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A Head Full of Ghosts

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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  35,852 ratings  ·  5,328 reviews
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. F
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Hardcover, 286 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by William Morrow
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Paul
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Paul I got teary eyed when I saw the tweet. I started reading for pleasure (never mind writing) because of Stephen King. That he read the book and really…moreI got teary eyed when I saw the tweet. I started reading for pleasure (never mind writing) because of Stephen King. That he read the book and really liked it means the world to me. My phone was blowing up when the tweet happened, and I stopped what I was doing (cleaning the house, rearranging furniture), sat down with a lovely adult beverage and my laptop and basked. ;)(less)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  35,852 ratings  ·  5,328 reviews


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karen
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
paul tremblay interviews me, or "me" here:

https://thelittlesleep.wordpress.com/...

this book is about a fourteen-year-old girl named marjorie, her eight-year-old sister merry, and the events leading up to marjorie's exorcism. your attention, i have it, yes? this is both a horror novel and a psychological suspense novel, but then it goes the extra step into self-referential metafiction in a way that is natural and not gimmicky-annoying, probably because that part involves a delightful character named karen brissette. on the one hand, this
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Matthew
I rarely give one star reviews. I am sure Paul Tremblay is a nice guy, but after two of his books, I cannot stand him as a writer.

The story in this book was silly and contrived. The characters were blah and I didn't believe their motivation for anything they did. If someone got mad, it felt forced. If something weird occurred it felt like it was just there so something could be weird.

The book is not thrilling. It is not scary. It is bad Exorcist fan fiction. I am not sure if anyone
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Chelsea Humphrey
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book blew me away. I might have to come back and alter my review because I'm not entirely sure how to process this book.

All I will say about the plot is it revolves around the Barrett family and we are trying to solve the puzzle of 14 year old Marjorie's illness. Is she mentally ill? Is she possessed by a demon? Anything more would spoil it all and I refuse to do such a thing!

This is definitely a book that will stay with me. While it's not overly gory or "scary" in t
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megs_bookrack
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
CREEPY AF!!!



This made my horror-loving heart so happy.
I could NOT stop reading!



I must say, reading this on a very dark flight home from the Dominican Republic upped the creep factor a full 10-points. I was jumping at the slightest noise and just wishing I could turn on a light!

Life Advice:

Read this in the darkest room possible.
Candlelight this bitch if you have too!
Rebbie
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I didn't know whether to give this book 5 stars or 1, so I'm meeting in the middle.

Yes, it scared me. In fact, it's exactly 2:41 am and I'm awake because of this book. And I have to pee, but I'm too scared to go to the bathroom by myself and if I wake up my fiance to turn on the bathroom light and wait for me, he will think I'm some sort of mixture between stupid and crazy. And he would probably be right.

There are some problems with this book, including the pacing, the be
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Richard
I was pretty surprised by how forgettable this one was. It's one of the more popular horror novels this year, and the premise (about a young girl named Merry witnessing her family dealing with the possible demonic possession of their daughter and their choice to not only perform an exorcism but to film it for a reality show) is a set up for some chilling entertainment. But I was uninterested through most of this book.

Much of it has to do with the terribly inconsistent pacing and lack of narrati
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Nilufer Ozmekik
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 thrilling, scary stars!
News flash! Robert Downey Jr. is working on this book’s adaptation to the big screen as producer! So we’re gonna be able to watch this terrifying story and sh*t our pants! What an amazing way to spend your weekend night! ( already stocked my boozes and munchies! )

This book should be categorized as a smartly written masterpiece! I loved the pop culture references. Since I was ten I have been reading horror books and watching thriller movies so I loved th
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Blake Crouch
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'll keep this short and sweet: one of the best horror novels (maybe the best) I've ever read.
Char
3.5 stars!

I enjoyed this novel of possession/psychological horror/reality television, but I didn't out and out love it. It's almost impossible to tell you why without spoilers, but I'll try. 
 
Here's what I liked the most:
-the shout outs to other authors in the dark fiction genre. I'm sure I didn't pick up on them all, but I love being made to feel like I'm in on something;
-the references to other characters in dark fiction classics-one of which is glaringly ob
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Kayla Dawn
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I wasn't necessarily scared while reading this, but I was definitely entertained.

I loved that the story didn't take itself too seriously (it actually made fun of itself quite often lol)
Janie C.
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had high expectations for this novel. I had read Paul Tremblay's collection of short stories, In the Mean Time, earlier this year, and I greatly enjoyed it. A Head Full of Ghosts exceeded my expectations.

