A House at the Bottom of the Lake is a novella about one creepy and magical first love. This was my first Josh Malerman book, I went to my library hoping to snag Bird Box his debut novel that’s still getting all kinds of buzz in the horror community, and soon to be a Sandra Bullock film on Netflix, but it was out. so I picked up his novella A House at the Bottom of the Lake, and man is the writing good. It reminded me of my first love the tension the apprehension. It starts off so sweet and ends up so messy, like most relationships. The theme is there through out this book of love and it’s many facets. Innocent love, complicated love, longing love, and messy love, there are other’s these are the ones that stuck out the most to me. This novel personifies the stages of love to creepy results.
The plot: James asks Amelia out on a date while working at his father’s hardware store. He doesn’t go for the the lame dinner and a movie, but instead he ask her for a canoe ride on the lake by his uncle’s place. The first date is filled with doubt and trepidation, but then they find a tunnel in the brush that leads to a secluded lake. In this lake they find a house at the bottom of the lake, it’s a big huge mansion like house with two storying and 7 bedrooms. This house is odd in that everything in the house is no effected by the water, the carpet looks new, chairs and plates are in there proper setting nothing floats in the house except clothes but they float different as filled by an invisible body. They make a pact no to tell anyone about the house, and never ask how or why this is happening. Like in love it’s best not to ask why or how, the problems start when they start questioning, but the question they should’ve asked is whose house is this?
What I liked: How this novel captures first love. The suspense when they explore the house I was with them not knowing what to expect. The tunnel and the house were described really well, and vivid. The supernatural worked. The theme of the stages of love really made this novel focused. Small chapters made this really hard to put down and added to the suspense. The ambiguous ending, I’m always not a fan of this but when it works like it did here, I spend the day thinking about what the ending meant to me, then it’s a good one. the last ambiguous ending I read I felt let down by was Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, so not aways effective by me. The cover is very well done, and really captures the book.
What I disliked: There’s very little outside relationships, I wanted to see how friendships were effected by the relationship. I wanted a little bit more of the supernatural element. When did they refill up on oxygen? I could have seen more reaction on people outside of the relationship. That’s just minor stuff this book worked for me.
Recommendation: I would recommend this to fans of horror and supernatural. It deals with kids that are 17 years old but would not call it Young Adult because of Language and sex, but on saying that I think it is an important book they way it looks at young love. I would recommend it to 16 and up. I looked at some of my fellow reviewers thoughts and this book is going to be pretty divided. I struggled between a four and a five star review, and ultimately settled with a 5 out of 5. This does increase my anticipation for Bird Box and other titles by Josh Malerman.