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Penpal [Kindle Edition]

Dathan Auerbach
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (648 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $4.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $9.99
Kindle Price: $4.01
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Kindle Edition $4.01  
Paperback $9.99  
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Book Description

Penpal began as a series of short and interconnected stories posted on an online horror forum. Before long, it was adapted into illustrations, audio recordings, and short films; and that was before it was revised and expanded into a novel!

How much do you remember about your childhood?

In Penpal, a man investigates the seemingly unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific occurrences of his childhood in an attempt to finally understand them. Beginning with only fragments of his earliest years, you'll follow the narrator as he discovers that these strange and horrible events are actually part of a single terrifying story that has shaped the entirety of his life and the lives of those around him. If you've ever stayed in the woods just a little too long after dark, if you've ever had the feeling that someone or something was trying to hurt you, if you remember the first friend you ever made and how strong that bond was, then Penpal is a story that you won't soon forget, despite how you might try.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In an attempt to make sense of his own mysterious and unsettling childhood memories, a man begins to reconstruct his past. As the games and adventures of his youth become engulfed by a larger story, he finds that it forms a tapestry of unbelievable horror that he never could have expected.

Each chapter completes a different piece of the puzzle for both you and the narrator, and by the end of it all, you will wish that you could forget what he never knew.

Product Details

  • File Size: 985 KB
  • Print Length: 254 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 098554550X
  • Publisher: 1000Vultures (August 12, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,501 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
189 of 201 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Rollercoaster Ride August 15, 2012
By PanDi
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first read it on Reddit, and it just captured my attention to the point where I forgot my surroundings and it was as if I had become part of the strory itself. I was unable to turn away, I needed to know more and once I did.... it was as if the whole world just shattered.
There is a quote "That moment when you finish a book, look around, and realize that everyone is just carrying on with their lives as though you didn't just experience emotional trauma at the hands of a paperback." That is ecactly how I felt when I read this, it's such amazing story telling.
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104 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Haunting! August 15, 2012
By Annie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I first read this on Reddit, I was completely blown away and very creeped out by this short-story online series. And now that it has turned into a novel, I can't wait to read it over and over again. Dathan, you are a very talented writer and we are all so happy that you really did turn this into a novel.

This is definitely a must read for all, just be prepared to have nightmares afterwards ;)
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50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Read Before Bedtime November 10, 2012
REVIEW SUMMARY: A thoroughly creep debut novel that is sure to stick with you long after finishing.

MY RATING: 4 Stars

PROS: Uneasy, disturbing, psychological, traumatic, and paranoid-inducing.

CONS: Chronologically confusing, abrupt ending.

BOTTOM LINE: Auerbach took something with childish innocence and twisted into a haunting tale of obsession. I look forward watching Auerbach improve with future works that are bound to give me nightmares.

I love the horror film genre but I don't have a high opinion of it. My generation's horror films tend to be knock-offs of popular Asian movies or torture porn. I've never found slashers particularly scary, and as such I don't view the previous generation's iconic villains (Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, or Freddy Krueger) with much respect. I find the best horror to be the low-key, the mundane, and the psychological. For this reason I'm a big fan of The Blair Witch Project and I only wish I could have seen it in theaters when it was believed to be a true story. What brilliant marketing that was. The point of all this is that despite my infatuation with the genre I tend to avoid novels fitting under this category. It's one thing to spend an hour and a half laughing as college kids get hacked to pieces due to their own stupidity on the big screen. It's another thing to dedicate several hours to reading about it.

Penpal was recommended to me by Amazon. Given the short nature of the story (252 pages) and the multitudes of praise (123 reviews at the moment and a five-star rating) I decided it was a risk I was willing to take. Apparently Penpal was written on Reddit as a series of short stories and then compiled into novel format after a super successful Kickstarter campaign.
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83 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Works better online. August 26, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this story originally on reddit's section for "creepypasta", or scary stories written (usually anonymously) by internet users and posted publicly to read. It had first been published in parts corresponding to the chapters laid out in this book. When the author announced that he would be selling a hard copy of the story with additional material, I was ecstatic. In its original form, Penpal was one of the most unique and exciting horror stories I had read to date, accounting for both "amateur" and "professional" work. I was really impressed honestly and was thrilled to have a chance to keep the story in my permanent collection.

