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Here is a house of ruin and rage, of death and deliverance.
Here is where I live, not living.
Here is always mine.

When Connor's family moves to Amity, a secluded house on the peaceful banks of New England's Concord River, his nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons. destruction, and revenge. Dreams he kind of likes. Dreams he could make real, with Amity's help.

Ten years later, Gwen's family moves to Amity for a fresh start. Instead, she's haunted by lurid visions, disturbing voices, and questions about her own sanity. But with her history, who would ever believe her? And what could be done if they did?

Because Amity isn't just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a violent end as she's done before. As she'll do again. And again. And again.

Inspired by a true-crime story, Amity spans generations to weave an overlapping, interconnected tale of terror, insanity. danger, and death.

361 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2014

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About the author

Micol Ostow

67 books345 followers
Micol Ostow has been writing professionally since 2004, and in that time has written and/or ghostwritten over 40 published works for young readers. She started her reign of terror with Egmont with her novel FAMILY, which Elizabeth Burns named a favorite of 2012 on her School Library Journal-syndicated blog, A Chair, a Fireplace, a Tea Cozy. Micol's graphic novel, SO PUNK ROCK (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother), was named a 2009 Booklist Top Ten Arts Books for Youth Selection, a Booklist Top Ten Religion Books for Youth Selection, and a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens. She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Her young adult horror novel, AMITY, will release from Egmont in August 2014, and her first chapter book series, LOUISE TRAPEZE, will debut in Spring 2015 from Random House.

She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, alongside her Emmy Award-winning husband, their daughter, and a finicky French bulldog. Visit her at www.micolostow.com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 311 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,563 reviews5,863 followers
March 23, 2014
This is not a re-telling of that famous Amityville house. Dang it.

This is a tale of a lower cost house. Hey, it's cheap-let's buy it.

There are 2 different families involved in this book. Set 10 years apart, first we have Connor's family. Connor is a weird little shit. His twin sister Jules is about the only person that he connects with. He starts having bad dreams and visions..he kinda likes it.

Then we have Gwen's family. She has had some kind of mental breakdown and her family thinks she needs a break. She starts having visions of bad things about this house and of course no one listens.

Both stories are intertwined together going back and forth from the view points of the two main teenagers involved.

I really wanted a bit more from this book. Some parts were good and scary and then some parts just were ho hum.

The ending though was just threw in. I think the author felt like oh it's time to end the book. Done. :/

Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,414 reviews7,411 followers
May 5, 2014
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

ARC received from NetGalley. Thank you, NetGalley!!!!!

2.5 Stars

Is there anyone left on the planet who hasn’t heard of the Amityville Horror????? I didn’t think so.

This book was inspired by the events at Amity, but is not a retelling of the original story. The classic tale of horror and gore is toned down significantly – leaving only references to the original (i.e, 3:15 a.m., the “Red Room”, the boathouse, etc.). This new take on a familiar story focuses on the potential insanity that began to take hold to two different families during two different generations.

The 2.5 Star rating on this novel can be blamed on the following blurb:

"For fans of Stephen King and American Horror Story, a gruesome thriller suggested by the events of the Amityville Horror."

To begin with, EVERYONE should know better than to throw the Master of Horror’s name around unless they are real dang certain they are writing some deep and scary shiz. And offering “American Horror Story” as the next comparison???? That show makes me sleep with the lights on . . . and I’m olllllllllllllllllld. This book does not even come close to the terror that King and/or Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s creepy creations can generate.

That being said, this is a YA horror novel that, I believe, will definitely hold its own when it comes to the intended audience. The simple blurb “a gruesome thriller suggested by the events of the Amityville Horror” is sufficient. My rating probably would have jumped to 3 Stars if not for the overhype. Reading about the possible mental collapse of two of Amity’s residents actually made for quite the page-turner and I wasn’t disappointed at all to see the level of gore reduced. At the end of the day, the only thing I was really missing???? Ryan Reynolds’ abdominals ; )

Profile Image for Jamie.
1,388 reviews1,104 followers
April 4, 2016
My thoughts are very mixed on this story. I enjoyed the original Amityville Horror movies so I was very curious about this book.

The book follows to perspective of two different families live in the Amityville house. Or Amity as it is named by the first family. The house is fully given it's own personality. And is apparently feminine. The first family has the teenagers Conner and Jules who are twins. Ten years late the teens are Luke and Gwen (only 11 months apart). The book follows a one month timeline for each household while living there. So we get parts of the story from Conner's perspective and part from Gwen.

Before I go into too much here, to best understand what is going on I highly suggest you see at least the first movie. It sets the stage a bit better. This book seems to go with the assumption that you have seen it. Certain references (the locks, boathouse, red room, etc) make a lot more sense this way.

The author goes off on an odd mix of being very descriptive one moment, then vague the next. This book definitely requires imagination to fully grasp what is going on (again seeing the movies helps). To me, it reminds me of a B-rated movie. Not really scary for the most part. In fact some scenes amused me in a twisted way. Yet underlying tones throughout the book can be a bit creepy I suppose. It didn't get to me that way but I can see how it could.

Conner is one twisted, messed up guy. Ugh, every time I was stuck in his head I almost felt slightly ill. I though I had a twisted side for enjoying reading/watching horror, but this guy thrives on living it! I wish I could have gotten a better feel for his sister but since it is from his perspective, it is quite contorted. Gwen I kind of liked but I never felt like I got to know her, even though I was inside her head. All I got was everyone, including herself, thought she was crazy.

What I did like was the author took a little extra time researching the framework of the original house and incorporated certain historical backrounds. And also added a few and embellished it seems, but still, I like seeing that the author did his homework before writing this.

There are several spots that seem to repeat themselves. I can tell the author was trying to press a point but using the same sentence multiple times within a page or two of each other comes across as a bit redundant and instead of focusing on the stress point I am more irritated for reading the same thing. There was one time I though I lost my place in the book because of this.

