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The Agony House

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Denise Farber has just moved back to New Orleans with her mom and step-dad. They left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and have finally returned, wagering the last of their family's money on fixing up an old, rundown house and converting it to a bed and breakfast.Nothing seems to work around the place, which doesn't seem too weird to Denise. The unexplained noises are a li Denise Farber has just moved back to New Orleans with her mom and step-dad. They left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and have finally returned, wagering the last of their family's money on fixing up an old, rundown house and converting it to a bed and breakfast.Nothing seems to work around the place, which doesn't seem too weird to Denise. The unexplained noises are a little more out of the ordinary, but again, nothing too unusual. But when floors collapse, deadly objects rain down, and she hears creepy voices, it's clear to Denise that something more sinister lurks hidden here.Answers may lie in an old comic book Denise finds concealed in the attic: the lost, final project of a famous artist who disappeared in the 1950s. Denise isn't budging from her new home, so she must unravel the mystery-on the pages and off-if she and her family are to survive...


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Denise Farber has just moved back to New Orleans with her mom and step-dad. They left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and have finally returned, wagering the last of their family's money on fixing up an old, rundown house and converting it to a bed and breakfast.Nothing seems to work around the place, which doesn't seem too weird to Denise. The unexplained noises are a li Denise Farber has just moved back to New Orleans with her mom and step-dad. They left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and have finally returned, wagering the last of their family's money on fixing up an old, rundown house and converting it to a bed and breakfast.Nothing seems to work around the place, which doesn't seem too weird to Denise. The unexplained noises are a little more out of the ordinary, but again, nothing too unusual. But when floors collapse, deadly objects rain down, and she hears creepy voices, it's clear to Denise that something more sinister lurks hidden here.Answers may lie in an old comic book Denise finds concealed in the attic: the lost, final project of a famous artist who disappeared in the 1950s. Denise isn't budging from her new home, so she must unravel the mystery-on the pages and off-if she and her family are to survive...

30 review for The Agony House

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I knew I would like this, but ended up really loving it! It reminded me of Cherie's FANTASTIC and TERRIFYING The Family Plot, but for teens. I loved the comic pages woven into the story, and really love the look at the rebuilding of the NOLA community after Katrina.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Pablo G.