However, Auerbach's expanded edition may succeed in building upon the original work in word count, but his often rambling and incidental additions to the text actually diminishes the story overall. I found myself dragging through the work during sections that had originally captivated my attention online, and while I appreciated the honesty of the narrator's voice, Auerbach's writing skills are simply not strong enough to hold up under the pressure of sustaining the reader's attention during prolonged periods of relative inactivity for the main character.

The underlying plot is incredibly strong, the tension building and suspense is strong (but, I hate to say it again, much stronger in the original text) but the writing is actually fairly average. I actually found that the additions to the text showcased Auerbach's iffy writing ability and drew the reader's attention away from his strong points -- the aforementioned plotting ability and ability to shock and sustain the reader's interest. A sparser writing style really helped him and made him seem like a much stronger writer than he may actually be.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Creepy Scare August 15, 2012
By Kristin
I started reading this book in bed one night, thinking I would read for 30 minutes and then go to sleep. Around midnight I finally made myself put the book down. Around 1 am I made my husband go downstairs with a baseball bat to make sure there wasn't anyone down there. Without giving too much away, I would have to say that this is one of those stories that sticks with you. I just couldn't stop thinking about it. For days after finishing I would have moments of remembering key points followed by a new revelation. I recommended it to my mom and received a voicemail two days later saying only "I finished the book, call me so we can talk about it." She too was still putting the pieces together in her mind long after finishing (it is a pretty fast read). So, if you like mystery and creepy suspense, I highly recommend this book. One warning, you may never want to let your children leave your house again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars suspenseful read
I bought this book on a whim and had remembered the title in some list of the scariest books. I would give it 5 stars for suspense, I quite literally could not put it down and... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Xoandi816x
3.0 out of 5 stars If you read the Reddit Posts that this is based ...
If you read the Reddit Posts that this is based on then you've read the book. Buy it if you want to support the author, but I wouldn't buy it again knowing what I now know.
Published 7 days ago by Benjamin Demaree
5.0 out of 5 stars They are amazing and well told
Another reddit story turned book?!!! I'm so excited for these authors!! I first encountered Penpal on an episode of the No Sleep Podcast, which is basically an audiobook version of... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Laura Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth it
Fantastic read. The revisions and additions made it much better than it already was in its short story series. I would highly recommend this book.
Published 12 days ago by Zack
3.0 out of 5 stars really wanted to like this book
I really, really wanted to like this book. I loved the potential, but the ending wasn't nearly as shocking as I thought it would be. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Librarian - In- Training
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank God for Reddit, for popularizing this author's writing so that he can publish this book.
Published 13 days ago by Sam Ogden
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a bit predictable but still very well written book ...
It's a bit predictable but still very well written book. I had guessed what would happen but the details that were put in and the nonlinear story telling was sure to keep me... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Laura
4.0 out of 5 stars Penpal
I got my book a little beaten up, but everything else is amazing.
Published 18 days ago by Evan Parsons
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing book was never able to put it down
Published 20 days ago by Alex Greene
5.0 out of 5 stars A+
Engrossing, well-written, and downright creepy. I adore this book.
Published 20 days ago by Kristen Jennings
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More About the Author

Dathan Auerbach was born in the southern U.S. and has lived there for most of his life. In 2011, he began posting a series of stories to a forum dedicated to horror. After a KickStarter that raised over 1000% of its goal, he was able to release the revised and expanded versions of his story as the novel "Penpal."

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Topic From this Discussion
Penpal by Dathan Huerbatch
It was hard to make out on the kindle edition but the note is a complaint filed to the sheriff by his mom, I believe. I don't want to give it away, so you can imagine who the complaint is about.
Mar 13, 2013 by Evan Lavine |  See all 2 posts
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