Monday, August 28, 2023

Review: Who Haunts You by Mark Wheaton

by Mark Wheaton
Release Date: September 2, 2023
2023 Limits Press
Kindle Edition; 170 Pages
ISBN: 979-8987925010
Genre: Fiction / YA / Horror
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

High school senior Rebecca “Bex” Koeltl is just trying to make it to graduation. But when her fellow seniors begin dying in seemingly unrelated incidents, Bex uncovers disturbing connections between their deaths, including that the teens believed they were haunted by long-dead relatives their own family members swear never existed. After Bex is visited by a malevolent specter of her own, she realizes she has to get the bottom of this horror before she’s its next victim...
My Thoughts
Who Haunts You is a fast-paced book that made me think back to my university psychology courses with a pang of nostalgia.  I loved the main character, thought the story was really engaging, and enjoyed the overall story. 
My favourite thing about this story was Rebecca. Autistic and neuro-divergent, Bex's character and her development was far from stereotypical, and I appreciated the research he put into his character. She attends a competitive high school, but keeps to herself and hides away in the library.  It is rare to see autistic characters as the MC and this is the second book in recent weeks that has happened, so I was glad to see more diversity in the characters.  Because I am not autistic, I liked seeing things through Bex's eyes and how she views the world.  Gosh, she was so fascinating, and I loved going along with her on this journey as she was trying to discover what was happening with her schoolmates.  
Because we get the story from Bex's POV, the story is naturally twisty and convoluted, and it took me awhile to figure out who was guilty.  I loved how the author threw in those red herrings and took you down one rabbit hole after another, until I actually had difficulty wondering what was real and what wasn't. The writing style was compelling and fast-paced, and because it was so engaging, I read it in one sitting. Looking back, it was hard to believe it only came in at 170 pages.
The one issue I did have was the ending. It's not that I have an issue with the way it went, it's mostly due to its ambiguous ending, like the author was working so hard to be mysterious. While it did have quite an impact, I felt like it took such a one-eighty turn that I was a bit disappointed. I should have seen it coming though, as there was a lot of talk about Bex becoming too obsessed with what was happening. 
Who Haunts You was a fascinating look at the power of psychological persuasion. It was thought provoking, with interesting twist and turns, and had a great main character that I enjoyed tremendously. While I wasn't a fan of the ending, the author manages to pack in so much to this short novel, that I recommend it to anyone interested in a psychological mind bend.