Overall, not a bad book to read. I can see how it can be creepy. I like the psychological aspects. Giving the house more personality was interesting. While I liked how some parts were descriptive and almost poetic, there are just as many parts that need some fine tuning or need to be a little less vague. I am all for using my imagination but if I had not seen some of the movies, I fear I would be more lost than not trying to read this. Recommended for fans of the movies just for kicks!

**I received an eBook copy of this for review from Egmont USA. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.*
Profile Image for ❤Ninja Bunneh❤.
263 reviews174 followers
March 14, 2014
Growing up on Long Island, it always tickled my horror loving brain pink that The Amityville Horror story basically took place almost in my backyard. For those who don't know the background, a quick recap. In the 70s, a seriously fucked in the head asswipe murdered his entire family, siblings included. He later claimed that the voices from the house told him to do it. A new family eventually moved in, lasted about a week and ran away claiming some evil presence. Thus, The Amityville Horror money train was born. When I came across Amity on NG, it was like ringing the nostalgic dinner bell complete with Nutella for dessert.

Here are the necessary ingredients:

One haunted house full of fucked up scary shit - check.
One creepy boathouse complete with randomly banging door - check.
One basement that no human being in their right mind should ever enter - check.
A few fucked up teens - check, check, check, and check.
Group of mostly shitty adult parental figures - quadruple check.

Amity takes place in a sleepy tiny town, complete with rather unfriendly citizens, rendering the occupants' of Amity rather isolated. Connor has moved into the house with his parents and sister, Jules. It seems Connor isn't quite right in the head and the family needs a bit of isolation to keep him on the right track. The perfect place to do this? A house with an evil presence, of course! Connor travels down a dark path that can only lead to not very good things.

Gwen is a seemingly normal teen girl, who moves into Amity a decade after Connor's family. She isn't a normal girl, however, and has been through her share of shrinks and diagnoses.

What follows are two different POVs told a decade apart. Both lives and the lives of their families intertwined by Amity. This book was creepy, and damn I was sucked in right away. Then slowly, but surely, the too convenient conveniences slipped silently in. Predictability reared its ugly head. The ending was brought on way too quickly and fizzled completely. A tiny bit of redemption came in the twisty epilogue, which rode in on a white horse to save the day.

Much to my dismay, what started out with a BANG! went out with a whimper.

3 Ninja-Bunnehs-Chopping-Wood

(Arc received in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are subject to change upon final release.)

Profile Image for Yzabel Ginsberg.
Author 3 books102 followers
September 19, 2014
(I got a copy courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

I watched the Amityville movie some 20 years ago, and never read the book, so I won't comment much on how faithful to the original story this novel is... or how it diverged from it. I remember some elements (the red room, characters always waking up at the same time, the door banging, the "healer" character being thwarted...), and I think they were used in ways both similar and different. Is it a good or a bad thing? I don't know. For me, it felt appropriate, at least. I tend to like cameos, winks at other works of literature, and so one.

I liked how both narrators' voices were clearly distinct, not only because of the fonts used, but simply because their tone, their ways of thinking, were different enough. Gwen is more fragile, while Connor's instability is expressed more violently. Gwen is more intuitive, and Connor "colder". In fact, his case was pretty easy to figure out, and his narrative reflected his problems fairly well.

This said, while I enjoyed the setting, the writing itself unfortunately got on my nerves to such an extent that it ruined my reading experience. Why? Too much hammering, too much repetitions (she was shot in the head, I mean, you know, go away crazy, I mean, she was shot in the head, she was shot IN THE HEAD). I get why they were here, emphasising Gwen's unstable mental state and Connor's sociopathic tendencies, but I have an aversion to heavy-handed writing styles, the ones that tell me what I should feel, instead of subtly hinting at it. Apart from the standard sentences (see above), often the story made a point of repeating the same event several times, as if to flash a huge neon sign above it, in case someone would have missed it. Example:

My mother stood in the doorway of the sewing room.
My mother stood, head cocked slightly, looking quizzical, in the doorway of the sewing room.
She wasn’t directly behind me[...]
She hadn’t been behind me at all.
She’d been standing in the doorway of the sewing room.
My mother had been standing, not behind me, but in the doorway of the sewing room.
She’d been standing in the doorway of the sewing room this whole time.

Frankly, this doesn't induce fear in me. This just makes me cringe and roll my eyes, thinking, "OK, I GET IT." I don't like being openly manipulated. Suspension of disbelief, for me, rests on a text's ability to make me forget the ropes, so that I end up realising that I've been led all the way without realising it. Conversely, I don't react well to techniques that poke me without subtlety in the right direction. It's like someone's grabbing my head, looking at me in the eyes and screaming: "Look, this is scary! I'm repeating it because you're meant to feel it! Are you scared yet, Huh? HUH?" As said, I get why such effects were used, Gwen and Connor being damaged characters. But the way they were handled just irked me. Sometimes, it happens. And it's too bad.

The novel also borrows from a few other works (notably "Carrie", for the stones), and I don't think that was a good idea. It came out of nowhere as far as Gwen was concerned, and though it had its use, it just felt like a cop-out to me. And not frightening either. Mostly, I didn't find this novel scary. It lacked subtlety to achieve that, and the last chapters were too muddled to give it a proper ending.

I had high hopes for this story, and I wish I had liked it, but alas, this didn't come to pass. 1.5 stars.
Profile Image for Irshad.
56 reviews17 followers
March 1, 2016
Amity by Micol Ostow - 2/5 stars

I'll come clean and say that I was in a reading slump while reading this book. So perhaps my rating and feelings towards this book may be overwhelmed with my negligence of constant reading.

Amity is a horror, paranormal fiction novel following two separate events that occurred 10 years apart. The people who move into Amity are confronted with its dark history and secrets. Connor and Gwen both move into this house, but are separated by 10 years and they tell their daily experiences and feelings the house passes on to them.

