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Amity Hardcover – August 26, 2014
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About the Author
Micol Ostow has been writing professionally since 2004, and in that time has written and/or ghostwritten over 40 published works for young readers. She started her reign of terror with Egmont with her novel family, which Elizabeth Burns named a favorite of 2012 on her School Library Journal-syndicated blog, A Chair, a Fireplace, a Tea Cozy. Micol's graphic novel, So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), was named a 2009 Booklist Top Ten Arts Books for Youth Selection, a Booklist Top Ten Religion Books for Youth Selection, and a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens. She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and currently teaches a popular young-adult writing workshop through MediaBistro.com.
She lives and works in New York City, alongside her Emmy Award-winning husband, their daughter, and a finicky French bulldog. Visit her at www.micolostow.com. The author lives in Brooklyn, NY.
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Top Customer Reviews
Connor and Gwen each have siblings they are close to, seemingly keeping them rooted in some sort of reality, at first. Connor is a sociopath with an anger management problem and far deeper, darker issues roiling under his surface. His twin sister, Jules, is the only thing in the world he has any feeling toward. He and his family arrive at Amity when his father – a shady businessman and an abusive drunk – attempts to escape yet another bad series of business deals.
Gwen’s family arrives at Amity looking for respite. Gwen has recently been hospitalized for a psychotic break, and the family just wants to start over. When Amity reveals herself to Gwen, her brother, Luke, attempts to stem the tide of what he initially believes is her breakdown, returning. Gwen’s Aunt Ro knows better, though. She may be portrayed at first as some sort of new age free spirit, we see Amity set to work on her, too.
Amity is alive, and she feeds on her occupants. She starts slowly, insidiously, but once she has her claws in you, you can’t escape.
There may be parallels drawn between Amity and the Amityville Horror – haunted house, violent history, even the eye-shaped windows of the home – but Amity stands very much on her own. Ms. Ostow builds a layered, compulsive tale – I couldn’t stop reading it – of growing horror with a shattering conclusion. Teens who grew up on the shock horror of films like Hostel and Saw need to sit down and read a good, old-fashioned, scare-the-pants-off-you haunted house story. Amity is that story.
In some ways, I felt as I went further into this book that it was an homage to Stephen King's the shining--the use of parentheses and italics frequently reminded me of the way that book was written.
I enjoyed parts of this book very much and other parts I didn't feel were very well explored. I never felt particularly close to any of the characters, but the story itself was interesting enough to keep reading.
In the end this was a book I was glad I had the opportunity to read, and I think those with a love of supernatural tales will appreciate the effort of the author.
This review is based on a complimentary copy from Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.
Amity features alternating point-of-view chapters, the first focused on child sociopath Connor, who moves into Amity with his family ten years before our second narrator, Gwen. Through their shared experiences, we uncover the secrets of the Amity house, yet its nothing new or exciting or horrifying. Most of the alternating chapters are simply regurgitating what the previous one touched upon. If we had seen it through a different angle, it would have made more sense. But we don’t. We see Connor having nightmares that wake him at 3:14am, we then see Gwen having nightmares at 3:14am. Connor sees a strange creature going into the boat house in the middle of the night. Following chapter, Gwen sees a strange creature going into the boat house in the middle of the night. There are differences between the narratives at times, but they are few and far between.
Then, there’s the horror, or lack of, in Amity. We hear about all of these things that have poisoned the earth at Amity, have created such a toxic and evil environment that it infects all of its inhabitants forever. But we never see it. The only “scary” things we see are the swarm of flies/wasps that attack on one occasion, the possible cryptid sighting, animal corpses, one attempted drowning, and one allusion to familicide. Yes, it’s meant to be a young adult book, but there is so much more that could be done within the confines of that age group that weren’t. The setting, which at first seemed ominous, just grew boring by the end of the first third of the book. Maybe young tweens might like the book and find it scary, but above twelve, I find it hard to believe readers haven’t been exposed to better horror in either literature or cinema.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Amity....it was too simple.Read more
Quick & Dirty: Amity was a disturbing novel that I couldn’t get through, though I think fans of horror will have more success.Read more