    The instant I heard the words "Agony House" I knew I was going to like the book. And as I read it more I realized that I absolutely loved it. It had both thriller and comedy all in one book. Anyone that reads the book would definitely agree that this is an amazing book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    ***Big thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review*** This book is definitely different from what I normally read. I have never been into graphic novels, not that I'm against them, they just haven't been my thing. But this cover is gorgeous and I was intrigued by the synopsis. I had REALLY hoped that it would have been a BIT more scary. This book focuses on a young girl, Denise, who moves back to New Orleans years after the big hurricane. She lost her father ***Big thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review*** This book is definitely different from what I normally read. I have never been into graphic novels, not that I'm against them, they just haven't been my thing. But this cover is gorgeous and I was intrigued by the synopsis. I had REALLY hoped that it would have been a BIT more scary. This book focuses on a young girl, Denise, who moves back to New Orleans years after the big hurricane. She lost her father and her grandfather in "the Storm". Her mother and her step dad throw all of their money into an old house with hopes of sprucing it up and opening up a bed and breakfast. Besides the house being a "crap hole", Denise is not too excited about being away from her friends for her Senior year. She is also less than thrilled when weird things start happening around the house. Her and a neighbor kid find a comic wrapped in plastic up in the attic. They start to read it, and throughout the book, whenever something happens in the comic the same thing happens in real life. Windows slam shut on hands, nails trip people up the stairs, porches cave in. It's like the house, or someone, doesn't want them there. Things progress as Denise uncovers secrets about the house, the past owner, and the mysterious comic. Not all things are as they seem. And one night, things come to a scary confrontation. This story is cute, and has a good sense of mystery to it. It's the typical, good ghost bad ghost situation and it all ends happily. I did feel like there were some parts of the book that were pushed or stressed a little too much. They brought up the fact about white people coming in and buying houses and trying to "white up" the neighborhoods. It was mentioned several times and really didn't have ANYTHING to do with the story. Nothing at all. Again, I would have liked the story to be a BIT more scary. All the really good ghost stuff happened in like the last 3 chapters. It was a cute little ghost story though! The writing was great!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This hybrid novel/graphic novel explores the story behind a haunted house in a gentrifying area of New Orleans. Since the book's told in third person, we don't get particularly close to Denise, but in the context of the story, this not only makes sense, it works well. When Denise, her mother, and stepfather, return to New Orleans to fix up an old home years after the storm, they're met with suspicion in the neighborhood. They're white, and the neighborhood is primarily black. There's smart discu This hybrid novel/graphic novel explores the story behind a haunted house in a gentrifying area of New Orleans. Since the book's told in third person, we don't get particularly close to Denise, but in the context of the story, this not only makes sense, it works well. When Denise, her mother, and stepfather, return to New Orleans to fix up an old home years after the storm, they're met with suspicion in the neighborhood. They're white, and the neighborhood is primarily black. There's smart discussion of gentrification and the issues surrounding it, without feeling like a lecture or like Denise and her family weren't welcome (there's a particularly poignant part about employing the neighbors to help with fixing the home and then, when it turns into a BnB, employing them with fair wages). But the ghost story is the key here! Denise and her new friend discover a comic in the spooky attic and -- surprise! -- the comic is the key to understanding the weird, ghostlike experiences they're having in the home. There's a neat look at comic culture and how, during the era of CCA, women and people of color weren't allowed to play real roles in the stories. Fun horror, perfect for younger YA readers (& no problem for middle grade readers, either). This is a book without romance for any readers seeking that out.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I picked this for the Halloween display at the book store I work for. It's new, and will be a great addition for those who like YA titles. It's interesting, and the graphic portions of the story definitely enhance the written portions. There were a couple of bits that felt a tad bit...preachy...but they didn't take away from the overall story. My daughter is already asking to read it! Note: For those who care about such things (like me), if you buy the HB version and don't wait for pb to come out I picked this for the Halloween display at the book store I work for. It's new, and will be a great addition for those who like YA titles. It's interesting, and the graphic portions of the story definitely enhance the written portions. There were a couple of bits that felt a tad bit...preachy...but they didn't take away from the overall story. My daughter is already asking to read it! Note: For those who care about such things (like me), if you buy the HB version and don't wait for pb to come out...there are PRETTIES under the dust jacket.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    This book was a mess, and I'm so sad my love of spooky got me here. I was ready for all the spooks and the ghosties, but instead I got a super boring book that had parts that made me uncomfortable. The premise of the novel is Denise, a girl from Texas, moves back to New Orleans after years of being away. She first left after Hurricane Katrina, which took away her dad and grandmother, and now she is back with her mother and stepfather to start over new. They move into a dilapidated house that is This book was a mess, and I'm so sad my love of spooky got me here. I was ready for all the spooks and the ghosties, but instead I got a super boring book that had parts that made me uncomfortable. The premise of the novel is Denise, a girl from Texas, moves back to New Orleans after years of being away. She first left after Hurricane Katrina, which took away her dad and grandmother, and now she is back with her mother and stepfather to start over new. They move into a dilapidated house that is more than the average fixer and upper to create a bed and breakfast. Besides it being a mess, they soon realize they might not be along after mysterious voices, accidents, and more happen...especially after Denise uncovers a mysterious comic creator died in the house and Denise has found one of his old comics. 👻 The first part of the novel that was meh for me was the storyline. It was super boring. I mean, I wanted to start skimming very early on. It was just a lot of lemme tell you everything I'm doing in this day to day happenings and be super meh about it. I was bored and just ready for the ghosties. When the ghosties did come, they really weren't very exciting. There were no chills to be had and there was no excitement. I didn't even fully get they were ghosties. The first occurrence of paranormal happenings was I think in the second chapter? Literally, Denise is exploring the attic, sees the door start to move, hears a scratch, and is like GHOSTS. ALL THE GHOSTS. GHOSTS GHOSTS GHOSTS AND MORE GHOSTS. Okay, this girl is all about the ghosties and probably those people on Ghost Hunters would have the same reaction but it was wildly jumped/reached and I was lost. 👻 The art. I thought there would certainly be far more graphic content. That was one of the main reasons I picked it up. I love mixed media novels, and the art looked pretty good. The art that was in the novel was mostly in the chapter headers (that were all the same) and the comic. I mean, the art was good, but I just wanted more of it. The art was honestly the most enjoyable part of the novel. The art parts really that captivating either. I wanted to like the comic a lot, but it wasn't that great. It was just meh. 👻 The characters. I didn't like any of them. If the character wasn't likeable, they were literally just there. I mean, there was nothing special about any of them. I felt no connection. I was severely not a fan of Denise, and the rest of them? So meh. The parents, Norman, Dominique, and...that one neighbor kid whose name I barely remember. Terry? I'mma call him Terry. I thought perhaps he would be entertaining because he just barged right into the house and was like gimme all your ghosts! But he was still boring and way too aggressive in this respect to be funny. 👻 I wasn't a super fan of the writing either. It was in third person, so I think the disconnect with even stronger than it was had it been from Denise's POV. 👻 Now, onto the parts that made me uncomfortable. There was a first part immediately made me uncomfortable but then I continued on and it got even worst. I read a lot of reviews for this book and a lot of people praised Priest's incorporation of gentrification and these instances, but honestly, I really didn't get it. I just felt turned off and uncomfortable with how it started and for me, I felt like this instance took away any good it did. All of the things I'm about to mention just happened in a few pages. So, Denise runs into this potential love interest Norman when he is delivering a pizza to her house. He mentions to her, hey, you're new and my age - a good place to hang out is this po'boy restaurant that is a good place to hang AND they have free wifi. The next day, Denise, is like yes! I'm going to go here. So she wanders in, realizes she has to pay to use wifi, so she gets some food. The author describes this entire process and than, at the very last sentence of the paragraph, this sentence is added in: "When she got her food, she picked a seat and tried not to feel weird about being the only white person who wasn't working behind the counter." ... ... ... What does that even mean? I intensely blinked at the book for a good long time, feeling incredibly uncomfortable but still I decided to move ahead because I was hoping to figure out what that meant. A few paragraphs later, Denise is just minding her business, on the computer, and some girls her age walk up to her and immediately start interrogating her. They want to know if she is the person that moved into the new house and the reasons behind it. They believe she is a gentrifier and has only moved into the area to fix up the house and upsell it so the neighborhood will have issues. They talk about how clear it is. This immediately makes Denise upset and she has to continuously how poor she is. I mean, there is literally a huge paragraph about her describing how poor she is and how they can't afford anything and doesn't this girl see her beat up laptop??? When that isn't enough, she has to talk about how she is actually from New Orleans and her daddy died in this city. Dominique, the ring leader, is like, "and i'm supposed to feel sorry for you?" So Denise is like, "Y'all don't want me here, and I don't want to be here, so there's something we agree on. Leave me alone, or keep giving me grief, I don't care. I've got headphones." And then randomly Dominique is like, "Why aren't you eating? You should be eating. Give me a dime so I get this girl some fries." And Denise is like, well, "So Dominique wasn't always awful to everybody, mostly just gentrifiers." ??????? This entire scene clearly makes Denise out to be the victim and Dominique and her group out to be the villain. I mean, Dominique is clearly harshly investigating her and Denise is having to defend herself/mention she is a victim in this situation. Plus, instead of dealing with this and asking Dominique why she feels this way, Denise instead just completely dismisses her. And I still don't even get the french fries thing???? Again, it was incredibly uncomfortable period, but especially after the above statement that put it all into context. When talking with Sha about this, she found it quite apt that this was entitled Agony House. The worst part was this exchange that was the worst part in my opinion. Denise's stepdad comes to pick her up and Denise pops into the car. They exchange a few words and then this appears: Denise: "You want me to ride a bike in this heat? Through this neighborhood?" Stepdad: "The heat, I'll give you. But don't crap on the neighborhood. Don't be one of those white kids who's weird about being around black kids." Denise: "I'm not. I'm trying not to, and...that's not what I meant. I've...I've got black friends in Houston. Kim's black." She knew it sounded dumb even before it left her mouth, but there it was. "But that's not the problem, I don't think. Well, I don't know, maybe that's part of it. The point is, I don't have any new friends." ... I don't even know where to begin to unpack all of things uncomfortable and wrong in this statement. I don't even remember a Kim being mentioned before this moment, and just because you know/have black friends doesn't not equal you to have racial issues. And you don't think that the problem?? Maybe it's part of it??? I can't even. Maybe there was a full arc for this (idk, I did major skimming for the rest of the book but there were parts that I was 200% done after this point that I did end up giving up a little past halfway through even in my skimming so I'm not entirely sure) that would topic important issues in race and gentrification, but I believe this beginning part isn't the way to do it at all. This was just a messy read for me, and this review is long enough. Don't recommend at all. 1 crown and a Merida rating.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    Similarly to her work in the terrific I Am Princess X , in The Agony House author Cherie Priest tells a gripping story with comic book illustrations mixed in to tell a piece of the tale. When Denise discovers the hidden comic book in the creepy attic of her new house (which she bluntly refers to as a "craphole" at all times), the book seems to be a clue to the unexplainable events happening to the family as they try to make the old place livable once again. Denise is a great main character -- cl Similarly to her work in the terrific I Am Princess X , in The Agony House author Cherie Priest tells a gripping story with comic book illustrations mixed in to tell a piece of the tale. When Denise discovers the hidden comic book in the creepy attic of her new house (which she bluntly refers to as a "craphole" at all times), the book seems to be a clue to the unexplainable events happening to the family as they try to make the old place livable once again. Denise is a great main character -- clearly very smart, devoted to her family, but unhappy with being dragged away from her friends back in Houston and forced to live in this awful house. As she settles in and gets to know some of the teens in her neighborhood, we get a picture of the devastation left by the Storm (as they refer to it), even after so many years. The book deals with issues around economic hardship, gentrification, and privilege, not in a preachy way, but by showing the struggles and resentments of the characters and the new understandings they need to reach in order to get along. The social lessons here feel organic and important to the story, and I appreciated seeing the characters come to terms with one another in all sorts of interesting ways. I'd place The Agony House somewhere between middle grade and young adult fiction. The main characters are high school seniors, but the events and the narrative would be fine for younger readers, middle school or above, so long as they're okay with ghosts and spookiness. I really enjoyed the comic book pages and how they relate to the main story, and thought it was all very cleverly put together. As an adult reader, I saw the plot resolution twist coming pretty early on, but that didn't lessen the satisfaction of seeing it all work out, and I think it'll be a great surprise for readers in the target audience.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Akoss