I was initially intrigued with the synopsis. But the entire read of the novel wasn't necessarily amazing. I felt the author lacked development in the plot. There were many loopholes that needed to be immersed with information. There was potential of this book being good but that did not happen due to the lack of the plot development.

I enjoyed the inclusion of psychotic tendencies that the main characters had but there was again, a lack of development in these key areas.

A quick read if you're finding for one. Read this book and let me know if you too share similar feelings as me.
Profile Image for Abbie.
1,525 reviews
October 7, 2014
I grew up watching horror movies and loving the spooky, gory elements. When I saw this book's cover I fell in love with it. I was expecting a really lurid piece of art that would prevent me form going to sleep at night but I was sadly disappointed.

Amity is a chilling tale of an evil house that possesses it's inhabitants and ultimately destroys their lives. I've seen the Amityville horror movies so I knew what I was getting myself into.

The book is narrated through Connor and Gwen's point of views. Connor lived in the house ten years before Gwen but their fates are intertwined.

This book is creepy. It wasn't heart-stopping but it did contain a fair amount of thrill to send me into a prayer frenzy at two in the morning while I read this. Some parts dragged but overall I still thought it was worth the read.
Profile Image for Dotti Enderle.
Author 103 books37 followers
June 24, 2016
Received the ARC through NetGalley.

As a member of the YA jury for the Bram Stoker Awards, I can assure you that excellent horror for teens is hard to come by. Amity fulfilled all my expectations for what compelling horror should be. This new twist on the Amityville Horror is chilling, engaging, and beautifully written. For teens who love horror and dark fiction, this one will not disappoint.

Profile Image for Prince William Public Libraries.
716 reviews115 followers
July 22, 2021
I really enjoyed this book. It is such a good book for horror and thriller. Written as a multi-perspective, taking past and present accounts into consideration, this book is a masterpiece. The story is so well written, with its twists and turns that you don't see coming. A new twist on a haunted house because it's not the house that is haunted, it is the house that is haunting. The character's emotions and mental degradation seem so real, as they slowly realize the truths of Amity and what is happening to their peers as well as themselves. I don't have any recommendations, because this is a new horror type I haven't seen before, but this book is a 9.2/10. Worth it to sit down for a couple of hours and read it in one sitting.

- Reinaldo, PWPL Summer Reading Teen Volunteer

Profile Image for Sarah Marie.
1,795 reviews226 followers
January 9, 2019
Amity by Micol Ostow

1.25 stars

In Amity we follow two alternating timelines with a ten-year time difference. In the first timeline, we are introduced to Connor and his very abusive father and erratic family. They have recently moved into Amity and the house is appealing to Connor’s darker and more sadistic nature. (Pro-tip: If you suspect your child to be a sociopath and have the documentation to back these claims up by psychologists, don’t move into an ancient house.) In the second timeline, we follow Gwen and her family as they look for a “fresh” start after Gwen’s psychiatric break which resulted in time in an institution. Amity is looking to trap anyone it can because, haunted evil house, duh. I am a sucker for these kinds of storylines. American Horror Story: Murder House stole my heart from the moment I realized how truly twisted the house was and what lurked within the walls. So, I’m no stranger to this plot. Ostow tries, but it’s obvious that Amity is targeted to an audience who is much younger. The writing is incredibly juvenile and the characters are caricatures of your typical family gone bad tropes. Ostow’s word choice was also very grating and at times, just plain annoying. This novel tries to spooky and horrifying, but it also kind of reminds of a Goosebumps novel. I’m not talking about the good ones either (because there are some good ones in the batch, but boy, does it have its fair share of bad ones.) Amity appeals to the Goosebumps fan which is not a bad thing and I think that’s a strong suit for many young readers who may stumble upon this book like I did at the ripe age of ten when I binge-read Stine and Christopher Pike novels like no tomorrow. I’ll be real and candid, the writing drew me away from the suspense. I’ve read Goosebumps as an older reader that have captured my attention, so good writing is essential in a horror/suspense novel. Ostow seems to struggle greatly with the concept of stereotypical horror and ambience. Most of her backlist appears to be cute Scholastic Book Fair contemporaries, so that explains it and I think with more work and better editing, this could’ve been more enjoyable and gripping. I will be comparing this novel to Murder House because the more I write my review, the more that I see the striking similarities.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 1.25

The main female character is Gwen. I don’t care for Gwen. I don’t know who Gwen is. She has no passions or hobbies and she reminds of a much dopier Violet Harmon. Violet Harmon as a character worked because she had a great actress to bring her to life. Gwen is as dead as a doornail on the page and nothing can revive that.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 1.25

The main male character is Connor. Connor is a wannabe Tate Langdon, but without the mommy issues. He has daddy issues instead and a weird incestual crush on his twin sister (EWWWWWW). He is a sociopath, but not a very believable one. I was being shown and told he was and I was supposed to find his inner “I have a rage that needs to be silenced only through blood” monologues scary, but I kind of found them funny. Again, the reason Tate Langdon works is because he is ruthless and completely driven by rage and anger (which Murder House plays a role), but here I wasn’t buying it.

Swoon Worthy Scale: NOPE

The Villain- Amity? It didn’t really scare me and it was kind of funny. The door will lock on their own, but they don’t have locks. Flies attack people. Things move. You know the drill, but none of it seemed life or death. Even when I was at the 80% mark, I thought to myself that the stakes were so low and uninteresting that I didn’t care how this ended.

Villain Scale: 1.5

Also, I’m sorry but the good ghost subplot who is trying to protect and save Gwen was thrown in at more than halfway through the novel. Out of left field. I love a good protective ghost, but color me disappointed in everything spooky this novel had to offer. (Even the good guys were a snooze fest.)

Character Scale: 1.25

Overall, Amity was not for me. I do think it will find its fans and audience with younger readers who don’t know many horror tropes and aren’t well-versed in the usual haunted house plot. Ostow’s writing just didn’t work for me and in the long run, this novel was unfulfilling for me. I will say that the ending had a nice little bridge of the timelines. Props to Ostow for being a bit more creative (not super creative), but a bit more than where I thought it was going to go. Proceed with caution.

