Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Haunted #1

The Haunted

Rate this book
From Danielle Vega, YA’s answer to Stephen King, comes a new paranormal novel about dark family secrets, deep-seated vengeance, and the horrifying truth that evil often lurks in the unlikeliest of places.

Hendricks Becker-O’Malley is new in town, and she’s bringing baggage with her. With a dark and wild past, Hendricks doesn’t think the small town her parents moved her to has much to offer her in terms of excitement. She plans on laying low, but when she’s suddenly welcomed into the popular crowd at school, things don’t go as expected.

Hendricks learns from her new friends that the fixer-upper her parents are so excited about is notorious in town. Local legend says it’s haunted. Hendricks doesn’t believe it. Until she’s forced to. Blood-curdling screams erupt from the basement, her little brother wakes up covered in scratches, and something, or someone pushes her dad down the stairs. With help from the mysterious boy next door, Hendricks makes it her mission to take down the ghosts . . . if they don’t take her first.

252 pages, Hardcover

First published June 4, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Danielle Vega

16 books1,664 followers
Danielle Vega is the author of THE MERCILESS and SURVIVE THE NIGHT. She's also the author of BURNING, under the name Danielle Rollins.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
585 (20%)
4 stars
929 (33%)
3 stars
906 (32%)
2 stars
316 (11%)
1 star
79 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 620 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,784 followers
January 4, 2023
**3.5-stars rounded up **

Hendricks and her family moved to Drearfield in an effort to escape their old life. While it sucks to leave everything she has ever known behind, Hendricks appreciates the opportunity to start over.

Her parents purchase a dilapidated old house to renovate and for her part, Hendricks is hoping to lay low and heal her scarred heart.

Unfortunately, Steel House, their new home, has other things in mind.

Unbeknownst to them, they have inadvertently moved into the most infamous house in Drearford, with a frighteningly violent history.

At school, Hendricks is quickly accepted into the popular crowd, even catching the eye of a local heartthrob. At home, she is harassed and terrified by a presence lurking there.

It doesn't take long for the house, and the spirits trapped there, to express their deep-seeded need for vengeance.

This is a classic Haunted House story, with a well-executed Teen Scream element.

I enjoyed Hendricks as a character, as well as her new friends. They were all fun to get to know, especially Eddie, but we'll get to him later.

I was pleasantly surprised, and impressed, by the Horror imagery. I was seeing everything Hendricks was seeing and I'll tell you, some of it really creeped me out.

Even though it seems initially that the major site of the paranormal activity is located in the cellar, eventually it permeates throughout the entire house. Nowhere Hendricks goes is safe. I was genuinely afraid along with her.

Hendricks knows she has to get to the bottom of the haunting, or else risk the lives of everyone she loves.

Along with her brooding neighbor, Eddie, who has his own dark ties to Steel House, the two teens band together to try to exorcise it of its demons.

It all builds up to an epic showdown that kept me glued to the pages the whole way through.

There were a couple of details towards the end that I wish hadn't been included. They sort of pushed it pass the line of solid paranormal into eyeroll territory.

With this being said, however, I did enjoy this enough that as soon as I finished it, I ordered the second book.

I need to know what happens to Hendricks next. I want so much more time with her character. Well played, Danielle Vega. Well played.

Profile Image for Ellen Gail.
839 reviews376 followers
November 5, 2019
"Why are you doing this? What do you want?"
"We already told you. We want one more."

A haunted house.
A haunted past.
Which one is more dangerous?

Logically it's a 4, but my heart gives it a 5. And honestly, after a little distance from it, it's 4. My heart still unashamedly loves it, but logically, it has to be a 4.

Anyway, on to the part of my review where I do more than dither over numbers! Or at least attempt to do more.

The Haunted is my first Danielle Vega - I've heard mixed reviews over her series The Merciless. The torture porn comparisons make me hesitant, but I did enjoy this one, so I don't want to cross it off the TBR just yet. We shall see.

The Haunted is the story of Hendricks Becker-O’Malley, the new kid in town. Her parents are house flippers, and they've decided to flip a rather notorious fixer-upper. Oh and live there at the same time. A house riddled with rumors of death, ghosts, and horrors. Should be a pretty simple flip, right?

Let's talk the good stuff first - great pacing, snappy writing, and realistic teenagers (for the most part.)

"Yeah, I can think of about ten thousand places I'd rather be than that hellhole."
"Wow, a kid who dresses all in black and hates school. Original."

When when I say realistic teenagers, I mean an awareness of teenage stereotypes, that both follows the rules and bends them. Hendricks makes friends pretty fast, and they're a self aware mix of high school cliches - the cheerleader with an artistic side, the jock with a heart of gold, the well meaning but tactless queen-bee.