    @Kidlitexchange #partner - I received a copy of this book from the Kidlitexchange network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Releases 9/25/18 Denise and her family move back to New Orleans in hopes of changing their fortune by renovating an old house and turning it into a bed and breakfast. Old houses are a tricky business to handle but when it becomes undeniable that the house didn't want Denise and her family around, she decides to push back and keep her family safe by un @Kidlitexchange #partner - I received a copy of this book from the Kidlitexchange network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Releases 9/25/18 Denise and her family move back to New Orleans in hopes of changing their fortune by renovating an old house and turning it into a bed and breakfast. Old houses are a tricky business to handle but when it becomes undeniable that the house didn't want Denise and her family around, she decides to push back and keep her family safe by uncovering the house's dark past. My favorite kind of scary story is the kind that makes me jumpy, the kind that makes me wonder if what the character sees is real or an illusion, and the kind that makes me paranoid about anything remotely odd. Cherie Priest delivers all of that and more. The combination of prose and graphic novel panels adds a neat interactive level to the reading experience. Wondering about what unsettling details Denise will uncover in her search through the house's past makes this book a thrilling page turner and so hard to put down. Agony House is an excellent horror read that doesn't over do it. I highly recommend you read it in one sitting.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    a fun, feminist ghost story set in post Katrina New Orleans; an old house nightmare, with a mystery solved by an engaging, plucky young heroine who's not afraid to get help from the dead (with gentrification issues touched on)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shauna Yusko

    3 1/2. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Princess X, but as a ghost story/mystery/haunted house story for middle school and high school it works.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Billie