Plotastic Scale: 1

Cover Thoughts: Spooky, scary monster house. That blood looks so Goosebumps-ish.

Thank you, Edelweiss and EgmontUSA, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews713 followers
September 1, 2014
***This mini-review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Actual Rating 3.5

I am not sure I can say with any authority whether this book was a good horror novel, but it damn well scared the hell out of me.

Now I don’t really read horror; in fact, I usually avoid it and I don’t watch a whole lot of horror movies either, because I am kind of a scaredy-cat but reading this book was definitely a scary/thrilling experience for me.

My heart was consistently pounding and I would have literally been on my toes had I not been laying comfortably in my blanket (it was cold).

In spite of the great horror mystery and the fantastic atmosphere, what this book lacks are strong character development and well-rounded characters in general. To me, the characters are more of a means to present the story than they are… important. I love that one of the characters is a sociopath and I was genuinely freaked out by his thought processes, but aside from that, there wasn’t much else going on. The same goes for Gwen - she was, in contrast to Connor, a ray of sunlight and I definitely looked forward to reading her chapters more so than Connor’s (he REALLY made me feel uncomfortable) but I never really felt any connection to her, either.

Surprisingly though, that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel. Sometimes your characters don’t need to be likeable or relatable for you to enjoy the actual story, and boy! did I enjoy it (okay not really.. I was REALLY scared but that’s the whole point right?).

If you love eerie tales that will probably leave you with more questions than not and will probably make it hard for you to sleep at night, definitely check it out!
Profile Image for Josiah.
3,211 reviews145 followers
October 27, 2019
Though there's no internal admission that this book is based on the 1974 Amityville murders, obviously there's a connection. The Amityville true crime story has spawned many movies and books, and Micol Ostow's Amity is a YA version of the dark legend. Two families, ten years apart, move into the old Amity mansion in the small town of Concord. Both families last only twenty-eight days before suffering a bloody tragedy. Connor Webb adores his twin sister Jules, but hasn't much use for the rest of his family. His father physically abuses Connor's mother and six-year-old brother Abel. Connor struggles to harness his own violent temper; he and Jules sometimes wish their father would disappear, but the urge to do something about it doesn't hit Connor hard until his family settles in at Amity. A decade later, Gwen Hall's family moves to the deserted mansion. She has a history of psychiatric fragility, and her parents decided that living in a rural environment would be beneficial. Gwen immediately forms a psychic link with Amity, causing supernatural delusions that grow more disturbing by the day. Her parents are concerned, but don't believe the house is to blame. Is there any rational basis for fearing a musty old mansion?

Alternating between Connor and Gwen's perspectives, we see both teens unravel as Amity's personality changes them. Connor becomes a recluse, digging on and around the property with a shovel. He doesn't realize he's experiencing blackouts until Jules finds a pit full of mangled animal carcasses. Did Connor torture these poor creatures? He has shown such tendencies before, but only his father knows of his past animal abuse. The scary part is, Connor can't remember killing any animals this time. The house is pushing him beyond his usual antisocial behavior, and soon Connor is preoccupied by thoughts of slaughtering his father. The family would be better off, right? And doesn't Jules secretly want him to do it? Connor waits for an optimal night to do the deed, but Amity won't let his vengeance be as simple and clean as Connor expects.

Every one of Amity's many rooms holds a new terror; at least, that's how Gwen's beleaguered brain sees it. Evil energy courses through the walls, an ancient occultic power whispering within her mind about mysterious murders that happened here. Gwen's Aunt Ro also senses the house's sinister intent, but Gwen's parents thinks Ro is being irresponsible by feeding into their daughter's paranoia. Luke, Gwen's brother, has always been kind and understanding of her emotional instability, but Amity changes him. Easily irritated now, he spends most of his time digging with a shovel in the outdoor shed. Luke sleeps in the basement, and never leaves the property for any reason. Only he and Gwen know of her telekinesis, a gift that shows itself when she is under extreme duress, and as Luke descends into madness and becomes a threat, Gwen wonders how long before she, too, snaps. Are both these families—the Webbs and the Halls—being set up for a murder spree? And are Connor and Gwen destined for life sentences in an insane asylum?

Amity is a confusing book. Connor and Gwen's narrative voices are similar, so it's easy to mix up elements of the story. Both characters are morose, which doesn't make for a lively read. I'm not sure the narrative avoids the pitfalls of its own twisting, complicated logic, but Micol Ostow's writing has a pleasing rhythm, and I never felt bored. For that reason, I'll round my one-and-a-half-star rating to two. Amity doesn't offer much by way of deeper themes, but it's a decently atmospheric read for the scary season. I'd like to see how the author writes in a different genre to better assess her abilities.
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
2,997 reviews636 followers
August 14, 2014
Amity delves into two different families arriving at and living at Amity. One occurs ten years ago and another in the present. There is Gwen’s family who has just moved into the present day Amity, then Conner, and his twin sister Jules, who lived there in the past. All of the characters are creepy, no downright weird would be more appropriate. Even their parents will make you shiver. Gwen suffered a mental breakdown prior to the move, and the author explains what occurred later in the novel, leaving us to guess for most of it. Conner, on the other hand, is disturbing and the more the author shows -well let us just say it made me shiver and leave it at that.

Amity takes us back and forth between the two families and the creepy events that unfold during their stay. As the tale progresses the two stories intertwine leaving the reader, scrambling to sort out what is real. The tale has some horror scenes that will remind you of the Amityville Horror movie, but these are tamer and toned down. Amity is itself a living breathing entity with a personality all of its own and I must give credit to Ostow in this regard.

