Joelene Reviews: Lily Blake's - "The House at the End of the Street"

the break-down of her parents’ marriage Elissa and her mum, Sarah, move to a new house away from the city for a fresh start. The house is beautiful; two storeys of polished wooden floors, expansive windows and elegant furniture. There’s just one catch; four years earlier in the creepy run-down house that Elissa can see from her windows, two people were murdered by their troubled daughter. And though she is said to be dead, her body was never found.

Settling in to the new house is not easy. Despite promises of a new beginning, Elissa’s mum goes back to her old ways, working late into the night at the hospital. The neighbours are judgemental, worrying more about appearances than basic human compassion; and Elissa’s dad has fallen out of contact all together. There is one glimmer of hope in all of the darkness though. Elissa meets Ryan, the only son of the murdered couple, and a boy who is sweet, caring and actually there. He is still living in the house his parents died in, trying to come to terms with the gravity of his loss. As he and Elissa establish a fragile connection, strange things begin to happen and she realises that the past may not have been laid to rest after all.

The House at the End of the Street is a film novelisation of the Jennifer Lawrence movie. It was written to accompany the movie and works well in conjunction with it. I watched the film at much the same time as I read the book so that I’d be able to contrast them. Both are light and enjoyable and, though only one is needed to get a sense of the storyline, reading and watching each will fill in gaps left by the other.

In this novel Lily Blake adds depth to the film’s emotional landscape without changing the atmosphere created by it. Character feelings and motivations are explored more thoroughly, as are their backgrounds. While Ryan remains largely a mysterious character in the film, in the book he has a well-developed sensitive side. Elissa too has a more well-rounded character in the books. She has a life back in Chicago and issues outside of Ryan and her mother.

It’s refreshing to read a book with a protagonist as independent as Elissa. She is strongly ethical but, beyond that, she comes across as a person rather than a character. Her relationship with her mother is rocky on the surface but strong at the core, she has a passion for music and, though she can be incredibly snoopy, it’s never unrealistic. The way she reacts to the danger going on around her is another point in her favour.

The fast pace builds to an unforgettable climax in House at the End of the Street. While the strong characterisation makes the story, you’re hooking yourself in for a plot-twister of a ride. Definitely a must read for fans of the film or anyone who enjoys a solid thriller.

The House at the End of the Street – Lily Blake

Atom (August 12, 2012)

ISBN: 9781907411991

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