    A New Orleans haunted house story with graphic novel elements? Yes, Please! For someone who devoured a steady diet of Lois Duncan as a tween, this was right up my alley. Bonus points to Ms. Priest for including social, racial, and economic issues in a way that is educational but not preachy. And a healthy step-parent/step-kid relationship? Extra bonus points, plus gold stars and sparkles. (And unicorns and donuts for the shout-out to indie booksellers.) And now I really want a Lucida Might comic s A New Orleans haunted house story with graphic novel elements? Yes, Please! For someone who devoured a steady diet of Lois Duncan as a tween, this was right up my alley. Bonus points to Ms. Priest for including social, racial, and economic issues in a way that is educational but not preachy. And a healthy step-parent/step-kid relationship? Extra bonus points, plus gold stars and sparkles. (And unicorns and donuts for the shout-out to indie booksellers.) And now I really want a Lucida Might comic series. Please, someone at Graphix, make that a thing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsea Kidd

    Denise Farber is about to start her senior year of high school and has just moved with her mom, Sally, and stepdad, Mike, from Houston back to New Orleans, where she was born. Denise and her mom left New Orleans when Denise was just a baby, after the destruction caused by “The Storm” (Hurricane Katrina) and the resulting deaths of Denise’s father and grandmother. Her mom and stepdad have bought an old rundown Victorian house that they intend to fix up and convert into a bed and breakfast, as had Denise Farber is about to start her senior year of high school and has just moved with her mom, Sally, and stepdad, Mike, from Houston back to New Orleans, where she was born. Denise and her mom left New Orleans when Denise was just a baby, after the destruction caused by “The Storm” (Hurricane Katrina) and the resulting deaths of Denise’s father and grandmother. Her mom and stepdad have bought an old rundown Victorian house that they intend to fix up and convert into a bed and breakfast, as had been Denise’s grandmother’s dream before she died. Denise isn’t sold on the idea of living in the dirty, weatherworn house, or being away from her friends in Houston, especially when she starts hearing mysterious humming, and footprints in the dust belonging to nobody. When the house starts trying to kill them, Denise needs to unravel the mystery of the identity of the ghosts living there, and how they’re related to a comic book she found in the attic, whose author died in the 1950’s inside the very house her family is trying to save. __________ I received a review copy of this book from my husband, who got it from a vendor giving away books at a convention. Okay, the ending took me by surprise! In mystery books like this, I always like to try to predict what the twist ending will be, and I will say I was totally blindsided. I might actually go back and re-read this one to see if I missed some big hints. I think I must’ve. For hardcore horror fans this might not be scary enough, but I’m spooked very easily and found the horror elements very effective. Denise’s first friend in New Orleans, Terry, is the exact type of person I’d want to accompany me in a haunted house. He’s persistent to the point of being annoying, very excited about ghosts, and great comic relief when things start getting spooky. He’s also loyal, and will always show up when you need him, which seems to be exactly what Denise needs in her new neighborhood. She also makes friends with Norman, who is always willing to help out with anything she or her family needs, and she makes a sort-of friend out of Dominique, Norman’s cousin, and easily my favorite character in the whole book. I would’ve loved to see more of her. The story really gets going when Denise and Terry discover the manuscript for a comic book hidden up in the attic while searching for ghosts, which happens pretty early on in the book. The comic is Lucida Might and the House of Horrors, a story about a fast-talking, fast-shooting detective who apparently spends most of her time rescuing her accident-prone boyfriend, Doug. The comic segments are fantastic, and the art really helps to set the mood for the story. The comic (in universe) was written by Joe Vaughn, who, according to his (in universe) Wikipedia article, gave up his comics career after the Comics Code Authority regulations in the 1950s restricted the types of things his female hero was allowed to do. I thought the Wikipedia article was a nice touch, and, as a former Wikipedia editor, got a real kick out of the description of the talk page arguments. It was a nice note of realism. I also really appreciated the frank discussion of gentrification. Denise is a white girl, from a white family, who moved to a predominantly poor, black neighborhood to fix up an old house and turn it into a bed and breakfast. Dominique in particular is very quick to brand Denise’s family as gentrifiers, but not necessarily without reason. Dominique, Norman, and their grandmother all give Denise a primer on what gentrification is, how it negatively affects the neighborhood, and how not to be a gentrifier, and I found it deeply thoughtful and effective. Okay, this is MUCH longer than I had originally planned. Maybe one day I will do a super spoilery analysis of this book because I feel like there’s a lot in those 270ish pages to talk about, but that’s for another time, and not for this review. I’ve already said too much. I’d give The Agony House 4 stars for not enough Dominique, but that seems petty, so it gets the 5. Crossing my fingers that we’ll see more ghost hunting adventures from the gang in the future. Cherie Priest also wrote I Am Princess X, which is definitely going on my to-read list.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cassi

