- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: EgmontUSA (26 August 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1606841564
- ISBN-13: 978-1606841563
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 21.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Amity Hardcover – 26 Aug 2014
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"An evil house manipulates its residents to dark ends in this novel inspired by The Amityville Horror (1977).
Connor's family moves into the odd, old house--Amity--for a fresh start after the family patriarch's sketchy business practices force their move. Ten years later, Gwen's family seeks a new start after a mysterious incident Gwen was involved in, hoping country life will help stabilize her. They both have a close relationship with an opposite-gender sibling and enough personal issues to make them unreliable narrators. The split first-person narrative shows the parallels between their experiences, occasionally repeating revelations, but the protagonists fit into different parts of the house's pattern of violence and horror, which keeps the two stories from feeling stale. The house shares its bag of tricks with the famous Amityville incident--flies, specific and significant numbers, the basement's hidden red room, and of course dreams of grisly crimes. The narrative consists of very many short chapters that are most effectively deployed in the rapid acceleration to the climax; earlier, they feel jarringly jumpy. The dark history of the house isn't kept a mystery--the object is dwelling in the horror, not uncovering it--and the house's nature is openly evil from the start. The refreshing lack of romance enhances the claustrophobic atmosphere, and while the foreshadowing gives away a lot, the conclusion still surprises.
A dark read for a darker night." --Kirkus Reviews
"Amity is a fast-paced read filled with horror and suspense. Connor's family, looking for a fresh start from the troubles in their lives, move into a house named Amity. They were terrorized for 28 days before they left. Ten years later, Gwen's family also moves to Amity with similar results. Both teens have pasts that make them ripe for Amity's sadistic tendencies and she manipulates their minds to bend them to her will. From doors locking on their own to weapons appearing out of nowhere, the book has enough mystery and suspense to keep readers enticed. Adding further action would have kept the story flowing even more quickly, but readers looking for horror reminiscent of Stephen King or Jay Anson (Amityville Horror), will be intrigued by this entry. Recommended." --Library Media Connection--Journal
4Q 4P S
"A page-turning thriller, Amity will have readers begging to keep the lights on at night. Audiences familiar with the story revolving around the haunted house of Amity will recognize its devilish lure as soon as they begin Connor's narrative. Connor, a teenage boy with alluded-to psychological issues, is immediately taken over by the house and obsessed with its evil tendencies. Fast-forward to ten years later, and Gwen's family moves in to give her a fresh start from her troubling past, only to encounter more nightmarish experiences. Despite a decade's difference, the two accounts parallel each other, intertwining past and present with documents about Connor and Gwen's mishaps and the ancient, terrifying history of Amity.
Point of view and suspense take precedence in this novel, as the reader sees through the eyes of someone who is controlled by Amity, as well as someone who tries to stop their loved one from being controlled. As is typical of most horror genres, the ending will leave the audience just as scared as the beginning." --VOYA
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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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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.
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.