So who is Hendricks? How do you find identity when you aren't 'the girlfriend' anymore?

Talking plot, the story grabs you right away - the prologue is creepy and oh so relatable for any soft-hearted animal lover. A mewing, trapped kitten? I would have gone into the basement too. I once literally wedged my body into a crevice to rescue a scared kitten.

It worked. His name is Oliver and after a much needed bath, he found his forever home.

So as an admittedly squishy marshmallow, when it comes to to horror novels and animals, I automatically cringe if there's a vulnerable animal on the page. So for fellow softies like me, there is very, very mild animal violence.

BTW, there is a Veronica Mars reference in here and it made me smile.

The scary parts of the story didn't break any new ground. Inexplicable noises, apparitions, bloody writing on the walls - if you're a horror junkie like me, you've read it before. But lack of innovation doesn't always equal a bad story. Much like it embraces teenage cliches, the story has fun with the horror elements. It's not new, but it brings the creeps.

Let's talk about what didn't work for me.

I wasn't swooning over the love elements - some of the stuff going on in the background was sweet, like Portia's crush she's aching to turn into more, and Connor just being a genuinely good dude with an open heart. And Hendricks' past felt very authentic.

But the Eddie thing...

And there were definite insta-love vibes. And they play a good sized part in the story, particularly in the last 1/3.

And speaking of the ending, I'll keep it mostly spoiler free. Like, these are barely spoilers, but I'm going to tag it anyway. Just in case. The ending wasn't awful, but there were missed opportunities for catharsis.

Despite the fact that I highlighted several problems in The Haunted, my overall enjoyment was still pretty high. It was easy to fall right into the story and stay fallen. It's not flawless, but I like it and that's all that counts.

all quotes taken from proof copy and subject to change
*Thanks to Razorbill and Edelweiss for the review copy!*
Profile Image for JenacideByBibliophile.
209 reviews126 followers
June 6, 2019
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Razorbill – Penguin Random House, via Goodreads Giveaway for an honest review.


Grab your salt and sage, kids.

There’s a haunting in our midst.


After a traumatic experience involving her ex-boyfriend, Hendricks and her family have just moved from Philadelphia to a small-town in New York, in the hopes of starting fresh. But with a new school and new friends comes questions about her past, and Hendricks isn’t quite ready to share what happened in Philly. As she tries to fit into the small-town atmosphere, Hendricks learns the history of the house her parents purchased to fix-up and flip. Steel House is haunted, a little girl was murdered there a few years ago, and rumors say that it was the brother that did it. But when Hendricks starts to hear male voices in the house and things start moving on their own, she wonders if the rumors are true. That Steel house is haunted, and that it wants revenge.

You’ll know Danielle Vega from her hugely popular series called The Merciless.

If you don’t…well.

What are you even doing?

If you have read the series (or even if you haven’t, I guess), you know that she LOVES to freak her readers the f*** out with demented scenes brought to life by truly evil, yet charismatic, characters. So naturally when I saw THIS little gem, I knew I had to have it! I, like the next darkness seducer and lover of loners and creepers, have an affinity for spiking my anxiety levels to ghastly rates so I can never feel safe again.


But can I say The Haunted was on the same level of creepiness and horror The Merciless is on? Did it make my skin crawl? Make my stomach twist into knots? Did I feel as if I could never close my eyes again for fear that I’d be transported into Steel House and forever haunted by sadistic ghosts and a cat that goes “mew” “Mew” “MEW”?!?!!?


But it was good.

If there’s one way to get me hooked into a book, it’s to introduce a protagonist with a trauma that is kept hidden until halfway into the book. What happened with her ex-boyfriend? Did he dump her? Did he “Carrie-fy” her with a bucket of blood at prom?! Did he ASSAULT her?! Well, I’m obviously not giving those precious little details up. But that is definitely what spiked my curiosity and got me hooked.

The book as a whole, however, is a little lacking. Don’t get me wrong! It was enjoyable, an easy/quick read and definitely had the spooky vibes I was looking for. But there’s nothing that really sets it apart from EVERY OTHER haunted house tale. It felt a bit rushed, especially near the end, and I wish the author would have made the book longer so the suspense and horror could REALLY build up!


Though the ending was rushed, I am left feeling pleasantly annoyed with the author. Danielle Vega really likes to build me up and then set my heart on fire. At first, I thought “oh, just a little gasoline on my aching heart. No problem, it’ll be doused later.” But then I got to the end where, instead of putting out the fire on my heart, SHE ADDED MORE GASOLINE.