As much as I enjoyed the creepy moments and suspenseful vibe, the tale had flaws that kept me from completely losing myself within its pages. I loved how Ostow weaved in historical facts and the multiple perspectives but at times, it did not move fluidly. Some moments felt rushed while others were over the top. The author does an excellent job of keeping the reader off balance through her characters and the house itself. I questioned the magical aspect of Gwen and wonder if it did not hurt the story. The characters are strange, and the author makes you look at them askew. They are not likeable, and I do not believe we were supposed to connect to them in any real way. Despite some predictable moments and lag in areas overall, I enjoyed this atmospheric tale and applaud the author’s approach.

Copy received from publisher in exchange for unbiased review.This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Profile Image for Cobwebby Eldritch Reading Reindeer .
5,070 reviews264 followers
August 12, 2016
The noun "amity" connotes peace, understanding, mutual goodwill. Such an oxymoron for the title character, the house that bears this name! Capably interweaving two familial dysfunctions a decade apart, backdropping with centuries of history, this book is implacably horrifying, and will make you look at your house askance.
Profile Image for Rayne.
852 reviews288 followers
June 22, 2014
Horror movies and novels differ vastly in the way they are meant to deliver their scares and thrills. Horror movies are a thoroughly sensory experience and their success relies on the ability of the viewer to feel like one of the characters in the story through the bombardment of sensory overload. Books, on the other hand, have a tougher job at it because their tools are limited, but that doesn't meant they have to be as unsubtle as most movies are to achieve the same effect. Quite the contrary, books have to be subtle about how they set up the atmosphere, deliver the tension and terrify their readers. When horror books are as overwhelming and unsubtle as most horror movies, they take on a cartoonish, exaggerated feel that effectively takes away all the terror I'm supposed to feel and it feels like overkill and robs the novel of its purpose. That was the case with Amity.

There is absolutely no subtlety with anything in this novel. Every single detail is bashed on the reader's face repeatedly, as if the author thought the detail would've been impossible to notice otherwise, and it's the same with every single aspect of this novel. Every characterization, every plot development and every single thrill was overwritten and overdone to the point that going through this book was nothing but annoying and irritating. The writing in this novel is about as subtle as a nuclear bomb.

Writing believable psychologies behind normal characters is hard enough; writing believable psychologies behind damaged and deeply disturbed characters is almost a Herculean task, I understand. However, repeating the same line every couple of paragraphs like some kind of broken record (She was shot in the read, she was shot in the head, she was shot in the head) or delivering a 'scary' scene with the repetition of a line arranged in four different ways ("She hadn't been behind me at all. She'd been standing in the doorway of the sewing room. My mother had been standing, not behind me, but in the doorway of the sewing room. She'd been standing in the doorway of the sewing room the whole time.") is overkill, it destroys whatever atmosphere and is more likely to induce an eyeroll than as shriek. Simply put, that's just lazy writing.

I actually liked the idea of two ongoing timelines seen from the perspectives of two very disturbed teens, and it worked for a couple of pages, but then the actual horror started and the book lost my interest because of the overload of exposition in this book. The writing didn't allow for these characters to show their damaged psyches themselves, for their minds to unravel naturally as the story progressed. Only Connor managed to come off as more realistic a couple of times as opposed to the clumsiness that was Gwen's characterization, because his sociopathic behavior spoke for itself for the first half of the story, but then it also went the same road as Gwen's and started to be overwritten to the point of silliness. I will grant the writing this: it managed to make the two POVs in the novel sound different. Gwen's voice was completely different from Connor's, voice easy to identify with their own style of narration and thought patterns. Sadly, some of it was due to how unbelievably irritating Gwen's was since the beginning as opposed to Connor's.

This book is not exactly a retelling of the actual, infamous Amityville story, but it does borrow a lot of details from the actual events that started the urban legend, especially some details about the original murders. Actually, Ostow is pretty faithful to the murder cases, which means a lot of research was involved, but she crammed way too much in it and, in the end, didn't do anything with it that hadn't been done before. Truth be told, Amity is pretty prosaic as a whole. This story also borrowed heavily from other popular horror novels like Carrie and The Shining and it was extremely obvious about it. There's very little originality in this novel and it's extremely banal when you think of it. There's nothing in there that hasn't been seen before and overdone to death. The novel also struggled to decide what it wanted to be. It's almost like the whole idea of this book is to combine the cliches of every single horror story ever and nowhere is this more obvious than with the backstory of the house which was a horror story trifecta: ancient tribal ground, witch refuge during Salem witch trials and insane asylum where inhumane experimentation on patients occur.

There were many inconsistencies in the story and characterization, plus plot holes the size of haunted houses. By the end there were a lot of loose threads that were just forgotten rather than left undone intentionally, mostly because the novel just seemed to run out of steam at some point and, by the last few chapters, it seemed to be in a hurry to just get the whole thing over with. The last couple of chapters felt disjointed and were often difficult to understand. This book had an admittedly nice atmosphere, but it soon faded under the heaviness of intense and repetitive exposition. The pace was a bit all over the place and it often felt disjointed. It almost pains me to say it because I actually really wanted to like this book, but this is a poorly-written, pedestrian novel that was overdone to exhaustion and bereft of originality and entertainment. When looked at from a distance and considered in the most abstract terms, this novel had a pretty interesting idea working behind it along with some engaging themes, events and characters, but it just failed altogether when they were written down. In the end, the idea can only be as good as the pen that brings it to life and, at least with Amity, it did not work.

Profile Image for Kirsty-Marie Jones.
409 reviews45 followers
September 6, 2014

So, I'm keeping this short because 1) there's not much to say about it and 2) it's hard to even know what to say because not much actually went on.

If anyone asked describe Amity in one word it would be disturbing. Because if I said this was disappointing, my house might kill me. Firstly, let's talk about the false marketing shall we? It sounds like an Amityville Horror retelling, looks like an Amityville Horror retelling, the house is described like Amityville and It's even called Amity, so guess what it is?

Not an Amityville Horror retelling. Colour me confused and disappointed. House don't kill me.

