On this week's episode of Fictional Hangover, we talked about Horrid by Katrina Leno. Horrid is a haunted house story that's full of creepy jump scares, Agatha Christie references, tender moments of grief, and too many very fertile roses growing way out of season.
After Jane's father's sudden passing, she and her mother, Ruth, move from LA to Maine and into Ruth's childhood home. The old house is stately, but a little run-down, with beautiful roses growing in the backyard... in October. Ruth hates the roses and butchers them, but they keep coming back... just like the handprint on the upstairs window and the sounds coming from "storage room." Something's going on in North Manor and it seems like everyone in town knows about it... except for Jane, and she is determined to figure out what it is.
We had so much fun talking about Horrid, and you know how much we love horror, so it was an excellent choice for us. We laugh a lot about just why those roses keep growing in the holes in the backyard and determine that there is some very special fertilizer, aka bodies, that keeps getting put in there. We also talk a bit about family dynamics, friendships, truth and grief. We might get silly at times, but we have a great discussion about this book. One thing we really love about it is, instead of chapters, Horrid unfolds around the creepy nursery rhyme based off the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow There was a little girl. Read our summary, listen to our episode and read the book to see just how eerie this book can get.
We were almost lucky enough to get to chat with Katrina Leno about this one, but our schedules just didn't line up. She was kind enough to respond to our game of Would You Rather by email though, so here are her answers to our ridiculous questions.
FH: Would you rather eat books or roses or hair?
KL: Roses! Rose syrup is actually quite lovely, especially in lattes (and we know Jane loves her lattes...except she'd probably skip the rose syrup!)
FH: Would you rather your mom lie to you about her past or your friends lie to you about knowing about your mom's past? KL: Ohhh I feel like I would rather have my friends tell the truth and have my mom lie! Although a lot of this mess could have been avoided if Ruth was just truthful from the beginning!
FH: Would you rather hear a ghostly marble rolling around or a ghostly piano playing? KL: Piano! Easier to pinpoint the source of the haunting :)
FH: Would you rather a ghost send text messages from your phone pretending to be you or see a ghost pretending to be your mom in the upstairs window?
KL: Both options are just so creepy, but I don't love the idea of a ghost stealing my phone!
FH: Would you rather check to make sure Ruth is alive at the end (no way, there's no way!!) or pull Melanie out of the dirt at the end?
KL: Poor Ruth! Haha - I would definitely pull Melanie out of the dirt, since she does seem to be in the most imminent danger!
Here's a recording picture in which Claire contemplates eating a book and I eat my own hair.
Thanks for reading!