horror story??
Back to the book.
To start off it takes place in a pretty typical teenage setting. A jock and a “lucky” shy girl going on a date. What starts out as “OMG how could I be so lucky?!” turns into hideous, cruel, murderous demon torture real fast. Basically learn the same lessons all horror paranormal films teach you: when your body says run, RUN, don’t mess with creepy stuff, and no means no.
There’s a nice mix of cliché and originality in the plot, which I appreciated. It wasn’t trying too hard to be edgy and different, rather it settled itself in the well-trodden path of a ghost story and then had a bit of blood-chilling fun. It definitely took some unexpected twists and turns and I warn you that (probably as expected) the ending is bittersweet at best. I mean, this is a dark and scary ghost story so obviously not all depart unscathed.
I think you have to be a very imaginative reader to get the chills the author (or any horror author) desires. You have to allow your mind to loosen its grasp on reality and sink into the lulling horror of the story, feel the cold touch of a villainous ghost graze your arm, hear the soft ragged creak of a door pushing open, see the haunted faces in the dust-coated mirrors, and taste the tang of fear coursing from the characters’ veins right into your own. If you can’t let go then any book will be less exciting, but particularly with a horror story.
Ari delivers a chilling horror story filled with ghosts, demons, pentagrams, bloody hauntings, and more as it twists its tragic tale tighter and tighter along a line of hopelessness, inevitability, and betrayal. A perfect read for a foggy October night and those looking for a shiver to tingle their spine.
Purchase here: Ari
Meet S.M. Boyce!
When S. M. Boyce graduated with a degree in creative writing, she realized that made her well-qualified for serving French fries. It would take years of writing hundreds of thousands of words of all kinds before she became the fantasy and horror novelist she is today.
Boyce specializes in action-packed stories that weave in fantasy, mystery, and heroines with a knack for mischief. All romantic leads are based loosely on her husband, who proves that soulmates are real.
She has a deep love for ghosts, magic, and spooky things.