Monday, 1 May 2017

Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne

Still Waters

Series: N/A
Author: Emma Carlson Berne
Page Count: 212
Published: December 20th, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
  3.5 Stars ★★★

Hannah has planned a secret trip to her boyfriend's family's lake house. She's hoping that having time alone with him will give her the courage to say that she loves him, and that they can spend some romantic time together before he leaves for college. But her boyfriend, Colin's, reaction to her surprise is less than enthusiastic. He starts to act uncomfortable and unsure, and Hannah becomes more and more worried as they drive to the mysterious lake house. 

When they arrive, it doesn't take long for Colin to start acting like another person entirely. Surrounded by eerie wilderness, with the nearest town almost a ghost town, Hannah wonders if she should fear for her safety. One thing's for certain... this trip is not turning out as she had planned. 

I love creepy books! The synopsis of this story made it seem similar to some kind of horror movie, with the haunted cabin in the woods, or the crazy murderer hiding in an abandoned building, waiting for naive teens to come along and act as prey. I made little theories on what would happen before I even opened the book. My theories didn't really come close to the actual conclusion of the book, which to be perfectly honest, I found a little bit disappointing. 

So first, a few good things about this book. I liked the characters. I liked Hannah, and while she wasn't the smartest at times, I thought she made the book seem a bit more realistic. In such a scary situation, nobody is going to be absolutely at their best, their minds are going to be running wild, they're going to be panicking. So, when she screwed up or made a less-than-stellar choice, I actually liked it because it made her seem more real, more like a person I could meet walking down the street than a super-intelligent, always prepared, basically fantasy-based person, that I read about in a lot of other books. 

I also think that the author did an amazing job with the descriptions. Descriptions of the settings, in particular, were very well done. The creepy atmosphere was conveyed effectively and added to the mysterious and sinister feel of the book, including descriptions of the almost ghost town near the lake house, the forest, and the lake house itself. 

I did have some problems with the book. First of all, the whole ghost town thing? While I thought it was interesting, it didn't really serve much of a purpose in the book other than to provide a creepy atmosphere. I kept waiting to find out how the town would connect to the story overall, but there didn't seem to be a truly important connection. This was kind of disappointing. 

I also had issues with the explanation behind Colin's behavior. I can't say much without spoiling it, but I will say that the way that past events had been covered up seemed a bit convenient, almost too easy. Colin's condition was explained way too easily in the end, and the idea that things could go back to normal, or what seemed like normal, so quickly just didn't make sense to me. 

Altogether, this was a story with a creepy atmosphere and an interesting mystery. While I had some issues with the ending and the importance of some of the settings, I liked that the main character seemed realistic and I enjoyed the descriptions of the settings. 

I recommend this to those looking for young adult thrillers. If you're interested in a short book with a creepy atmosphere, this book is for you.

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