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Starter House: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (December 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062283057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062283054
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lacey viscerally wanted the house. This house was where the child growing inside her would be happy, a place where Lacey could put down roots after a lifetime of transient living. The real-estate agent warned Lacey and her husband, Eric, that people had died inside years go, but the couple would not be swayed. Soon, though, Lacey is plagued with the nagging feeling she’s made a grave mistake. The house she wanted so badly doesn’t want her. Then there is Drew, the tattered boy who rides his bicycle back and forth in front of the house whenever Lacey is alone inside. A former teacher, she is drawn to his troubles and strikes up a friendship, only to realize there is something terribly wrong with him. If this novel were a movie, you could close your eyes to save yourself from its scariest parts, but it is a book and its haunting elements are inescapable. A promising start by a new author, this will appeal to those looking for a disturbing story. --Alison Downs

Review

“[a] stylish debut novel” (Publishers Weekly)

“If this novel were a movie, you could close your eyes to save yourself from its scariest parts, but it is a book and its haunting elements are inescapable. A promising start by a new author, this will appeal to those looking for a disturbing story.” (Booklist)

“Good, scary fun, packed with emotional nuance” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Beautifully written in luminous prose, Starter House kept me up late at night with its disturbing, tangled tale of childhood and what it means to be a parent. Despite the darkness, Condit’s prose has so much heart and emotion, [...] I couldn’t put it down.” (Yangsze Choo, author of THE GHOST BRIDE)

“A creepy creepy book that I am so thankful that I did not start reading until many months after buying my first house! [...] The book definitely takes some risks and thankfully the pacing was superb, so it made the book hard to put down!” (Kritters Ramblings)

“Sonja Condit’s debut is a poetic and chilling read! The perfect blend of creepy suspense and lyrical prose, I feel Starter House is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy literary fiction as well as the darker stuff.” (No More Grumpy Bookseller)

“The tone of Starter House was foreboding, and had me wishing I only stuck to reading it during daytime hours. [...] I would definitely add the Starter House to your TBR list for Halloween this year, it would be a perfect creepy read for the month of October!” (BoundbyWords)

“I could easily see this book as a movie, and I highly recommend Starter House to anyone who wants a change from the usual haunted house genre.” (Sweet Southern Home blog)

“a great creepy and gothic read that will keep you reading with a flashlight under the covers late into the night!” (Book Addict Katie)

More About the Author

Sonja Condit received her MFA from Converse College, where she studied with Robert Olmstead, Leslie Pietrzyk, R. T. Smith, and Marlin Barton. Her short fiction has appeared in Shenandoah magazine, among other publications. She plays principal bassoon in the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Anderson Musical Arts Consortium. She teaches at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities.

Customer Reviews

Ms. Condit is very skillful in her character development.
K. B.
I have read books that grabbed me and kept me going all the way through, this was not one of them.
Darla Mcgranaghan
Lacey, the main character, is likable enough, but I thought her husband was a bit of a tool.
G. Kellner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Karin Gillespie on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
I love ghost stories but you don't see enough of them these days, especially one as beautifully written as this novel. "Starter House" is about a young pregnant woman who moves into her dream house only to discover it's filled with disturbing presences. It reminded me a lot of 'The Thirteenth Tale," one of my all-time favorite novels. I stayed up late in the night, turning pages, wondering how "Starter House was all going to come out. Condit is a wonderfully inventive writer and I look forward to seeing more from her.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Russell VINE VOICE on December 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Disclaimer: I know Sonja and read a very small part of this novel in workshop several years ago, and was glad to read the rest of the story, so to speak.