*Le Sigh*

The characters are well-developed, the plot and history surrounding the house was molded well, and the book doesn’t get boring at all. BUT! By the end, I am left feeling like some things weren’t cleared up as much as I would have liked. I wanted more insight into the aftermath. What happened with Hendricks’s friends outside? What happened with popular smiley guy? What did her parents say?! Due to these little things not being addressed, I can see why other readers are miffed about the ending. Instead of the book gradually wrapping up, it just smacked us across the face with an ending and said bye.

That said, the book is good. I’d recommend it. I’d probably even read it again. It’s definitely for the reader that doesn’t read a lot of horror – because it is only MILDLY SCARY. If you want to dip your toes into the “scary stories” world, definitely start with this. You can’t go wrong!

Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews754 followers
May 27, 2021
UGH I’m so damn conflicted about this book! From the start my attention was instantly captured and I was excited to fall in love with another of Vega’s stories. And that was the case up until 95% of the way through. The beginning was strong and the middle was strong and I was SO into it, there’s nothing I love more than a good YA haunted house story and this one was excellent! The end is where it fell totally flat though and it lost some of its magic. And there’s nothing more disappointing than a great book with a shitty ending. I just don’t know why the author chose to end it that way, it felt like everything she was setting up the whole way through just crumbled to pieces and swept into the bin. So while 95% of the story was freaking excellent and had me living, the end was just a huge bummer and brought this from a 5 star read right down to a 3 star read.
Profile Image for Shainlock .
737 reviews
December 3, 2019
Really good story... totally better than some of the last in The Merciless series ! RTC
On to the next in the pile !
Edit :*****
The review : I’m rating this alongside OTHER WORKS of this author’s in the past. If I do so then this is a solid four.
The consistency was much better and so was the story and the ratio of someone getting hurt to real life .... eh... pain ratio? Those that have read will understand. Example : someone getting their head beaten in and shoulder broken and getting up and walking off like it was nothing ... going home and showering and throwing their clothes in the wash. WTH?
Yeah. I was questioning some things (what kind of razor does that girl use?) and ... (are her parents ever around ?) and a few other things. I was telling myself that if my teenager or niece ever acts like this they are in serious deep dog dood. Anyway, the story and the somewhat Shakespearean tragedy in the end are a nice spin. It’s not bad and I liked it.
Vega is getting better.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Stay Fetters.
2,061 reviews129 followers
September 23, 2020
"She looked away from the tub for a fraction of a second, and when she looked back, there was a boy standing in the tub, watching her with wide black eyes, her razor clutched in one hand. He tilted his head, his upper lip twitching."

Danielle Vega always knows how to make me uncomfortable while reading her books and I love it. This one is no different than the others, it creeped me out in the best way possible. Some scenes were just your typical YA novel being a YA novel until it takes a dark turn and it is freaky. And true to her gothic self, that end will leave your mind in a whirl.

Hendricks is getting a fresh start in a new town. Her dark past haunts and follows her as they move into a house with quite the reputation. Her chance of laying low goes down the drain...

She soon finds out that the house comes with some deeper and darker secrets that should have stayed buried. Now they are brought to light after they moved in. Strange happenings keep occurring and now it's time to figure out why. With the help of the creepy next door neighbor, they hunt down what is causing the brutal hauntings in that house. Sometimes it's better to let the past die.

Danielle Vega sure knows how to give Stephen King a run for his money. This was bizarre, extremely creepy and I loved it. It certainly brought back some memories of when I lived in a haunted house. This is a fast-paced story that will make your blood run cold. It's worth the constant feel of eyes on you.
Profile Image for Mariana.
392 reviews1,698 followers
March 21, 2020
Este libro es el equivalente a ver una película de terror con excelentes efectos especiales, pero con una historia más bien malona.
Las descripciones de los fantasmas y las escenas aterradoras son geniales, hay momentos verdaderamente de miedo... lo malo es que está aderezado con mucho sinsentido. ¿La trama del novio abusador? Irrelevante al final del día. Un triángulo amoroso muy mediocre. Unos papás que convenientemente salen cada día y dejan a la hija sola, no sé, creo que la autora pudo haberle echado un poquito más de ganas. Me encantaría leer un libro de terror escrito por ella que no sea juvenil.
Profile Image for Beyond Birthday.
143 reviews232 followers
March 24, 2019
Final buddy read of the year, sis! (Well, technically, maybe not. Maybe 2018 will be a doll and stretch itself out a wee bit so we can squeeze one more read...)
Whichever, happy reading and happy closing of buddy reads for 2018.