    This book was amazing! Everything I wanted it to be and more. I loved I Am Princess X and I was really excited to hear that she had a new book coming out in a similar format. I saw copies available at ALA and I picked it up without even reading the synopsis. Then I read the synopsis and was even more excited. It was incredibly apropos that I received a copy of this book at ALA in New Orleans because this is a book set in New Orleans, which is just one great thing about it. And the mystery and his This book was amazing! Everything I wanted it to be and more. I loved I Am Princess X and I was really excited to hear that she had a new book coming out in a similar format. I saw copies available at ALA and I picked it up without even reading the synopsis. Then I read the synopsis and was even more excited. It was incredibly apropos that I received a copy of this book at ALA in New Orleans because this is a book set in New Orleans, which is just one great thing about it. And the mystery and history of New Orleans definitely comes alive in The Agony House. It’s a city full of stories of ghosts and haunted houses. That seems to be the basis for this story and I really loved that. I love books that are set in mysterious old houses because I always wonder what happened in a place years ago. And seriously, this House was so creepy and fascinating. It definitely had this great horror movie vibe. It was compelling and cinematic made all the more interesting with the comics that were dispersed throughout. But the house was only the start when it came to establishing the setting of this book. It takes place in the present day so the book has to deal with Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. I really liked why Cherie Priest did with this aspect of the story. She didn’t shy away from talking about some of the terrible things that happened to the city of New Orleans and the people who lived there. She also really addressed the idea of gentrification and people coming into a blighted neighborhood and wanting to make it better at the expense of the people who had been there for generations. It’s such an interesting concept and I loved that she talked about it here. It gave the book a lot of depth and also grounded it in reality. And that reality was shown in sharp contrast to the amazing supernatural elements in this book. I’m not a big fan of horror but I like a creepy book that makes me look over my shoulder and question things about old houses which is exactly what this book did. The ghost elements were really well done and had me really thinking that this house could certainly be a stop on a New Orleans ghost tour if it existed. And the ghost tour I went on was one of the highlights of my trip so that made me incredibly happy. The other thing about this book that made me very happy was the mystery. I really loved the way it all unfolded. Like I Am Princess X this one had a comic that was dispersed throughout the story which gave clues that lead to the big reveal at the end (and in this case also showed what run ins with the resident ghost would be like). But unlike Princess X, I felt like this mystery was a little less obvious. It still was solvable and there were hints but it felt like a more mysterious and complex narrative which I appreciated. It was also an incredibly addicting read. It’s a short book and therefore it’a not too surprising that I finished it in two days but I also could not put it down. I keep telling myself “just one more chapter” and before I knew it I had read another forty pages. It had that much of my attention. All in all, this was an amazing read. It is the perfect combination of supernatural thriller and historical mystery plus there is the comic thrown in for even more amazingness. I really loved and definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fast and compelling Halloween read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erin Moulton

    Agony house was an interesting haunted house story that combined a creepy setting with a long lost comic book. I found Agony House entertaining and I really liked the twist at the end, but I had a few things that just weren't for me on a more personal taste level. What I liked: I really liked the plot. I enjoyed the action and the characters and I think that the twist at the ending was really interesting and unexpected (at least to me). I loved the comic book character and I loved the illustratio Agony house was an interesting haunted house story that combined a creepy setting with a long lost comic book. I found Agony House entertaining and I really liked the twist at the end, but I had a few things that just weren't for me on a more personal taste level. What I liked: I really liked the plot. I enjoyed the action and the characters and I think that the twist at the ending was really interesting and unexpected (at least to me). I loved the comic book character and I loved the illustrations. I loved the main character. I found her real and compelling. Her sidekicks grew, too. The backstory was neat and well thought out. I loved the setting. For negatives: as a librarian reading a book that is about a kid interested in house history or a death that has happened at their house, the very first place I would think to go is the public library. I know I know, she's a kid, but still. I've had kids come into the library looking for articles and obits. It would have been a natural first step for her to go to the public library and find the obituary for that dead guy. Then look into the house history. Something similar happened, but not until page 196. It felt really weird to me that a kid would come up with so little information by page 196. The writing was good, but so practical. This is purely an aesthetic taste. I love evocative writing and I would have felt more of the spookies if the writing had been more evocative, or perhaps placed more deeply inside the character's head. I didn't get the feels. Finally, one of my main thoughts was why she didn't just read the comic book in one sitting. I mean, bad things happened when she read the comic book. That either would have spurred me to get rid of the thing, burn it, or read it all in one sitting to get through it. Neither of these things happened. The character almost rolled with the punches too easily. I felt like that decreased the tension a little bit. Still, I did like the book. I found it entertaining and interesting. A clever idea that will find readers interested in a quick read with an interesting twist.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    See full review on my link text my blog of reviews on books that haven't come out yet! I picked this one up because not only was it a ghost story, but it's also part graphic novel, which I thought was the coolest thing! I liked it and the ending was cute. I really liked how the characters weren't in denial about ghosts the whole time because that just takes away from the story so I'm happy that didn't happen. The cast of characters was interesting and I really liked the friendships the main, Denis See full review on my link text my blog of reviews on books that haven't come out yet! I picked this one up because not only was it a ghost story, but it's also part graphic novel, which I thought was the coolest thing! I liked it and the ending was cute. I really liked how the characters weren't in denial about ghosts the whole time because that just takes away from the story so I'm happy that didn't happen. The cast of characters was interesting and I really liked the friendships the main, Denise, made with the neighborhood kids -especially with Dominique, who looked like they would be enemies in the beginning. Terry was funny and Norman was cool. No ships in this book (which is better for the story). The plot was mysterious. It doesn't quite snatch up your attention like I've experienced with some other AMAZING books, but it was fun to try and figure out what was happening. Likes/Dislikes: I said this before but again: I really liked how the characters weren't fully in denial of ghosts the whole time. I feel like the book was WAY better that way. Also liked how there was an actual comic book IN the story!! And how the color of the text would change to blue when the kids were texting or reading articles etc. I didn't like how it was told through third person narration; I feel like it could've been better off with going first person. Conclusion: I would rate this a high 3 out of 5 stars. I'd recommend it to anyone in the mood for a good quick & fast ghost story. Took me 3 days to read