Despite that I did enjoy it, I guess, I mean, it's horror, you know? It's crazy and spooky and creepy and this didn't disappoint in that sense, I mean, there were a few things that annoyed me, you know? Example. The exact sentence I just wrote, I mean, one perspective was written like this all the way through, you know? By Connor, our friendly little Sociopath. AND ISN'T IT ANNOYING ALREADY?

Then we have the other perspective, whose (crazy), with every weird thing going on, (crazy), everything she hears and sees she can't trust because (crazy) she knows there's something wrong with Amity, deeply wrong, but she keeps trying to ignore it because that's (crazy.) Again, this (crazy) perspective is written like this by Gwen, our neighbourly schizophrenic introvert. THIS ONE I ENJOYED (shocker.)

But, add Connors perspective and Gwen's perspective= 2 perspectives x 2 different era's. 2 perspectives x two different era's= two halves of a story that's basically the same and a little pointless to be honest. Revealing the story like that builds up the tension sure, but I didn't get it, I would've preferred one of the stories that then would've been fleshed out more, because with the way it is written, we learn this. We learn Connor and his twin, Annie's, story that's set two decades before Gwen and her almost twin, Luke's story, now. As you go along it's easy to see that Amity attracts certain...people, with a certain family dynamic that already has a little poison in them. You also get a little background information into Amity's history that we didn't see backed up that much by anything concrete and was rushed in instead of infused with it along the way.

Amity relied heavily on the weirdness and eerie , which kept me reading, otherwise I'm sure I would've said buh-bye to it, for the characters alone because I didn't like them at all, especially certain family members. So if you want a mindless scary read? This is your book.

~~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.~

Review originally posted on Studio Reads


Profile Image for Kerri (Book Hoarder).
495 reviews46 followers
March 30, 2015
This book had such promise when I picked it up. Look at that cover! The awesome title! It's everything that I look for in a horror book, and

Unfortunately I just found it so hard to get through this book. The formatting and the way that it jumped around made it very difficult to build any flow - some chapters were extremely short, and no sooner would I get involved in what was happening than we would have another jump. There was also the issue of style - some of the phrasing, etc was just very staccato, leading the reader to a feeling of jumping around, trying to reach a conclusion.

There's also a sense of repetition. Now, repetition can be a very effective technique in horror, but here the author uses it just a bit too much, resulting in an 'overdone' feeling. If the book had had an overall campy feel, I wouldn't have minded, but instead it sticks out too clearly as the fact that the author is saying 'here, here is the point I'm trying to make!'

The comparisons to Stephen King, etc, while understandable, nevertheless lead to some missed expectations. The book was enjoyable, but not yet on that level - and the comparisons really shouldn't have been there, since this book is really solidly in the YA level whereas the others are undeniably adult. It's disappointing because the story itself is solid, but as in many cases, it slips a little on the execution.
Profile Image for Alexa.
146 reviews25 followers
June 27, 2018
I couldn’t get past the same plot of this book as yet another “house is evil and made me do it” Amityville story. It just struck me as if the author need to write a book she had no ideas for and stole the basic ideal from the original book. I couldn’t even finish it.
Profile Image for Shannon.
301 reviews30 followers
September 5, 2018
This book was recommended as a "must read" by Book Riot and I was so excited to read this classic horror as a YA retelling, that I downloaded it right away, TBR be damned!

I was sooooooo disappointed! All the elements are there and it was mildly entertaining but there really wasn't anything original about it. Instead of the father or husband being possessed, it's the children. That was the only unique thing about it. 

I wouldn't say don't read it but be prepared for a meh kind of read.

Rating... C+

Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews545 followers
October 26, 2015
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Amity was a disturbing novel that I couldn’t get through, though I think fans of horror will have more success.

Opening Sentence: Here is a house; bones of beam and joints of hardware, stone foundation smooth, solid as the core of the earth, nestled, pressed, cold and flat and dank against the hard-packed soil and all of its squirming secrets.

The Review:

Amity is a house, but she is more than that. She lives for twisting minds and carrying out gruesome, violent plots. Connor’s family moves to Amity ten years before Gwen’s does, but both have terrifying stays. Connor cannot sleep without having horrible dreams of death and vengeance, and they’re starting to grow pleasant to him. Amity could help him make that destruction a reality. Gwen’s family, seeking a new beginning, moves later on. She is plagued by vivid visions and madness. Both will see firsthand the affects of Amity’s twisted will.

I couldn’t get through this novel. Part of it is that horror really isn’t my thing. It’s disturbing and weird and scary, which, I guess, is the point, but I’ve never really understood that point. Why chase after something that will only give you nightmares? I’ve seen one of the Paranormal Activity movies and that was more than enough to last a lifetime for me. Nevertheless, I attempted to go into this book with a clear mind. Sadly, even an open mindset couldn’t force me to enjoy this book.

It was a very morbid story, loosely inspired by the events at Amityville Horror house, but not retelling them. I never watched Amityville so I can’t be expected to know the similarities between the two, but after getting thirty percent of the way through this novel I never want to. It was strange and odd and chilling. Those are good enough qualities for a horror novel to have, I guess, but I could not handle how dark it was. I also found the main characters annoying and vindictive and couldn’t relate to either of them at all. Probably a good thing, seeing as they both were having horrible visions in a terrifying haunted house sort of setting. Another thing, however, was that I was very confused by the novel. I didn’t fully grasp what was going on a lot of the time. Some of that was the flashbacks between the two time periods, in which Connor the sociopath and Gwen were residing in Amity.

Let’s talk about Gwen’s family real quick. They go to get the house for a fresh start, and because it’s dirt cheap. It’s creepy, old, and weird stuff starts happening. Don’t you think the horrible stories about Amity and the super small price are a red flag? But no, Gwen’s family buys it anyway. Aw well. Have fun with that, even though every single warning sign is screaming. Don’t you think this sounds like the start of many different horror books or movies?

