*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and to Zoé of Zooloo’s Book Tours (who in this instance are one and the same person!). The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: The only thing for certain is the deaths were no accident.
Rayner High School once a prestigious school stands in ruins after such a terrible event.
A year later, a group of friends return to the abandoned school and their nightmare begins.
Something wants to get out and won’t take NO for an answer…
I cannot tell you how excited I was to hear that Question Mark Press were bringing out their own Question Mark Horror series – I was such as massive fan of the old Point Horror books, as you’ll know if you were following the Nostalgi-AAARGH! reviews with fellow blogger Zoé-Lee O’Farrell.
Does that name sound familiar?! Yes, Zoé has channelled her love of all things YA horror into the book I am reviewing for you right now… and it’s a keep-you-up-all-nighter!
With the classic teen/YA horror setting of a group of friends looking for unwise, creepy adventure thrills, Ouija follows Lara, Caley, Sophie, Simon, Ben and Jon as they break into the old school, where very bad things once happened. Rumoured to be haunted after the horrific deaths that occurred there years earlier, the deserted building strikes the teens as ideal for an Ouija board séance session… until someone – or something – actually responds.
The author gives a nod to classic horror tales like The Exorcist, while bringing things up to date, with the friends messaging each other in text-speak and Googling how to rid themselves of evil spirits. The result is a fun, easy horror read, that had me unable to stop turning pages, reading well into the night and then scaring myself silly when a moth dive-bombed me on a toilet break!
I enjoyed the characterisations, which were well-developed, rather than the simple stereotypes that used to be used in older books of the same genre (the Jock, the Nerd, the Cheerleader). O’Farrell avoids giving her six teens labels, yet still makes them quickly distinct from each other in dialogue and actions, as well as appearances.
The plot is nicely-paced between the adrenaline scares and the ominous periods of waiting, which ratchet up the reader tension as they wait for the next attack. There is blood and violence here, but most of the vicious actions happen off-screen, so we see the aftermath and hear the screaming, but avoid the gratuitous gory details – ideal for younger horror readers. Similarly, the teenage ‘hormonal’ action is restricted to some snogging and a bit of light petting (above the belt).
If you’re a teen/YA looking for a scary treat, or an adult who loved the old Goosebumps/Point Horror books and want a taste of that old nostalgi-AAARGH! (see what I did there!), then this is the book and the series for you. I was thoroughly hooked in and will NEED to collect the whole series, naturally.
I’ll be back reviewing Camp Death by Jim Ody, from the same series (but all standalone) next week. In the meantime, happy reading and… what’s that, behind you… in the mirror…?!
Simon felt something move behind him. His nerve endings were sending urgent messages to his brain, telling him to run; that something wasn’t right. But he was rooted to the spot. He felt a breath on his neck, sending shivers down his spine. It stopped, but just as he began to relax, his senses went into overdrive. A cold breeze blew on his neck and the air around him smelt stale. He cried out. Everyone took their eyes off the Ouija board and looked up at him.– Zoé O’Farrell, Ouija
“Si, you OK?” Sophie asked.
Before he could reply the board was receiving another word, but Simon wasn’t writing it down. He didn’t want to look at what it spelt this time. Simon gulped and looked.
Zoé O’Farrell grew up in Watford but left the town life to live by the sea down at the White Cliffs of Dover.
She spends her days working with numbers before escaping in the evening to the world of words and movies. Her go-to relaxation is watching a scary movie or reading a terrifying book!
She is a book blogger and tour organiser just to keep her extra busy. When she is not reading or writing, you can usually find her watching Watford FC or at a gig. Failing that she can be found rolling her eyes at her husband as he acts the same age as her spitfire of a Mini-Me whilst separating her two cats.
Ouija is her debut novel.
Follow her at:
Website : https://zooloosbookdiary.co.uk/
Ouija is available on Amazon right now! And don’t forget to stop by the other blogs on this tour (see the poster below for details) for more great content and reviews!