The novel revolves around the Barretts, a middle class suburban family. When the elder of the two daughters, Marjorie, begins exhibiting odd behavior, the family becomes concerned. As Marjorie's behavior becomes exceeding bizarre, psychology and religion become involved. Is Marjori
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Greg
This is a kind of weird experience.

Granted it’s not the first time that Karen has popped up in a book as a character (I can think of two others), but this is the first time that she appears quite a bit (at least by name, as the character isn’t actually supposed to be her). We’ll get back to this later on the review though.

The book is about a family that was once featured on a reality tv show called Possession, which was as the name suggests about demonic possession. The show featured a New Eng
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Jack Tripper
I've never been big on possession/exorcism stories. The whole notion strikes me as...silly, somehow. As an avid horror fiction fan, I can buy into all manner of nasty creatures and supernatural phenomena while reading, but the concept of Satan or some other demon possessing a young girl, with the battle for her soul being waged by some priest and his prayers just doesn't do it for me. So it took me a while to get to this one, despite the rave reviews. Some horror buffs here on Goodreads are of t ...more
Bradley
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, 2016-shelf
What an awesome surprise! Mr. Paul Tremblay knows his horror motifs, and he (and I) love how they're layered and layered some more, starting from truly delightful character sets with the slowly creeping horror, the slide into a normal family's confusion and pain, and then...

Possession.

What? A straight possession tale and not one about a family taking care of a mentally ill daughter? One who suffers from paranoia and schizophrenia?

Oh yes, let's take this tale i
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Trudi
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
!!! 2015 Winner of Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel!!!

I read this last summer so the details are a bit sketchy now to pull off an in-depth review, but I hate leaving review spaces blank, and this is me trying to push some of my favorites back in front of your face again in case you missed them. A Head Full of Ghosts just snagged the 2015 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel which should help give it a much-deserved boost in exposure.

I loved this one, not only because parts of it genuinely creeped me the hell out
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Jilly
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Actually I'm not sure if I loved this book or hated it. It was one of those books that you read and you're kind of miserable the whole time, but it also kind of blows your mind and gets you thinking. Usually, I'm against thinking too hard. I'm lazy. But, in this case, I thought some really good points on feminism, the patriarchy, religious zealotry, and the media made it worth it to hurt my brain a little bit.

Actually I'm not sure if I loved this book or hated it. It was one of those books that you read and you're kind of miserable the whole time, but it also kind of blows your mind and gets you thinking. Usually, I'm against thinking too hard. I'm lazy. But, in this case, I thought some really good points on feminism, the patriarchy, religious zealotry, and the media made it worth it to hurt my brain a little bit.


okay, I admit this is every day...

So, the premise of this book is about a young woman who is recounting her childhood with a mentally ill sister. The sister seems to be schizophrenic, but we can never really be sure. Her father is convinced that she is possessed by a demon and agrees to allow a reality television show film their family and an exorcism that is performed on the girl. It is, to put it in a succinct way, a clusterfuck.

How shocking, huh? An exorcism that is a reality show spectacle turns out poorly for all involved? Who would have guessed! Those concerned and benevolent television producers were only interested in helping this poor 14-yr old girl get well. How could they have known that turning her sickness into a circus might be harmful?


And much like reality television, it will all turn to rotting unrecognizable goo..

In between the girl's recounting of her story, we also see blog posts about the reality show itself where the author is picking the show apart, giving us the idea that maybe the whole thing was staged. And, it does give the reader smidgens of doubt. You aren't sure what you believe, and you aren't sure your narrator is even very reliable when she is telling what actually happened.


maybe...

Then, we find out who is writing the blog. Hummm.... is she giving us hints?

Then, we get a bomb dropped.

And, then we are decimated...

What the hell, book?

Things just don't wrap up neatly in this story. We have to make our own judgments about Marjorie and her "possession"/mental illness, but I like what our blogger had to say about it:

If she was possessed by anything other than faulty brain chemistry and/or DNA, I like to imagine her as being possessed by the vast, awesome and awful monster that is popular culture.

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Carol
Unfortunately, A Head Full of Ghosts was not for me, but if you are a fan of stories that, in part, mimic The Exorcist, you will probably enjoy this extremely dark work of fiction that combines possession of an evil spirit with a reenactment of same in the form of Reality TV and a family that all seem to be going off the deep end.

It begins super creepy with some pretty "crazy-weird-scary-icky" stories told, and ends with a virtual conglomeration of shockers and question marks that leave the door open for much discussion.

Very. Strdiscussion.

Very.end.