Profile Image for Mandy.
636 reviews67 followers
May 16, 2019
Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of a giveaway from Bookish First. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

Well, um, I wanted a ghostie book. And I did get a ghostie book. It just wasn't the ghostie book that I wanted. It's not the ghostie book we all deserved. It was just, um, yeah. It wasn't a good one. 

I think the biggest issue with this book was the fact that it pointed out multiple times that people were cliches. You are now sitting there going, "Um, what's the problem, Mandy? Sounds like this book is self-aware. Isn't that a jam to be had?"

And the answer is YES. It is. Except, well, it decided to do nothing with the self-awareness. Everyone literally fit into little pigeonholes with no depth or anything to move on the fact that they were, indeed, a cliche. For example: the brooding ~misunderstood~ bad boy from the wrong side of the small town that only peeks out of his ~misunderstood~ black outfit for the new girl. He has a tragic story, snarky and moody personality, and he, of course, has all the answers. Everything about him SCREAMS cliche.

Then add in the literal golden boy; the cool artsy friend that sticks out from the "mean" group; the classic frenemy popular girl; and Hendricks who tried really really hard to be something else besides a Mary Sue but failed - and that's our main cast. I just kept hoping that we would subvert the tropes and cliches, since the author was fully aware that they were there, but we did NOT. I knew instantly how each character was going to react/act/etc. because they were the cliches to the tee.

As I mentioned in the above character, I feel like the author did try to make Hendricks more than a Mary Sue, but things really did bog it down. Hendricks has a secret that she is keeping from everyone else, and it's the main reason why her family moved to this small town in the middle of the year and so quickly. She has an ex boyfriend that abused her, and as the story progresses, we find out more about her struggle to find out who she is. When she was dating her ex, she really was only defined her boyfriend, and I really wanted to see who she would become now that she could be herself.

However, the book's answer was to completely forget about this plotline and focus only on a) the ghosts and b) her love interests/new friend struggles. I was waiting to see who Hendricks would become, but honestly, I can't tell you any distinct characteristics about her or what she likes. Vega did some great things with it, and she did show what the aftermath of abuse does to you, but the follow through never came through. 

The plot was very intriguing at first. I was super pulled in with the first few chapters. It was chilling, and as I said, I was intrigued by Hendricks. I thought we had a lot of promise with the creepy ghost, the spooky atmosphere, and the promise of Hendricks's personal growth story. And it worked for a few chapters, but then it struggled. 

The struggle in plot came from the fact that it would be either really slow going or taking leaps that were super large. At some points, it felt too much like a contemporary, and then other parts, we jumped a lot in logic. Characters would be nothing at first, and then all of a sudden they were friends/in love? We had the ghost situation figured out, and then oh, OOPs no we don't and BIG things are happening? All within a chapter or so. 

Speaking of romances, I also felt no investments in any of them. In the beginning of the story, Hendricks continuously turns down the first love interest because she wants to find out who she is first before jumping into a new relationship. So I was ALL for that. However, she continues to get pushed into situations with him that put them into a romantic situation. But since he wasn't the brooding bad boy and this book was so cliche, I couldn't get invested in it since I knew he wasn't going to be the choice. It's them moody boys that gets them girls. Take notes, y'all. 

And then the romance with love interest number two? I felt like there was nothing for the longest time, and then all of a sudden there was a TON of feels and even the love word dropped and LIKE Y'ALL WE DON'T EVEN KNOW HIS NAME FOR LIKE 100 PAGES. It was way too fast, and like love interest number one and the boyfriend of the past were still things so how was I supposed to be invested in this dude??? 

The writing was okay, and there was a pretty spooky atmosphere. I will admit that I did have to scoot really quickly down a darkened hallway because there were some scary feels. I was intrigued by Hendricks's character growth when it was mentioned. There is a heavy amount of gore that I wasn't feeling and didn't think it was necessary, but skimming was fine. Therefore, it was sitting at 2 crowns for a really long time - until we got to the end. 

The ending was a HOT mess. The big "reveal" came kind of nowhere. Everything seemed to be solved, and I think the author wanted to everyone to go GASP PLOT TWIST. But it felt really forced, and I was confused by the sudden lurch of things. And then it didn't fully make sense, since Hendricks INSTANTLY knew things that I don't think I fully had all the pieces to put together. There was one part that was decently obvious, but other than that, it felt forced that Hendricks knew. And then the entire ending sequence felt so forced and just like we needed a tragic ending? Idk, it just didn't make sense overall, and everything just felt messy, unfinished, and unbelievable. It didn't sit well with me at all, and honestly put a pit in the bottom of my stomach. It instantly dropped down to a 1 crown for me instantly. 

