I’ve been reading more spooky books this year than I have any year before, and I’m glad that a few of them have been for review. Though this is a book that I’d have definitely picked up for myself. This is a fun but creepy-sounding horror novel set on a deserted island in a historical lighthouse. It gave me reminders of watching the St Augustine lighthouse episode of Buzzfeed Unsolved, and I easily read this in a single night. Thanks so much to Little Tiger for sending me a copy of this one.
Jess and Rosie are stuck visiting a remote Scottish island with their Dad’s new family for a summer. But from the start, they can tell that something is off about the lighthouse. Jess is counting the days until they can leave, until one day, Rosie disappears, and no one remembers her. Now she can’t leave until her sister is back but trying to find her could put her in more danger.
The back of the book says not for younger readers, and I’m not sure why that is. But the book gets pretty dark and gruesome. There are scenes showing people falling off lighthouses, birds pecking people to death, and even eels attacking people inside. It’s pretty unpleasant in places, but I think I’d have been comfortable reading this as a young teen. Still, that’s part of what makes this book so enjoyable. It wasn’t scary per se, but it definitely had horror film vibes. So many horror books don’t match those vibes, but this one? Oooh, it really did.
I’m tempted to pick up some of Bell’s other horror books.
In some ways, this book was a little predictable – again harking back to the horror movie vibes – but there was a twist right at the end. One I didn’t see coming. Though looking back, there were definitely hints. It was so cleverly done but made me feel kind of sad. I hope the characters really do go back to fix things.
There isn’t any romance in this book, though Jess does meet a guy called Will. They don’t know each other for very long, but you can easily just call them friends. Could they go further? Maybe but there’s no definitive answer either way. I like that. I’m definitely passing this book on to my sister, who prefers horror without romance, and I think she’ll really enjoy this one. It was such an enthralling read, and it really didn’t take me long to get through.
If you’re someone who struggles with difficult family relationships in books, this might be a hard one. But I understood it. I know what it feels like to have a parent you barely see who doesn’t really know your interests. You still love them, but it’s difficult sometimes. But like…I wish Jess and Rosie had been a little closer to Charlie. It’s not his fault he’s only their half-brother, and they call him their brother but yeah…I’d have liked it if they were a little closer. Still…Charlie was a cute kid.
But also…creepy kid horror. So freaky.
This was such an enjoyable read, and I’m definitely recommending it to people who love YA horror.
Title: The Lighthouse
Author: Alex Bell
Age Range: Young Adult
Publisher: Little Tiger
Release Date: Out Now