It
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Beverly
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
This book had been on my TBR for what seemed like forever, and I kept meaning to read it (I even bought a copy last spring!), but I just never got around to it—until an afternoon recently in which I needed to make an hour commute home and wanted an audiobook, so I looked at the “available now” section on my library’s audiobook inventory, found this, and that was all it took. I was so completely captivated from the start!

“Are you good at keeping secrets, Merry?”
“More often than not, the
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Justin
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
My man, Paulie T, who I had never heard of until last week, provided me with an exceptional ghost story for this long holiday weekend. This book is like what Cabin in the Woods did for the horror film genre. He takes all the stereotypical things you've seen before in other horror books and movies, but he knows it, and he has a great time with it.

The blog entries were an excellent tool to begin each section of the book. It was like reading a book and then reading someone else's commentary or ana
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Annet
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Demon possession scares me. You take that subject and add to it the fact that Stephen King went on record saying this book scared him and then multiply all of that with the fact that my mother (who loves scary things and watches scary movies by herself) ALSO said it scared her and I knew that this book was 'full on' (to quote my friend Allie).
And it was. It was so full on I couldn't read it at night. But even though I would only read it during the day and tried to read light hearted things
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Lala BooksandLala
Oct 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller-mystery
Very atmospheric and spooky, a perfect read for the #spookathon!
PirateSteve
Oct 09, 2016 rated it liked it
"My eyes were drawn to that crucifix and the deeply etched agony of Jesus' face."
JV (semi-hiatus)
As someone who has a high tolerance for gore and horrifying stuff, Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts creeped me out. It's bone-chilling and full of twists and turns that I didn't even anticipate. I have to admit that the pacing was rather slow at the beginning, but the disconcerting imageries he gradually summons for the mind to experience is truly a frightening one.

Meredith "Merry" Barrett recalls of the time when her 14-year old sister, Marjorie, suffered from psychosis. With Marjorie kept in check
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Karl
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Paul Tremblay has written one heck of a book. And hardly a Zombie to be found within it's pages ! In fact there has been a bidding war for movie rights: “EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features just won an auction for rights to make an elevated genre a head full of ghostsmovie from A Head Full Of Ghosts, the upcoming thriller novel by Paul Tremblay. William Morrow publishes the book next month. Focus prevailed in an auction that also had TriStar in hot pursuit. Deals are being closed for Ben Collins & Luk ...more
Kaora
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's nothing wrong with me, Merry. Only my bones want to grow through my skin like the growing things and pierce the world.

A Head Full of Ghosts is a story from the POV of Merry Barrett. It opens with her many years later after the events surrounding her sister Marjorie, giving an interview to a writer for a non-fiction book based around her experience as an eight-year-old. We are then taken back to the Barrett house, where 14-year-old Marjorie has started acting out. In an effort to cure
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Myke Cole
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read A Head Full of Ghosts in a single day. I haven't done that since I was a kid.

A Head Full of Ghosts joins Joe Hill's N0S4A2 as the only book to truly frighten to the extent that it triggered hyper-vigilance and had me turning on lights in hallways and turning corners slowly to see what lurked behind them.

The book is clearly a love-letter to Tremblay's pantheon of horror heroes, and shows an exhaustive knowledge of haunted house and possession tales both in cinema an
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☽¸¸.I am¸¸.•*¨ The ¸¸.•*¨*Phoenix¨*•♫♪ ☾
“On the morning of the exorcism, I stayed home from school.”



Just when I thought that there was no more hope for me to read a horror book besides the King and actually enjoy it, Paul Tremblay came to the rescue. There is hope for me not to give up on this genre completely!

First of all, a story about a demonic possession?! Like for real? I couldn't believe the author had chosen such an unoriginal topic... and yet, it work
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Jillian
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh man where do I begin..... this book omg this book it was creepy , a little scary , entertaining and confusing. This book held my attention from page 1 . This book is about a family with two daughters one a 13 year old and an 8 year old. The older daughter starts acting strange and the think she may have a mental illness so the mother sets up psychiatry appointments but the dad disagrees and believes she is possessed, some how they end up with a tv show about her getting an exorcism. But it go ...more
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3,820 followers
Paul Tremblay is the author of DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK and the award-winning A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. His other novels include THE LITTLE SLEEP (Henry Holt), NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND (Henry Holt), SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE (Chizine Publications), and the YA novel FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T FLY (co-written with Stephen Graham Jones, as P. T. Jones).

He is the author of the short sto
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“On the morning of the exorcism, I stayed home from school.” 17 likes
“Ideas. I'm possessed by ideas. Ideas that are as old as humanity, maybe older, right? Maybe those ideas were out there just floating around before us, just waiting to be thought up. Maybe we don't think them, we pluck them out from another dimension or another mind.” 10 likes
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