My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After reading (and loving) Polson's March 2011 offering, We Are The Monsters, I knew I had to find something else by this author to read.
The House Eaters did not disappoint. Though, for me, not as chilling and atmospheric as We Are The Monsters, The House Eaters showcases well Polson's gift for capturing a teen voice and for brisk and entertaining YA horror fiction that also happens to be tasteful and well-written.
The House Eaters is set in Broughton's Hollow, a blip-on-a-map nowhere Kansas town. Nick Gillingham and his family move to the Hollow after Nick's mother loses her job and his father takes a position at Springdale High. (One of Polson's popular stomping grounds, the school is featured in three of his books I've read thus far.)
What transpires after that is a classic ghost story, a tale filled with wonderful characters we want to root for. With a few mysteries thrown in for good measure - most of which involve Nick's own family even more so, it would seem, than the creepy old neighborhood home where our haunter resides, The House Eaters is a satisfying read.
What I enjoyed a lot about the tail was the pacing. The curtain over Nick's troubled family is slowly pulled back as the story progresses, revealing a younger sister, Tabby, whose stay in a mental hospital a year prior may have been the first sign that there's more power in her than it seems; a mother who drinks a little more each day; a father who stays out later and later each night. The ghostly action is spaced well, leaving room for solid and natural character and relationship development. Nick's new ghost-hunting posse - Gage, Saul, and Sarah - make lovable comrades, and his struggles with the quintessentially popular "blood-sucker" Cat and her meat-head boyfriend Dane are believable and interesting.
All in all The House Eaters is very well done and I would highly recommend it. After reading We Are The Monsters, I found myself intrigued with this fresh literary voice. Now another book down in Polson's impressive catalog, I can officially call myself a fan.
4 out of 5 stars