Girl in the Walls by A.J. Gnuse is both haunting and full of heart. This is not a ghost story but a story of a girl who literally lives in the walls of her former home after tragedy strikes. She lives life trying to go unnoticed by the new family that lives there. The best part of this book is the descriptions, since the girl remains hidden she has to describes sound and only get glimpse, she paints a picture with descriptions. The novel goes in some interesting places, it does take a while to find it’s direction, but in the I was satisfied by the end. The climax is exciting and the villain is scary in a interesting way. I wanted more interaction between the girl and the family, and we don’t get enough flashbacks of the girls family. I thought the story was rather unique, but my emotional connection was lacking at times, where the girl is so guarded we rarely see what is in her head, other than being unnoticed and surviving. I did enjoy the theme of home is where the heart is, it’s the safe place. Thanks to Netgalley and Ecco publishing. The Girl in the Walls is published on May 11 2021.
The Plot: Elise lives in a house that is not hers, anymore. The Mason’s own the home she lives in. The Mason’s don’t know she live there, because she lives in the walls. She lives like a mouse scurrying around eating what she can and reading what she can. The house is here when they go to work and school. She does not leave the house. Eddie the youngest Mason can feel her presence, he doesn’t know if she’s real or a ghost, he just wants her gone, and to stop taking his stuff. The trouble starts when the older brother starts noticing, and is more proactive about it.
What I Liked: The uniqueness of the story, it blends the line of is she a ghost or not for the first couple of pages. It was a beautiful story of a house and it’s meaning, but it’s also a creepy story for a home owner, it made me think of the horror movie the People Under the Stairs. I liked the brother Eddie, it didn’t say he was exactly autistic but definitely in the spectrum, he senses the girl and protects her as well as puts an ode to her in his legos. The descriptions at the beginning when Eddie has a piano lesson was so good. The villain is terrifying as he fights his childhood fears that there was someone in his house, and he’s determined to find what goes bump in the night. I liked the stuff about Odin, Thor and Loki.
What I Disliked: The ending initial ending was good, then we get two more that were unnecessary because they didn’t provide any information, if you show the girl when she was older, but don’t tell anything about her past life or current really. I was left with more questions than answers with the first I was satisfied. We don’t see enough into Elise’s mind, we don’t get her thoughts on much I had a hard time connecting to her. I could feel for her circumstance but not for her as a person.
Recommendation: I will barely recommend this for the young adult audience it was made for, but as an adult I respected the unique story line but not the character development. I found some parts beautiful, but so of it just pain boring as nothing happened and developed. I rated Girl in the Walls by A. J. Gnuse 3 out of 5 stars.