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marc the Darc

    This is Cherie Priest's best book of her last several, in my opinion, in both adult and young adult catergories. It skews older than her last YA novel, I am Princess X, and meets the technical definition of a YA novel, but I think it works quite well as an adult novel as well, taking into account the teen character POV. It is also a better haunted house story than her last, The Family Plot. I firmly enjoyed this. In other reviews of Cherie Priest's novels I have described my frequent aversion to This is Cherie Priest's best book of her last several, in my opinion, in both adult and young adult catergories. It skews older than her last YA novel, I am Princess X, and meets the technical definition of a YA novel, but I think it works quite well as an adult novel as well, taking into account the teen character POV. It is also a better haunted house story than her last, The Family Plot. I firmly enjoyed this. In other reviews of Cherie Priest's novels I have described my frequent aversion to her dialogue, but I experienced none of that here. The main character, Denise, speaks as a smart, chill. world-wise teenager. Her friends are diverse and well-characterized too. Priest uses the same gimmick as in her prior YA outing, crafting a story that interweaves with a comic, creating a partial-graphic novel, although it is heavily more novel than graphic. The effect is welcome and effective here. One thing left me baffled in this tale, however, is that it took Denise perhaps two full weeks, or however long the events take place over, to read all the way through a single comic book manuscript. We are talking about perhaps 30 pages with very few panels per page. Sure, she kept getting interrupted, but she couldn't have taken 5 minutes to finish it on the first day? Comparitively, the use of cell phones and internet is realistic. It must be frequently challenging to set a novel in current times without ignoring the availability of the internet as an easy solution to all of the characters' problem. Priest gets around this here by rooting the mystery in events from the 1950's. This was a pleasing read, and I will continue to check out Cherie Priest's books as they are released.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I sometimes long to read a good scary story, one that isn't overly supernatural with just the right amount of creeps. And this book comes extremely close to delivering that feeling. Denise has moved to New Orleans with her mother and her stepfather, Mike. The family hasn't been living there since Katrina in which Denise lost her father and grandmother. Denise's mother, Sally, has decided to buy an old house and dreams of turning it into a bed and breakfast. But the house is in disgusting conditi I sometimes long to read a good scary story, one that isn't overly supernatural with just the right amount of creeps. And this book comes extremely close to delivering that feeling. Denise has moved to New Orleans with her mother and her stepfather, Mike. The family hasn't been living there since Katrina in which Denise lost her father and grandmother. Denise's mother, Sally, has decided to buy an old house and dreams of turning it into a bed and breakfast. But the house is in disgusting condition with almost no electricity, a wasp's nest in one of the bedrooms and just a layer of dirt, grime and possibly asbestos. Denise has trouble making friends and encounters the semi annoying Terry, a boy who is convinced that the home that Denise is trying to acclimate herself into may be haunted. Terry comes armed with ghost hunting equipment and uses Denise as a means to explore the house. But then strange stuff starts happening, scents appear; voices are heard over a recorder and a strange comic book is found in the attic. All of these things turn into a book that is about 75 percent realistic fiction, and 25 percent scary story, which in my opinion was just the right amount. The book delivers suspense while appropriate along with some beautifully done comic book style scenes as Denise and her new group of friends read the plot of the Lucida comic book found in the attic. The book had great side characters as well as a fun and typically cynical teenager who is just trying to make the best of her situation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    zapkode

    {My thoughts} – The cover of this book truly intrigued me. There’s a nice little surprise under the dust jacket, that you don’t usually find on hard covered books as well. When I first looked at the cover I was thinking that I was gonna be reading a horror book. I mean, at first glance it certainly seems like one. However, that isn’t all that this little gem is made up of, which makes it all the more brilliant in my opinion. When you first open the book you will notice that the page numbers are w {My thoughts} – The cover of this book truly intrigued me. There’s a nice little surprise under the dust jacket, that you don’t usually find on hard covered books as well. When I first looked at the cover I was thinking that I was gonna be reading a horror book. I mean, at first glance it certainly seems like one. However, that isn’t all that this little gem is made up of, which makes it all the more brilliant in my opinion. When you first open the book you will notice that the page numbers are written in blue, so are the e-mails, text messages, written letters and all the illustrations have a fair amount of blue in them as well. They blue helps to pull you into the story of the book even more so then you’d think it would be able to at first. This book is one of those types that actually has a story written inside of a story, with a story that is being explained from the past. I really enjoy books like this because they help to keep the reader engaged as well as invested in the book. It’s content rating comes from it having some minor curse words within the pages, in the illustrations also show a gun and a knife. I feel it is important for parents to know these things if they are considering letting their younger child read the book. I really think that anyone that enjoys a little bit of horror with a bit of mystery involved will totally love this book. Let us not forget the added little comic spaced out between the pages! It helped to pull the entire story together nicely and helped to make it a brilliantly written book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Denise and her parents just moved back to New Orleans after spending years displaced after Hurricane Katrina. The plan is to renovate an old house, called Argonne House by some and "the nail house" by others, but Denise calls it "Agony House." She feels a presence in the house almost immediately, and with the help of annoying neighborhood kid Terry, she discovers spirit voices and an old comic book manuscript hidden in the attic. The comic book offers many clues as to what happened in that house Denise and her parents just moved back to New Orleans after spending years displaced after Hurricane Katrina. The plan is to renovate an old house, called Argonne House by some and "the nail house" by others, but Denise calls it "Agony House." She feels a presence in the house almost immediately, and with the help of annoying neighborhood kid Terry, she discovers spirit voices and an old comic book manuscript hidden in the attic. The comic book offers many clues as to what happened in that house, and why the spirits there seem to want to do them harm. I had thought there would be more of a graphic novel element to this story (read: more pictures, less words). The story and the comic did work well together, and it was cool to learn about things like the CCA (Comics Code Authority) that censored comics for many decades. While I didn't necessarily find this story "scary" I did enjoy the resolution and how the mystery was solved, and the characters were well-rounded. I feel like the layout of the book could have been better, and I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't a scarier story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shanon