Lacey Mizlack, an elementary school teacher, and her husband, Eric,a lawyer, need to find a house. Lacey is three months pregnant and wants a home for their family. She had an unstable childhood and it's important to her that her child has a home. After an extensive search, Lacey finds a Cape Cod fixer-upper she must have. Eric isn't so sure he wants to take on the project. Their realtor, CarolAnna doesn't want them to buy this house because people have died in that house. When the owner, and next door neighbor, Harry Rakoczy introduces himself, CarolAnna and her objections are shunted to the side. Seven weeks later, Eric and Lacey are moving in, and Lacey's nightmare begins.

The first sense something about the house is off is on moving day, when Lacey is carrying a box of dishes into the house and is challenged by a small boy on a bike, riding along the sidewalk in front of their house, stopping at the property line on each side before turning around and riding back the other way, ringing his bell each time he stops. When he pedals in front of Lacey, she drops the box when the boy's shoulder brushes it, and she hears the dishes break when the box hits the ground. Eric opens the box and is upset at the amount of damage. Lacey is surprised at the amount of damage; it seems excessive for one drop. Eric doesn't mention the boy at all--because Eric doesn't see him, only Lacey.

The little boy's name is Drew and only Lacey can see him. Drew reminds her of the troubled boys she used to teach, and she's determined to help him the way she helped her students.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Obsidian Blue VINE VOICE on January 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I selected this book because the synopsis intrigued me and I remember reading "The House Next Door" by Anne Rivers Siddons and "The Shining" by Stephen King as a teenager and being freaked out for days after finishing those books. "Starter House" had a great premise and started off very strong but I ended up not caring at all for the ending or main characters which makes it hard to rate this novel above two stars.

The plot revolves around a married couple, Lacey and Eric who are looking to buy their first home. Lacey and Eric are expecting a baby and she wants to be settled in a house before the baby is born. They come across a home that needs work but promptly buy it since Lacey is so intrigued and feels an instant connection to the house. After moving in the couple start interacting with a little boy who comes out of nowhere who starts causing problems around the house.

I thought the set-up was very good. Ms. Condit has a way with words and I have to say that she managed to grip me almost immediately as I started reading this book. However, I didn't feel scared or uneasy as I did while reading Mr. King's and Ms. Siddon's novels. I think if you are going to write a ghost story it doesn't have to be all bloodshed and mayhem but there at least should be some scary moments included in it or something that makes you afraid for the main protagonists.

Also the way that the characters Eric and Lacey were written did not make me want to root for them to get out of harm's way. As it was Eric was an non-entity throughout the novel and I couldn't warm up to Lacey.

Finally, about halfway through I found myself getting bored with the story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Laurel-Rain Snow "Rain" TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Eric and Lacey are having their first baby, and the house hunt has been long and grueling. After the childhood Lacey had, moving around all the time and sometimes living in the car, she has been looking forward to finally having just the right home.

When she sees the dusty rose Cape Cod in the neighborhood they have selected, she is ecstatic. Yes, it is a fixer-upper, but she can visualize it when completed.

So they move in. But unfortunately, things are not going the way they'd hoped. Somewhere in the house is a malevolent presence. It shows itself as a nine-year-old boy named Drew, demanding and jealous, reminding Lacey of the "noisy boys" she used to teach. She thinks she can somehow persuade him to leave her alone. None of it is working.

Meanwhile, Eric works long hours and Lacey is alone a lot. Eric is not very supportive, so she feels more and more isolated.

Starter House: A Novel is a story about mysterious and deadly secrets, and how the beautiful cottage has been the scene of loss and horror. Trying to unravel the stories of the house, Lacey hopes to find peace at last.

But what must happen before the presence leaves them alone? Will Drew leave them alone if they vacate the house? Or will he follow? What does he want?

This was a story that I had a hard time liking, but I kept turning those pages, because I wanted to know what would happen. I did not like Eric, who seemed like a controlling and somewhat whiny man who blamed others for his problems. And Lacey was entirely too patient with Drew...almost wimpy. But who is to know how to handle these paranormal nightmares? I was relieved when the book ended, although I thought the conclusion wrapped up a little too neatly. 3.5 stars.
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