I feel that this book succeeded in important aspects of its genre, and I think that horror fans will have a grand old time. The book was well-written. Me being me, I could not stand the disturbing tone and and the confusion caused by the flashbacks. I got about thirty percent of the way through and I just couldn’t handle it. Then I had nightmares for three days straight. That’s horror for you!

Notable Scene:

“It’s so weird.” I followed her gaze.

“What? The way the house is, like, sideways?”

It was weird, kind of. Whoever designed Amity was trying to make the most of the land they had to work with, I guess; since the lot was deeper than it was wide, the house sat perpendicular from the road. So it was the side that looked out at you as you pulled up the drive, not the front.

And it did look out at you, eerily. That’s what Jules meant. That Amity sensed you.

FTC Advisory: EgmontUSA provided me with a copy of Amity. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Profile Image for Katie_la_geek.
821 reviews109 followers
March 22, 2014

This review may contain a few spoilers.

For this review and more visit my blog

I really like horror which is weird because I scare easily and I let myself get so freaked out I sometimes can’t sleep at night after reading or watching a horror. Every noise I hear has my imagination running wild. The stories about Amityville and the infamous house there do scare me, I guess this is because they are supposedly true (did you know the owners who suffered through the most famous haunting there both took lie detector tests and passed?) and because a few years back I experienced something pretty damn frightening. So I was kind of dreading reading this book but at the same time quite excited.

Amity is a strange book. It is about some really freaky stuff but it didn’t actually scare me. There were times when it bored me a little and other moments where I felt it went too far but for some reason it gripped me. when I had to stop reading to get on with real life I couldn’t stop thinking about it, this books deranged darkness seemed to reach out and touch me which was more than a little uncomfortable.

Micol Ostow has done a great job at mixing fiction with the history and past story of the actual house in Amityville. It is a clever book not only in terms of its mix of fiction and fact but also in the choice of its narrators. Amity is told by two teens, Connor and Gwen who live in the house 10 years apart. Both have a history of violence and mental instability which makes the reader question whether what is happening is real or not.

The writing is atmospheric and eerie. Ostow has done a good job at building this famous and legendary house and making it feel, sometimes literally, alive. She knows how to make the reader uncomfortable and uses this talent to good effect. There is no holding back and although this is a YA book I wouldn’t give it to someone under the age of 15 without having a parent check it first, some parts are truly grim.

The weakness in this book comes from the characters. Connor is just impossible to like and his reaction to things, especially in the beginning, were unbelievable. Gwen was better I quite liked her but felt the more ‘magical’ elements to her personality were not needed. One thing I did like was that Connor was physically and mentally stronger than Gwen yet she is the one with the most courage and power to resist Amity. Beyond doubt the main character is Amity itself. The house is manipulative and deranged in the most glorious yet disturbing of ways.

What Amity lacks in good characters it makes up from an eerie storytelling. I didn’t love it but thought it was a clever way of bringing an old legend to a new and young audience.

The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Angie.
1,204 reviews130 followers
October 6, 2014
If you’ve seen any of the Amityville Horror movies, then get any expectations you have of this book out of your head right now. This is not a retelling. It’s an entirely different story about two very damaged teens.

I mentioned in one of my recent reviews that I’m a horror fanatic, and Amity is simply another YA attempt at horror that didn’t do anything for me. But, where some other YA horror books make use of cheap, slasher-movie techniques to entertain the reader, Amity offers a few imaginative disturbing events. The really terrific thing about Amity is that it is well-written, eerie, and an unbelievably quick read. I finished it in half a day.

Forget about character development or a plot with a twist. This book is void of that and I felt the story could’ve been fluffed out a lot more. What Amity lacks in the aforementioned, it makes up for with suspense and creepiness. I liked how the two main characters – even though they’re both damaged beyond repair and ended up with the same fate – each had their own distinct voice. The one is outright psychopathic, and the other fragile and possibly delusional. Surprisingly, the one character I liked the most at the start happens to be the one that got the least amount of attention – Gwen’s brother, Luke. I would’ve liked to see more about how the house affected him. One minute he’s a sweet, loving brother, and the next minute – boom! – he forms a love affair with an axe and starts sleeping in the smelly basement.

The rest of the characters were all just used as props. I wanted to know how the house affected Gwen’s parents - her father is barely mentioned – and how it affected Connor’s parents. It seems as though only the kids, and Gwen’s *psychically sensitive* aunt was traumatized by the Amity house. I know that this is a YA novel, but can the adults be discarded so completely? The only adult theme herein is Connor’s mother and six-year-old brother being abused by his father. Are you seriously saying the house didn’t creep either set of parents out?

Another question I was left with at the end is what happened to the house in the ten years between these two families? If each family only lived in Amity for twenty-eight days, what happened in the ten years between? Did the house remain empty, or did other families live there? I guess I’ll never know.

All in all, Amity is not a terrible read. If you’re a horror fan, this book will not keep you awake at night, but it has a few chilling scenes that might give you the shivers.

*I received a free eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion. Thank you, Egmont USA!
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,694 reviews701 followers
July 26, 2014
1.5 stars

I've always been fascinated with what happened in the Amityville Horror. I enjoyed both movies, but haven't had a chance to get my hands on a copy of the book. When I saw a YA retelling, I was so excited. Too bad I ended up being so disappointed.

I did like the dual POV. The past and present setting was really interesting and Connor and Gwen had fantastically different voices. Unfortunately that's about all I enjoyed.

I struggled with the families of both MCs. Connor's dad beats his mom [and Connor seems to think she deserves it]. Gwen's mom is really unsympathetic to what happened to her in the past. And let's not forget that her brother kicks a dog.

I wasn't thrilled with the repetition. I understand why it was done, but I found it irritating instead of setting the tone. The book did get semi-intriguing towards the end, but by then I just wanted it to be over.

All in all, it wasn't the tension filled scare I was looking for. Somehow the madness of the situation just didn't translate for me.