    While I did not regret reading this book, overall, I don't think it will be memorable for me. This book had a bunch of great ideas behind it--but I am not sure if it successfully achieves any of them. I loved the concept of switching back and forth between written novel and graphic novel, but as you read the story, the graphic novel parts are too short to leave much an impact (let alone feel like the protagonists would actually spend 30 minutes to read 2 pages of a comic--as suggested in the sto While I did not regret reading this book, overall, I don't think it will be memorable for me. This book had a bunch of great ideas behind it--but I am not sure if it successfully achieves any of them. I loved the concept of switching back and forth between written novel and graphic novel, but as you read the story, the graphic novel parts are too short to leave much an impact (let alone feel like the protagonists would actually spend 30 minutes to read 2 pages of a comic--as suggested in the story). I was drawn to the story of a haunted house in New Orleans, and I enjoyed the dialogue that was had about the communities left behind in post Hurricane Katrina. Connecting the two versions of "haunted places" would make a strong read--but again, the central plot revolving around the dead author took away from that story and left both themes from being fully explored in the narrative. That being said, while on its own, I don't think this book holds weight, I think it might work well for group discussion. Dialogue on race, gender, economic backgrounds, and legacy are all intersected throughout this tale, which might make for interesting conversations.

  21. 5 out of 5

    bjneary

    Just as I loved Cherie Priest's book, I Am Princess X, The Agony House was such a great read-part horror, part mystery, containing graphic novel portions and blue font for texting each other and hearing what the ghosts have to say. Denise, her mom and stepdad, have returned to New Orleans after fleeing during Katrina (losing her father and grandmother) and move into a haunted house Denise renames as Agony House. I just loved the fear Priest writes into this story and the characters. Denise makes Just as I loved Cherie Priest's book, I Am Princess X, The Agony House was such a great read-part horror, part mystery, containing graphic novel portions and blue font for texting each other and hearing what the ghosts have to say. Denise, her mom and stepdad, have returned to New Orleans after fleeing during Katrina (losing her father and grandmother) and move into a haunted house Denise renames as Agony House. I just loved the fear Priest writes into this story and the characters. Denise makes new friends who school her in what it is like to still be a native in New Orleans, and Denise's observations of the many shortcomings of this home and their venture to make it a bed n breakfast, endows the reader with the "real" situation of what Denise has walked into - as she explores, listens to the stories about ghosts, and unearths a comic with a kick ass female heroine---readers will not be able to stop turning the pages. I loved the comic book - Lucida Might Denise finds and as it raises lots of questions, Denise and her friends search for clues, answers, anything to explain why this house has become hazardous---is someone trying to scare them away, tell them something? Teens will love the blending of novel and comics, Priest is the queen of this format, I want more!!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Denise, her mom and stepdad have moved back to New Orleans, bought a dilapidated house and are beginning work on restoring it with an dream of making it a B&B. Senior Denise misses her Houston friends and is more than a bit overwhelmed by the move and the condition of the house. She starts to hear odd noises, smell the whiff of roses and see some odd things. As she makes some local friends, she learns the house has a sinister history. Denise finds a hidden comic written many years ago. Then, Denise, her mom and stepdad have moved back to New Orleans, bought a dilapidated house and are beginning work on restoring it with an dream of making it a B&B. Senior Denise misses her Houston friends and is more than a bit overwhelmed by the move and the condition of the house. She starts to hear odd noises, smell the whiff of roses and see some odd things. As she makes some local friends, she learns the house has a sinister history. Denise finds a hidden comic written many years ago. Then, things start to get dangerous! Hang onto your hats! This is a wild, fun and ghostly ride. Priest mixes graphic illustrations, text messages and some fascinating history of the comic book industry into this suspenseful and compulsive tale. Great sympathetic characters, and an interesting take on New Orleans AFTER the storm make this more than just a ghost story. Get a lot of copies! This one is going to fly off the shelves.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tommy

    It's funny the little things you latch onto in a book...at one point, one character notes that another doesn't have a lick of sense. It's a minor turn of phrase, but one that's been bandied about in my family for years, and for good reason. I can't say for certain that I've never seen it before in something I've been reading, but this was the first time I noted it. I dig anybody who can write the South without wandering into parody. I've not read nearly as much young adult fiction as I have southe It's funny the little things you latch onto in a book...at one point, one character notes that another doesn't have a lick of sense. It's a minor turn of phrase, but one that's been bandied about in my family for years, and for good reason. I can't say for certain that I've never seen it before in something I've been reading, but this was the first time I noted it. I dig anybody who can write the South without wandering into parody. I've not read nearly as much young adult fiction as I have southern fiction, but I'm increasingly awed by somebody who can write dialog for young characters and not have it sound like a reach. The story itself starts slowly...almost a little too slowly, and I almost put it down. I recommend sticking with....it turns into a nice romp, with a nice twist. Plus, somebody manages to make the CCA into a pertinent plot point. Kudos for that.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Missy Ghoul

