Cyndy Aleo's Reviews > Lucretia and the Kroons

Lucretia and the Kroons by Victor LaValle
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Sep 15, 12

bookshelves: arc, horror, netgalley, young-adult, novella
Read on August 14, 2012

Downloading Victor LaValle's Lucretia and the Kroons from NetGalley was a lark. I knew nothing about the author, and next to nothing about the book. A quick look at the various shelves it's been placed on at Goodreads will tell you that this is a story that defies genre, yet appeals to a broad base of readers.

Lucretia is an odd sort of little girl, caught on the cusp of girlhood and being a teen. She struggles with fitting in with girls at school who seem to have grown up before she did. And her best friend, Sunny, who lives upstairs, has been out of touch for a long time; Sunny has cancer. Lucretia puts an aborted birthday party on hold in her mind until Sunny returns from the hospital, and has plans for the day she finally gets to see her friend. Her much older brother, however, tells her a story meant to frighten younger siblings, about a creepy family who lives above them on the top floor: the Kroons.

When Sunny goes missing, Lucretia tries to find her by going into the apartment her brother said is inhabited by the Kroons, bringing Lucretia into a waking nightmare. It's like the reverse of Alice falling into Wonderland -- a fever dream that makes sense and at the same time doesn't as Lucretia tries to save Sunny from the Kroons.

The magic of this novella isn't so much in the story itself -- although it's haunting -- or the prose, but in the way LaValle manages to draw you into Lucretia's world, feeling as if you are living the horror right along with her. Often I return to review a book several days or a couple of weeks after I've read it and need a refresher from notes about the plot or characters, but Lucretia and the Kroons is so vivid you can't forget even a second of it.
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