Release Date: October 1st, 2012 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Details: 368 pages, hardcover
Genre: Young Adult > Paranormal > Ghosts
Source: NetGalley (Thank you NetGalley & Publisher!)
"I was sixteen the first time my grandmother died . . ."
Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that's been in her family for three centuries. She's never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she's never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.
But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds--and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house's past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house's secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.
Within the first 37% SO MUCH HAPPENS. Like, it's a roller coaster of things. Just one dip after another. After another! It really makes it impossible to put this book down.
Sarah is a pretty simple girl. She's like one of the guys (which I liked) and she has a really close relationship with her younger brother as well as her dad even though her parents are separated. She along with her brother are forced to Maryland with her mother to attend her grandmother's funeral and settle things with the Amber House which apparently has been in the family forever but Sarah has never even seen it until now.
I liked Sarah. She seemed pretty normal. I liked that she was a normal 15 year old just trying to find her way through her parents separation and being there for her brother. I loved her fierce loyalty to her brother. I'll admit, I wouldn't have the patience to deal with Sammy. I loved the relationship with her father, I'm always a sucker for a good father figure in stories. I also really liked Jackson. I always had a feeling something was off about him but I never had a bad feeling about him. He seemed like the perfect friend that Sarah needed while she was there.
I didn't like Sarah's mom. She seemed cold and cruel. She sort of reminded me of The Evil Queen in Once Upon A Time. Yeah, seriously. I even pictured her to look like her in my head lol. She never attempted to hear Sarah or Sammy out or even ask them about how they were doing or how they felt about things. She just went off DOING THINGS without really thinking, at all. She was conniving and fake. And her whole "play nice, but not too nice, if you know what I mean" card just straight up sickened me. Not everyone is out to use someone you crazy bat. I also didn't really like Richard. I mean he wasn't a bad guy, but he just rubbed me the wrong way. That's just my opinion though!
I loved the flashbacks. Piecing together the history of the Amber House. I loved all the secrets and lies and all the darkness that weighed down the house. It did make me mad that Sarah's mom didn't bother telling her anything about the house or about herself really, I just thought it was really strange. The only thing that really bothered me about the book was the ending. I didn't really understand it. I still don't think I really understand what was going on. I know it's a series, and I'm definitely going to pick up the next book. I just wish the ending could had been a little bit more clear.
Going into Amber House I was expecting a creepy read so I admit, I was kind-of, sort-of reading it between fingers (or more like with a side eye since you know, I needed my whole hand to hold my Kindle and all...) but overall, this book wasn't really scary. There was like, one scary part. Okay maybe two. But other than that, I found Amber House to be more fascinating than scary but still a delicious read for an October night!