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The House at 758 – Book review

The House at 758 by Kathryn Berla.
(To be published in October 2017).

Krista is still struggling with the death of her mother while her father seems to have moved on already. Her father’s new girlfriend Marie has moved into their house and her new stepbrother Chad and stepsister Emma stay with them every other weekend.
Yet Krista can’t get back to normal life. Instead she feels depressed and she keeps getting drawn to ‘the house at 758’.

Krista goes to the house at 758 a lot and sits outside the house in her car and just watches. So why is the house so important to her? That’s the question that’s there from the beginning of the book and it’s basically what the entire story revolves around.
Soon, it’s quite easy for the reader to connect a few dots (between what’s in the dialogue between Krista and her father, Krista’s grief, and the ‘him’ she hopes to see at the house at 758) and guess why this house, or rather the ‘him’ that lives there, is of importance.

It takes rather a long time for this reason to be revealed though, and since it was a little predictable and it was dragged out for so long, the big reveal was a bit disappointing. This mystery simply wasn’t as compelling as it could have been.

However, throughout the story there are a few hints that there’s more to the story about Krista’s grief. Certain ways of phrasing or word choices (hint: the use of plural instead of singular) give a clue as to what you, the reader, are not being told. This big reveal was much more gratifying, mostly because the hints were so subtle.

Krista’s character development is great. I made a note about her while reading chapter 4 that says: “Sulky, cocky teenager. Insufferable. So far, I do not like her one bit.”
She’s simply annoying in the first few chapters. Of course she’s having a hard time grieving the death of her mother and dealing with her father’s new girlfriend, but often she comes across as very self-absorbed and whiny. There’s only so much that her grief can excuse.
Fortunately, in later chapters, you learn more about Krista’s struggles (what she’s feeling and how she thinks other people see her) and it gets easier to sympathise with her.
The introduction of love interest Jake and the introduction of grandpa also have a good effect on Krista’s development and with that also on the development of the story as a whole.

There are also a few quotes in this book that are brilliant. For instance, Krista’s thoughts about how life is like a silent movie, and grandpa’s analogy between adding ingredients to soup and adding to your life.

Overall, it’s a good story. The first third of the book is slow-paced and a bit dull, but Krista’s character development and the introduction of Jake and Krista’s grandpa speed things up a little and make the story much more compelling.

4 out of 5 stars.

Note: I received a free e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own and completely unbiased.

This review can also be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2052423402

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