Well, this was far longer than I thought this review would be. I'm just going to stop now before it gets even longer. Overall, the book had a lot of promise, but it ended up being a hot mess with so many cliches, gore, and more. 

rating: 1 crown & Snow White rating
representation: Latinx side character/love interest, Asian side character, lesbian side character, domestic/emotional abuse survivor 
content warnings: gore (heavy amount), violence against animals, violence, death, murder, domestic/emotional abuse in flashbacks, attempted rape (very brief setup of this - not much discussed but still there)
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,134 followers
June 29, 2020
Just a short sneak-peak, but we learn a lot, the story off and running.....

This is what I know so far.... A family of four relocate from Philadelphia to a small town (population 12,482) of Drearford, New York, one and a half hours north of Manhattan and four hours from Philadelphia, and its a dreary 22 degrees, a nasty kind of cold worse than that in Philly.

The parents flip houses for a living, but that's not the reason for the move this time around. Something bad happened involving teen daughter Hendricks that caused her to spend considerable time hidden in the closet, thus a fresh start was in order.

So.....the attractive newbie is welcomed at school and all seems well until her new residence, the haunted 'Steele House' is mentioned. Her house has a name? A dark history? Well, it doesn't take long for curious visitors to arrive and the presence to make itself known.

THE HAUNTED may be too young adult for me. Intrigued though by the creepy prologue I've not mentioned here and I have enjoyed many YA and even children's books.

Sneak-peak compliments of PENGUIN GROUP Penguin young readers group via NetGalley.

Profile Image for Amanda .
701 reviews13 followers
July 12, 2019
I had hoped to like this book more than I ended up liking it. One of the reasons for this was that it is classified as a horror story but it felt more like a contemporary with spooky vibes. One of my biggest problems with the story was that the main character, Hendricks, experienced unexplainable and unsettling happenings in her new home day 1. But instead of telling her parents or her new friends, she keeps her experiences all bottled up. Her justification behind this choice fell flat. She thought her parents would think she was crazy and send her to a therapist.

Also, there was a big aura of mystery behind Hendricks' relationship with her boyfriend and why her family decided to uproot themselves in the middle of the school year and move out of state for her sake. This was continually referred to throughout the story in passing but without any hints of substance and it was kind of irritating.

I will say that this story had continual moments of creepiness, something I was looking for inLock Every Door but never managed to feel fully satisfied about. This was a heavily plot-driven story but there were little moments throughout the story that were never adequately answered and were left unresolved. It is for this reason that I am not assigning this book a higher rating.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,532 reviews36 followers
June 14, 2019
This was a really fun haunted house story! It was suitably creepy and more than a little gory. There is some animal death so be aware if you are sensitive to that topic. It's more of a mention and not graphic or detailed violence to an animal. There is a lot of suspense and tension while you wait to see what horrible thing will happen next. It made me want to keep listening into the night. The characters I liked didn't get the ending I had hoped for but it made sense for the story. The last bit became very much like a horror movie and had a touch of camp, but I think the best horror is able to mock itself a little.

I listened to the audiobook and the narration was excellent. Each character sounded different and I loved her voice for the cat meowing and the creepy doll. Listening made this a lot creepier!
Profile Image for Kristen Peppercorn .
551 reviews96 followers
February 11, 2019
I won a free copy of this book from Bookish First in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, so before this turns into a big, long rant, I want to say that the first half of this book was amazing! The writing is truly great. The pacing is fast and exciting. The horror aspect is refreshingly different for the YA genre. I was truly enjoying myself and hoped to be writing a review about a 5 star book in the end.

However, that's not exactly what ended up happening. I'm not going to spoil anything for you, because I'm not about that lifestyle, but just trust me on this one, the ending is trash. You will get mad. You may even laugh. I don't know. Depends on what kind of person you are and how you get your jollies, I suppose. The point is, that ending made me lose all respect for this book immediately.

Anywho, a minor issue I had with this book was that none of the characters, possibly excluding Eddie (omg poor Eddie lol), were likeable. Like, at all. They were very accurate portrayals of modern teenagers, I'll give you that. But as I'm sure most of you already know, a lot of modern teenagers kinda suck. Even so, I don't think that really took too much away from the story, because the characters sucked, but it was kind of in a fun, campy way, if you know what I mean. Kinda like how Mean Girls portrayed teens. Like that.

Now for the big RANT portion of my review!


