“Holly Horror” by Michelle Jabès Corpora

c.2023, Penguin Workshop $18.99 320 pages

The bump you heard from outside your home was probably just an animal.

Yeah, that’s it. An animal outside, or a bird. Uh huh, a bird hit your building, it happens all the time. For sure, that thump was nothing to be scared about, right? As in the new book “Holly Horror” by Michelle Jabès Corpora, everything’s normal, right?

Despite the beauty of the drive through Massachusetts, sixteen-year-old Evie Archer knew that the next phase of her life was going to really stink.

Her mother was framing this move as something fun. More room in the family home! More friends to make! A fresh start after the divorce! But Evie wasn’t buying it, and apparently neither was her ten-year-old brother, Stan.

Things went from bad to worse once they saw the creepy, dilapidated old house.

Hobbie House had a long history and none of it was happy. Shortly after it was built more than a century ago, there was a murder and a little girl went missing. Forty years ago, Evie’s mother’s cousin, Holly, disappeared one evening, vanishing from her bedroom, poof.

Was it any wonder that the locals called it “Horror House”?

But there was no other choice; the rent was free and once it was cleaned, the house wasn’t too awful. Evie did have to admit that her bedroom in Hobbie House was better than her bedroom in New York – even if this new one used to be Holly’s room. She also had to admit that she was kind of fascinated by Holly’s story, especially after she found Holly’s last diary in a trunk in the attic.

Evie’s new friend, Tina, offered to explain the whole Holly story, but Evie wasn’t sure she wanted to know. So what if the locals talked? Who cared that everybody in school whispered about her? Was it a big deal that a lady in a local restaurant mistook Evie for Holly?

Then again – was it a coincidence that a shadow seemed to be following Evie everywhere?

Get ready. Grab your flashlight and extra batteries because Things That Go Bump in the Night Season has arrived, and “Holly Horror” is a great start for it.

Nearly every single thing you want in a scary novel is here inside this book: a tiny New England town, a house that seems alive, a stuffy attic and a musty trunk, a cobwebby basement, talking dolls, it’s enough to make a horror-novel fan sigh with happiness before they scream in terror. And then author Michelle Jabès Corpora layers more fright on top, a scary-cherry on a sundae: like her main character, Evie, readers will need to figure out who to trust here, and it’s not easy. It’ll make you grimace, and read with one eye squinched shut.

And when Evie falls into a grave-not-grave, well, don’t say you weren’t warned.

You waited all summer for a horror novel like this, and here it is. “Holly Horror” is meant for 12-to-17-year-olds but there’s plenty for adults, so bump it up on your TBR List.