    I really enjoyed this book! The combination of the creepy haunted house story of Denise and her parents moving in to the old house in NOLA mixed with the Lucinda Might comic she finds in the attic is so well put together. I love how the comic is so important to the plot, the characters and the mystery. The artwork is also very well done. By the last half of the book, I couldn't put it down. The action and danger ramps up to a satisfying conclusion. I actually couldn't wait to go back to finish i I really enjoyed this book! The combination of the creepy haunted house story of Denise and her parents moving in to the old house in NOLA mixed with the Lucinda Might comic she finds in the attic is so well put together. I love how the comic is so important to the plot, the characters and the mystery. The artwork is also very well done. By the last half of the book, I couldn't put it down. The action and danger ramps up to a satisfying conclusion. I actually couldn't wait to go back to finish it today when I had to leave for the real world!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    Thoroughly enjoyed this YA book. Though main character is age 17, summer between junior/senior year, this is aimed as a scary ghost haunted house story for grades 7-9. Girl, her mother and step father move back to Louisiana long after Katrina. Plan is to fix up an ugly “craphole” of a house and turn it into a B&B. But everything keeps going wrong and Denise finds an old comic manuscript that seems tied to the potentially paranormal happenings at the house. Excellent inclusion of the Storm af Thoroughly enjoyed this YA book. Though main character is age 17, summer between junior/senior year, this is aimed as a scary ghost haunted house story for grades 7-9. Girl, her mother and step father move back to Louisiana long after Katrina. Plan is to fix up an ugly “craphole” of a house and turn it into a B&B. But everything keeps going wrong and Denise finds an old comic manuscript that seems tied to the potentially paranormal happenings at the house. Excellent inclusion of the Storm after effects of scattering family, gentrification of NOLA homes, fair wages, community, etc.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    This was really tough for me to get into. The first 15% of the book details the house renovations needed and, as I have already helped build a house from the ground up, I was not feeling it. But once it got into the ghostie bits and the mystery of Joe Vaughn, I was sold on it. The blue and black color scheme helped too! Overall, it wasn't a bad book and I loved the integration of the graphic novel with it and the sheer utter experience of seeing that final page of the comic book. There's also an This was really tough for me to get into. The first 15% of the book details the house renovations needed and, as I have already helped build a house from the ground up, I was not feeling it. But once it got into the ghostie bits and the mystery of Joe Vaughn, I was sold on it. The blue and black color scheme helped too! Overall, it wasn't a bad book and I loved the integration of the graphic novel with it and the sheer utter experience of seeing that final page of the comic book. There's also an excellent conversation about gentrification that occurs throughout the book that I loved.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Hill

    A hybrid of text and graphic novel. Denise has just moved back to New Orleans with her mom and step-dad. They are planning on fixing up an old, dilapidated house into a bed and breakfast, but the neighborhood is not exactly welcoming. Weird things start to happen in the house, unexplained things and Denise begins to research what happened in the house and learns a famous author died there. She begins to realize there are TWO spirits, one that is EVIL and one who is trying to help her. If you lik A hybrid of text and graphic novel. Denise has just moved back to New Orleans with her mom and step-dad. They are planning on fixing up an old, dilapidated house into a bed and breakfast, but the neighborhood is not exactly welcoming. Weird things start to happen in the house, unexplained things and Denise begins to research what happened in the house and learns a famous author died there. She begins to realize there are TWO spirits, one that is EVIL and one who is trying to help her. If you like ghost stories, this is the book for you! I could not put it down.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I got to the 200 page mark and I was CERTAIN there was no way for this book to wrap up satisfactorily by the end, but I was wrong. The beginning was a pretty slow build without being boring at all, and while the ending happened really fast, I didn't feel that the pacing was off. Just that it was fast and frenetic, which suited the story. Skews older than I Am Princess X, but still appropriate for junior high kids -- nothing gross or super scary, just frequent uses of very very mild language. App I got to the 200 page mark and I was CERTAIN there was no way for this book to wrap up satisfactorily by the end, but I was wrong. The beginning was a pretty slow build without being boring at all, and while the ending happened really fast, I didn't feel that the pacing was off. Just that it was fast and frenetic, which suited the story. Skews older than I Am Princess X, but still appropriate for junior high kids -- nothing gross or super scary, just frequent uses of very very mild language. Appreciated the casual not-preachy conversations about gentrification.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Despite the fact that I have read the author's first book, I somehow was expecting this to be a graphic novel - not a chapter book with interspersed graphic novel pages. When I opened it and saw text, I figured I would end up giving the book 3 stars. I ended up liking the story. I thought it brought in different elements of history well, ex. comic book codes, Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. I liked the building friendships in the story, and although I enjoy teen romances, I appreciated that Despite the fact that I have read the author's first book, I somehow was expecting this to be a graphic novel - not a chapter book with interspersed graphic novel pages. When I opened it and saw text, I figured I would end up giving the book 3 stars. I ended up liking the story. I thought it brought in different elements of history well, ex. comic book codes, Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath. I liked the building friendships in the story, and although I enjoy teen romances, I appreciated that there was no love story and especially no love triangle.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Engel Dreizehn

    Whoa! I blown away again just like "Princess X" which I considering this book to be a "spiritual successor" of. It had very fast paced action and intrigue abound all tightly woven...I did not see that ending coming! The supernatural elements was so light and subtle that it makes the reader wonder was that real or not? Plus the amazing comic-text hybrid makes the narrative every immersive and an enjoyable ride!

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