MY REVIEW 3 stars:
Before you get too off-put by my rating, just know that Ania Ahlborn is right up there in my top few favorite horror authors. I absolutely love her writing style and her one of a kind stories. She has more talent in her pinky finger than many writers can even dream of. My all time favorite of her works is (still) Brother, and possibly the reason why this particular book didn’t crawl up under my skin and fester like I was hoping it would. Brother did just that, and If You See Her (to me) fell short.
A haunted house, the worst of its kind, sits looming in its ominous solidarity, down a dirt road outside of a fairly small town. It’s a place that teens are drawn to, and it has a good reason for its bad rep. People die, suicide in fact, and everyone around them never say it coming. Jesse and two of his drunken rambunctious friends go to the house, and the worst kind of tragedy strikes. One friend falls to his death from a high up floor, and it’s ultimately ruled as a suicide. Only Casey and Jesse clearly suspect different. Years pass, 19 to be exact. The house is now scheduled to be demolished and Casey talks Jesse into going back for the sake of closure. Tragedy strikes again, and Casey winds up hanging himself from the third floor.
Things aren’t quite as simple as one may think. You see, there’s a girl in that house, a ghost girl and once you see her, you’re basically screwed. Jesse is now the last of his three friends living and he’s haunted by the vision of this girl. He starts watching videos that Casey filled before his demise, videos that he shot at the very house that claimed his life. There’s an image, if only a flash, of the girl. Jesse obsessed, much like his friends had. His drinking spirals, his wife is teetering the edge of giving up on him, and his job is on the line. The dark thoughts, nightmares, and downfallen health consumes him.
I don’t want to tell more, because I don’t want to give anything away. Luckily the ending is great, which was really needed because the majority of the book was a bit too slow paced and detached for my taste. 3 stars.
The house on Old Mill Road has stood in an open field for longer than Jesse Wells has been alive, its crooked windows and jutting turret tormenting the kids of Warsaw, Michigan the way only a haunted house knows how. Everyone imagines that something terrible lurks within the house’s abandoned rooms—especially Jesse and his two closest friends, Casey and Reed. But when Reed chooses the house as a backdrop for his own suicide, childhood ghost stories are transformed into a nightmare that sends Jesse into a downward spiral of grief.
Nearly twenty years later, Jesse stands on the collapsing steps of the house that snatched away his best friend. Casey has asked him to revisit their old demons, if only to help them find closure that’s long overdue. But tragedy finds them once more, and Jesse is left forever changed.
Now, left to cope with the disaster that had become his life, Jesse must unravel the mystery behind the house that has terrified him since he was a boy. To fail is to lose everything he has left. But success might come at an even a higher price.