You CANNOT. I repeat, you CAN NOT, fall in love with someone after hanging out with them for like a total of 5 hours, over the course of a few days. I don't care how hot the guy is! I don't care if he is dreamier than a freaking ice cream sundae with all the fudge and toppings, real LOVE does not happen like that. It takes time to develop. All of the feelings that come before real LOVE, is called LIKE. Stay with me now. I know this sounds crazy, but hear me out. Having a CRUSH, is not the same thing as being in LOVE. I swear to Goooosh if I read one more YA book where the teens think they are seriously in LOVE after 45 seconds I am going to rip out the pages and chew and swallow them and poop them out so that they end up in the toilet where they belong.

Thank you.

That is all.

Have a wonderful day.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,084 reviews2,945 followers
July 19, 2019
3.0 Stars
Video Review: https://youtu.be/46yjsV9yAqY

As a huge of The Merciless, I was eager to check out the newest novel by Danielle Vega. I didn't expect to love this one as much as The Merciless, because I prefer exorcisms over haunted house. Yet, even with tempered expectations, I was still disappointed by this one.

This is a young adult horror novel that unfortunately suffered from all the tropes of the genre. Despite being classified as horror, the majority of this novel read like a contemporary story. The main character was more worried about making friends and fitting in than the strange occurrences happening in her own home. The romance , which included a dreaded love triangle, just felt unnecessary.

Otherwise, this was a decent novel with a couple of good gory scenes. I appreciate that Vega is willing to "go there" in her stories even though she writes for a younger audience.

So if you are looking to read something by this author, I would personally recommend reading her backlist title, The Merciless, because it actually broke out of the young adult box. However, if you normally enjoy most young adult horror novels with all cliches, you will likely enjoy this one more than I did.
Profile Image for ☾.
225 reviews1 follower
December 15, 2021
3.8 stars. I LOVE A BOOK WITH ACTUAL CONSEQUENCES!!! rarely do i get to read books that have actual consequences, so thank you danielle vega :)
Profile Image for OutlawPoet.
1,205 reviews69 followers
April 8, 2019
So honestly, I'm constantly surprised by the comparisons between Vega and King. I don't really get it, except...they both write horror?

This is a good, clean, YA novel. You have a girl who is a bit of an outsider with a past who moves to a small town and this town has secrets...secrets that lead back to the house her parents just bought.

The story is highly suspenseful (never scary) and only gets the tiniest bit gruesome toward the end. You do have a love triangle (sigh) and a bad boy (a different kind of sigh). I did like our characters very much, but did not love our ending.

Overall, a good book that will likely please people who like their stories a little bit spooky without ever getting scary.
Profile Image for Angela Staudt.
374 reviews107 followers
June 29, 2020
The Haunted is an insanely fast paced read full of chilling scenes, this is definitely not a book you want to read at night. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this book, and while it was a little cliché in the plot department, I think it was written very well. I really enjoyed Danielle Vega’s Merciless series because she does not mind gore, and truly demented characters. Vega does it again with The Haunted, but her writing got immensely better!

Hendricks and her family move to a new town after some bad things happen with Hendricks and her ex-boyfriend. Everyone in this town seem to know about the house they moved in to, and Hendricks new friends let her know it’s haunted. I say its cliché because obviously strange things start happening and a dark and brooding boy lives next door that may have the answers. They may or may not have teamed up to figure out what is going on and try to stop evil. While this did have a similar plot as a lot of YA horro novels, I think the author threw in some very unique twists and turns. If I’m reading a horror book, I want to get so freaked out I have to stop reading. Every single one of Vega’s books has done that.

While the ending could have been drawn out more, I have to admit so much was going on that my eyes were glued to the pages. Some of what happens near the end is a little unbelievable, but all in all it was a great end to the book. If you’re looking for a truly creepy book full of twists, I would highly suggest this!
Profile Image for Camden Johnson.
262 reviews28 followers
May 5, 2021
This was my first Danielle Vega book and I’m finally glad to have read something from her. “Haunted” is very much a cliche YA paranormal book which can be either be good or bad. The writing was kind of cringy at times but the paranormal part of the book had me hooked and I was intrigued by everything. However, one of the main letdowns of this book is the love aspect. Sure it was sweet, but I felt like it was forced and just made the story slack a little. I also felt that Hendricks friends should have had a more pivotal role towards the end of the book but they seemed kind of dismissed. It wasn’t a terrible book but it wasn’t anything spectacular either. I enjoyed the suspenseful and paranormal parts but I could have done without the whole romantic aspect.
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,724 reviews295 followers
May 29, 2020
Ok so parts of this were really creepy. So props on that. You don't read a lot of YA horror so it's nice to come across it every once in awhile.