**Huge thanks to Egmont and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for TJ.
977 reviews118 followers
January 5, 2015
Received from: Egmont USA
Received Via: NetGalley.com

Connor and Gwen find themselves at Amity 10 years apart. From the start they know something is not right about the house. Plagued with dreams and visions they both realize Amity isn't just a house she is a living force

This book! This book! What a page turner I couldn't wait to see what happened next! I loved seeing the past and the present and how it linked together and the plot moved along nicely and kept me hooked. I felt like I was watching a movie. This book was creepy indeed.

I also felt like the characters were well developed and I could connect with them Gwen was a character I could relate to the most, having Mental problems of my own I could understand her fear of how others saw her and why she couldn't tell them about what she felt in Amity. Connor on the other hand was a weird but a interesting character I believe sociopath described him quite nicely. I also liked the side characters like Jules.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror or to someone looking for a fast paced creepy read!
Profile Image for Cait S.
902 reviews72 followers
November 27, 2022
I have an extremely low tolerance for shitty teenage boys. DNF at 50 pages, fuck this kid lol
152 reviews3 followers
March 16, 2014
Read this book with fear and trembling and could not put it down. It enthralled me from beginning till end. The book dealt with two families ten years apart whom lived in an evil house for 28 days and the experiences that occurred there. There was one character that absolutely pulled me in and it was the male twin featured in the book. At first he seemed sarcastic and snarky in an interesting way but as the book developed the reader realized there was more to him than seemed on the surface. I kept hoping that the book would take a more happy turn but the fact that it did not move in that direction kept me glued to the book waiting to see the end. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
Profile Image for Amanda .
432 reviews153 followers
August 10, 2014
The word eerie doesn't even cover this book, it's more like morbid. Micol Ostow writes a horror novel that is so visually descriptive that it chills you to the bone. The characters are surprisingly three dimensional, which you don't really expect in this kind of book. The flash backs between the two time periods confused me at times, but for the most part I think it worked really well. I have always liked the Amityville Horror movies and this book filled me with the same fear. Amity is the creepiest book I've ever read and I'm so glad I picked it up.

I received a copy of this book to review from Netgalley and Egmont USA
Profile Image for Melissa H.
85 reviews88 followers
June 24, 2017
The minute I saw this book I knew I had to read it, I've been interested in the Amityville Horror story ever since I heard about it as a child. I know a lot of people that were less than thrilled with the book but I loved it. I liked how the book shifted from one point of view to another, from the past to the present. I also felt like the short..chapters I guess, just one or two pages, added to the frantic feel that the story was portraying.

I think this is one I'm going to end up buying.
Profile Image for Wesley Thomas.
Author 20 books41 followers
February 27, 2019
Great story and an interesting take on the legend, I just felt it could be have cut down a little bit. Other than that, an excellent first horror novel for the author.
Profile Image for Jojobean.
310 reviews
July 17, 2016
This book is based on the Amityville House in New York.

This book was alright. I was creeped out at times but it wasn't overall terrifying. There was some gore and blood but not as much as I would expect in a horror novel even though it is YA. There have been more gore filled books that are not considered horror that I have read. There was a bit suspense but I often found myself waiting for the characters to figure out what I already knew. Also as I was reading the book I was noticing the similarities and differences between the book and the Amityville murders and the paranormal happenings I read about. Some are clear, such as the red room and the murders.

This book is told in alternating perspectives between Conner and Gwen. The two main characters are separated by 10 years when they lived in the Amity house. Conner lived in the house first, then 10 years later Gwen and her family moved in. Both families lasted about 28 days in the house.

Conner is a twisted sociopath. No joke, he has all the symptoms of a sociopath- he lacks empathy, he can disassociate himself from others and situations, he has been known for torturing animals. The only real person he connects with and may actually love is his twin sister Jules. He has a mother, a father and a younger brother but they don't bring out any emotion (save for anger) from him. I also think his obsession with Jules is creepy. His family life is not too great either. His mother is a battered wife, his dad is abusive to his mother and brother and his brother is a small 6 year old child whose been beaten by his father. Jules is very sympathetic to her younger brother and mother but Conner is not.

Conner is a sick person. He has an unnatural fascination with blood and enjoys the smell, taste and look of it. I guess since he doesn't have many emotions he is not scared of the paranormal occurrences that happen in the house. He gets more excited by them and enjoys the twisted dreams he has. He can feel that Amity is alive and evil and he welcomes its power into himself. He does acknowledge that there is something wrong with him and he calls himself evil on a few occasions. He basically allows himself to be possessed by the house.

Gwen is a girl with mental issues. Her and her family move to Amity after she was released from a mental hospital. Her mom thought the move to the country would be good for her. Gwen knows right off that something is wrong at Amity. Her first night a corpse girl appears to her. Since Gwen has a fragile mind, it seems like she is more attune to Amity and she sees things as what they really are. She hears voices, she feels a presence touching her and she has what her doctors would call hallucinations, but are really the house showing her its true intentions. Gwen also believes that she can make things happen with her mind. A sort of telekinesis. She has an aunt who is also attuned to the paranormal, when also senses that the house is evil and who thinks Gwen is not crazy.

The house also changes her brother Luke, making him seem crazy, withdrawn and murderous. He spends a lot of time in the boathouse and the basement of the house where the red room is. Everytime Gwens goes to the third floor sewing room something paranormal happens to her. Gwen also has dreams like Conner though not as twisted as his. Gwen keeps seeing the corpse girl and another girl who calls herself Annie. It seems like Annie is trying to help Gwen prevent an event that happened years ago that tends to cycle every few years. In the end, I couldn't tell if what Gwen was seeing was real or if it was what her mental illness made her mind see.

Amity itself was a character although not one that talked or anything. It had an evil presence and was ripe with bad history. Amity seemed to know things and seemed to choose one person in the family who lived there to share it's knowledge with. The house seemed to have things it wanted and it used the evil power within it to get what it wanted. It was creepy.

All in all not a bad book.

This review is also posted on The Book Owl Extraordinaire
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