Monday, June 19, 2017

[Book Review] A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

Book Review of A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman is an incredible novella full of both charm and horror.

If you're looking for an incredibly creepy read, I would highly recommend this! I was hooked immediately and absolutely could not stop reading.

Shout-out to my local library for ordering a copy of this book for me!

A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

Book synopsis:
Both seventeen. Both afraid. But both saying yes.

It sounded like the perfect first date: canoeing across a chain of lakes, sandwiches and beer in the cooler. But teenagers Amelia and James discover something below the water’s surface that changes their lives forever.

It’s got two stories.

It’s got a garden.

And the front door is open.

It’s a house at the bottom of a lake.

For the teens, there is only one rule: no questions. And yet, how could a place so spectacular come with no price tag? While the duo plays house beneath the waves, one reality remains:

Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.

My thoughts:
What a wonderfully creepy novella! This is the type of book that you just need to dive into, so I highly recommend you return to this review after you have read the book if you want to stay totally clueless before reading.

If not, feel free to continue on!

So first of all, the writing... Josh Malerman is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite authors. He writes suspense so wonderfully! After reading Bird Box, I couldn't wait to get my hands on another of his works. This one certainly didn't disappoint. There were so many situations that the characters got into that made me feel super tense and anxious, and that is exactly what I look for when reading a book like this!

Speaking of the characters, I really enjoyed both James and Amelia, two seventeen-year-old kids. Through both their dialogue and inner thoughts, they both seemed so incredibly real to me! I absolutely loved that we were introduced to both of them right as James got the courage to ask her out.

I also loved the way that Josh Malerman wrote the storyline. When the situation called for it, there were short chapters that were from just one of the characters perspectives. But for the majority of the book, the pages included both of the main characters perspectives, one right after the other. For example:
"Sorry," he said again.
"No. Don't worry. I just imagined us drowning is all."
Was that a dumb joke?
James felt dumb, too. 
"Turkey sandwich?" he asked. "Chips? Water?"
"Sounds good. Sounds like a meal deal."
Another dumb joke. Who would bring up a meal deal while surrounded by everything that was so much the opposite of a meal deal?
But James smiled.

I don't think this novella would have been as effective if it had dual perspectives organized into a strict A, B, A, B chapter format.

The plot was so interesting to me. Each time the teens entered the house, I felt my anxiety rising! I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

My favorite passages:

He swim up the stairs and it felt like running uphill, the resistance, the fatigue, do you and patience of a nightmare.

And while he always dreamed he'd perform with honor if he was ever this afraid, he'd underestimated how afraid this was.
And yet, what came next was the only thing that could have frightened him more than he already was.
It was the scariest thing that could happen inside a house underwater, the house at the bottom of the lake.

My final thoughts:
I absolutely loved this novella. The storyline was wonderfully written, the characters were relatable, and the suspense was great! I would recommend this book to others who really enjoyed The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.

I gave this book five stars!


  1. Questions... Is it YA? Romance?
    Also, have you seen "In Dreams" with Annette Benning? Sounds slightly similar and also very creepy.

    1. It is about two seventeen year olds that fall in love over the summer, but I wouldn't personally categorize it as YA or Romance.

      And, but I will have to check that out!! :)

  2. I have Bird box on my TBR pile, will have to add this one too 😊

  3. I'm not usually a fan of reading creepy novels, but this review may have convinced me to at least try it!

    1. This one is definitely a light creepy read. It's more of a "what could happen" scary, if that makes any sense :)

  4. Great review Erica this is the first time I heard about this book, and it really does looks and sounds creepy and scary. Which I absolutely will give this book a try. I also have heard amazing reviews about bird book which I really need too check out as well. Thank you for the awesome post!

    1. Definitely!! I hope you really enjoy both of his books! :)