Hendricks and her family just moved into the Steele House in Drearfield, New York. She quickly finds out that the house her parents are restoring has a history, and not a good one. Multiple murders have happened over the years and Hendricks has started seeing things - things that don't make sense. When these ghostly spirits attack someone she loves, she knows it's time to take action.

I liked Hendricks. She's been through some stuff in her past which is why her family moved, and while I expected it to be a little darker and heavier than it was, I can see how it still affected her. I do feel like she would benefit from talking to someone about everything she went through. Because after this book, it's a lot.

This was my first read from Vega and I found her writing easy to get into to. She set the scene really well and you could easily visualize everything that was happening. All of the hauntings and ghost interactions were very detailed and vivid. They were also super creepy and disturbing. I just had a few issues with the book. The first was the almost insta-love that happened between two characters. There just didn't seem to be enough of a buildup to find that believable. My other issue was the ending. I wish that it had been explored more instead of how quickly everything was revealed. I just feel like there was so much in that reveal but we never got to fully understand the depths of it. It was just like a solution thrown out real quickly.

I see that there will be another book for this and I will read it because I want to know if more is explained.
Profile Image for ac.
621 reviews111 followers
June 8, 2019
It's Danielle Vega, so naturally I love it.

This book is about a girl named Hendricks who moves into a house where a young girl was murdered. It doesn't take long before spooky shit starts happening - creepy disembodied voices, meowing from a cat that she doesn't have, the smell of her abusive ex-boyfriend's cologne, and a steak knife through her door.

This book has dark family secrets, ghosts, a delicious mystery and Danielle Vega's incredible voice for horror. As a fan of the Merciless series, it was a no-brainer for me to pick this book up. While I have a few things that I wish had been fleshed out more, I'll never rate someone down because I want more of a book.

This is wonderful, perfect for fall/Halloween times (though it takes place in winter).

Trigger warnings for animal death, harm to a child, and general torture/death.
Profile Image for thi.
667 reviews83 followers
July 3, 2019
- miss Vega where’d my campy horror queen go
- don’t get me wrong this book is creepy .. but it’s nothing like her other horror books which are INSANE and violent (in a fun way imo) and I LOVE them
- When it was creepy it was creepy otherwise it was boring .. idk
- Also the 2 boys with insta-crushes, pass
- I could dig a little deeper and see how the hauntings were an allegory of the after effects of hendrick’s past abusive relationship ... which I see but still ..
- I love and miss the campiness of vega’s other books
Profile Image for Tracy (Cornerfolds).
569 reviews200 followers
May 26, 2019
Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!

I am a huge fan of The Merciless series! I read them as they were released and really enjoyed every one. I was constantly impressed with Vega's ability to write truly scary horror novels for a YA audience and was excited to pick up The Haunted. I was able to trade for a copy with a friend and was eager to dive into this new, hopefully terrifying story.

This book revolves around Hendricks and her family after a move to a small town where they buy an old house with a bad reputation. The house the family chooses to renovate has a history of murder and suicide and is rumored to be haunted, so of course strange things start happening almost immediately after the family moves in. Unfortunately, that's almost the extent of the horror in this "horror" novel.

While Hendricks is okay as a character, I just got way more information about her than I ever would have needed. I don't need tons of character development, romance, or backstory in my horror novels, but this one was primarily about a girl's experience as a student at a new high school than it was about a haunted house. This book had a love triangle, high school clique drama, a crazy ex boyfriend, and a handful of creepy scenes. As much as I hate YA contemporary romance, that's really what I got with this new Vega book and I am disappointed.

The horror aspects of the book were pretty well done, but they were way too few and far between. I loved The Merciless for genuinely creeping me out, and there were a couple of creepy scenes in The Haunted, but not nearly enough to warrant the title. I did really enjoy the mystery of the house and why it was haunted, though. The ghosts had interesting stories and the resolution was satisfying.

If you're like me, looking for a super scary horror book, this isn't going to be it. If, however, you're new to YA or prefer more tame spookiness in a book that mainly focuses on the YA contemporary romance aspects of the story, you'll probably love this! It was an okay story, but ultimately wasn't what I was hoping for. I recently picked up Survive the Night by the same author and I'm really hoping that's more my speed!

Actual rating: 2.5 stars
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.9k reviews361 followers
June 21, 2019
A girl moves to a new home... only to find out that she and her family aren't the only ones living there.

This my very first Danielle Vega book that I finished and liked. Wow. I kind of had given up this writer, I have tried all her books (at least the first books if it is a series) and I dropped them all somewhere while reading. But since I was in the mood for a creepy-crawly and spooky book I decided to just try it one more time. One more shot. And I am so glad I did it because this was just wonderful. It had all the right ingredients + a dash of more.

Meet Hendricks (whose name I thought was her surname and not her first name for a bit) a girl who has moved to this new town. She has a past and we slowly find out what has happened, I have to say given how affected she was (+ how the author wrote things) I thought he did WAY more than what he did. Not saying that the things he did were OK or wouldn't cause trauma, but I had expected um, other things to have happened given how she at times just seemed to lapse into the past again. I hope I don't kick anyone in the knees with this, I don't mean this in a bad way, I can probably explain it better in telling someone or writing it in Dutch. It is so hard to find words in English at times or get my thought sorted out in English.
She is eager to start fresh, though it seems that she can't let go of her past lover yet, though as she tells the reader often it is not that she loves him, she just misses the feeling she had before things went dark and bad. I can understand that.
She settles in and quickly finds a group that takes her under their wing, for which I was so happy. I know how hard it is to make friends, and for her to have them so fast was just wonderful.
However she notices that things are strange in her home. There are sounds that shouldn't be happening, there are things crawling around, she hears people but there is no one, and there is more. She slowly learns more of the home and what is happening, though it takes her very long before she undertakes action and even longer before she figures out what is happening. What those 3 guys want that are haunted her house, her life.

The haunting was absolutely spooky and creepilicious, at times a tad gruesome. I read this book partially before I went to sleep which wasn't a good idea. :P I got goosebumps every time something happened and every sound in my new home had me up a mile in the air. :P I just loved how well the haunting was written. It was as if I was there, with Hendricks, hearing and smelling those things. Knowing that something is near, but never knowing how to defend oneself or what to do about it. Things escalate as the story continues and holy wow that ending was just absolutely bonkers and mad but also pretty epic (and quite a bit gruesome, staples... and what you can do with them).

We also learn that a couple of years before Hendricks arrives there was a murder in the basement of her new home. Yup. A little girl was killed there. :( You can imagine that she already wasn't a fan of the house due to the spooky stuff but learning that made her really NOPE out, and I would have done the same.

The parents, as expected, didn't see anything and didn't believe our MC. This is typical for hauntings, there is always one who can see/notice things and someone who doesn't believe/doesn't notice. And sure, I can also understand that her parents just thought she was still recovering from what happened with her ex-boyfriend and what he did to her. That she saw things because of that. Still, I had hoped that they would be a bit more understanding and not left her so often alone.

We learn through the ghosts what has happened to them, which is something I have seen more often in other haunted house books. Ghosts are set to relive their gruesome deaths.

I am still not sure how I felt about Portia or the other girl whose name I already forgot :P. On the one hand they seem like really fun and interesting girls, but on the other hand they were quite mean towards those outside of their circle.

The book loses a couple of points for the love triangle that felt absolutely unneeded. It could have done without it. I think it was pretty hurtful for Connor, a sweet lovely boy who falls in love with our MC, but when she tells him she wants to take it slowly he accepts. Which is totally sweet of him. He is willing to wait. But in the mean time this girl, who wanted space and room, kisses with another guy, and even

I am still not entirely sure how I felt about the ending, on the one hand WOW, on the other hand, whut?

All in all though I had fun reading this one and I flew through it. I will definitely give Danielle Vega another try if she writes another spooky story, this book has motivated me to try again. I would recommend this one to everyone looking for a spooky creepy read, but be warned of the love triangle.

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
Profile Image for Grace.
929 reviews73 followers
April 5, 2023
I liked this fine for the most part. It didn’t really stand out from most haunted house stories, and it wasn’t super scary. The ending was definitely unexpected and a risk, but in my opinion it was unsatisfying.
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,562 reviews259 followers
June 4, 2020
DNF'd @ 25%

I was really looking forward to this since I've really enjoyed Vega's The Merciless, but unfortunately The Haunted just wasn't working for me at all.
Profile Image for Julie.
1,838 reviews138 followers
July 23, 2019
I... just- what? Like what was that ending? I'm just at a loss for words tbh.

This honestly isn't Danielle Vega's best work. The ending bumped it up or lessened it depending on how you look at it. Lmao that ending was sooo dumb. I'm astounded. I both hated and loved it. This book bounces between being slightly creepy and then super cheesy. I did get slight "It" vibes in the beginning which is I guess where the Stephen King comparisons come from. I have many questions about a lot of things that happened in the book. I feel like a lot of things were left unanswered or answered very vaguely.

I don't know this book was mostly just OKAY. Like it wasn't good and it wasn't bad. Danielle Vega's writing has gotten better too. Not as cringey as it used to be. I'm disappointed that I feel so meh about it. Maybe the next book will be better.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 620 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.