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Catherine House

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Trust us, you belong here.

A gothic-infused debut of literary suspense, set within a secluded, elite university and following a dangerously curious, rebellious undergraduate who uncovers a shocking secret about an exclusive circle of students . . . and the dark truth beneath her school's promise of prestige.

Catherine House is a school of higher learning like no other.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 12th 2020 by Custom House
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  • Catherine House by Elisabeth    Thomas
    Catherine House
    Release date: May 12, 2020
    Enter for your chance to win an Advance Reader's Edition CATHERINE HOUSE, the gothic-infused debut by Elisabeth Thomas.

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    Availability: 100 copies available, 5415 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Feb 05 - Feb 25, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Melissa There is some romance towards the second half of the book, but it's definitely not the focus. There is some sexual content as well, but nothing…moreThere is some romance towards the second half of the book, but it's definitely not the focus. There is some sexual content as well, but nothing graphic or explicit. They're more like "closed door" sex scenes where you know what's happening, or what's just happened, but no overt descriptions of sex. In my opinion, any discussions of sex, sexuality or romance definitely serve character and plot development and don't feel extraneous.(less)

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 3.46  · 
    Rating details
     ·  142 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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    Nilufer Ozmekik
    Jan 25, 2020 rated it liked it
    School of selected, special, successful, superior students (too many S letters in a sentence seems like special spell. Oh no! Again too many s letters make me feel like stuck in a spell) made me think: Hey, we have some kind gothic, intriguing thriller, more understandable and less brain cell killer version of Ninth House (yes, I was not intelligent enough to enjoy that book.) or some kind of Truly Devious trilogy’s murder mystery with just a little Hogswarts vibes.

    I have to emphasize that
    Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
    Recommends it for: fans of Never Let Me Go
    Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    DNF ~40%.

    I wasn’t sure what to expect from Catherine House, and it ended up being very different from the types of books I usually read. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; I think it’s important to try new things and expand your horizons. But it also might partially explain why this one wasn’t for me.

    The synopsis of this book compares it to Never Let Me Go. The two aren’t exactly
    Amy Imogene Reads
    Jan 27, 2020 marked it as to-read
    This is such a pretty ARC, and it’s giving me all kinds of Secret History and If We Were Villains vibes...and it’s blurbed by Rory Power. YES!

    Thank you to Custom House - William Morrow for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
    Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    **I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.**

    Throughout the whole time I was reading this book I was hard-pressed to articulate why, exactly, I was enjoying it so much but now I feel sure that it's because this book does pretty much the exact opposite of what you expect it to. A narrator arrives at an austere and beautiful but also quasi-cult-like school that just so happens to be in control of a mysterious substance? Well, obviously our plucky heroine is going to spend the majority of her
    Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it
    I was really excited for this one., For no reason it turns out. The characters were undeveloped and the pace was slow.. It would be better labeled a "novel" than psychological thriller because this book never gets you on the edge of the seat. I instead fell asleep.
    Jan 22, 2020 is currently reading it
    Shelves: netgalley
    I requested this book ages ago and I've already given up on but it was approved just now!!
    That cover tho...
    Richelle Robinson
    * I won a copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review.*

    As much as I wanted to like this book, it didn’t work out in my favor. I didn’t really care for the main character Ines. I feel she is written in a way that you will either like or dislike her character. I did like Yaya who is a secondary character.

    The book started off slow but I knew that was needed to set the scene for the
    Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Whew, what a book! Sort of somewhere between Donna Tartt and Jeff Vandermeer, but also its own thing. Can't wait for others to read this one.
    Jo Oleksy
    Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: first-reads
    *I received an ARC of this book via Goodreads Firstreads*

    I loved this book and the characters. But I don’t easily dislike books, I always tend to rate high because I just go by how they make me feel and then I get to a book I love even more and can’t give it more than 5 stars.

    Whatever you think this book is going to be like, it isn’t. It’s bigger and more descriptive and moody and velvety and the characters are all complicated.

    We’re all infinitely connected, all part of the same structure.

    Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
    So, it just didn't work for me. I'm not sure to whom they are going to market this book, but it certainly shouldn't be for adults. This is an easy read with uncomplicated ideas, and has more of a young adult feel.

    Even so, I didn't really connect with the characters or the plot — the characters and the story are just not really compelling. There are several plotlines that just do not play out well, especially the most important one of "plasma." I can appreciate the attempt, but the execution
    Donna Hines
    Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: arc, netgalley
    Catherine House lures readers in with passion, intensity, and a fire in the belly that never fades!
    Having grown up in rural Pennsylvania I can relate to this nightmarish boarding school that makes many promises but delivers nothing but nightmares.
    Catherine House is a 'community of minds' and what many fail to realize is there's educational smarts, streets smarts aka life of hard knocks, and there's common sense.
    Which avenue you choose depends on many factors such as upbringing, education,
    Feb 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
    “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a good starting point to explain how I felt about this book. My order of selection is usually as follows: the book covers pique my interest, the title makes me pick up the book, and the plot summary seals the deal. I chose Catherine House for its covers’ beautiful color combination - the blue and pink swirling on the gate. The title was intriguing enough and the plot summarized a “gothic-infused debut of literary suspense.” SOLD. I’m here thinking I’m about ...more
    Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Catherine House is an elite, mysterious institute of higher learning nestled in the woods of rural Pennsylvania. Its students endure a rigorous application and interview process, and once accepted, the education they receive is quite intense. The students are completely isolated: they can't leave at all during their three years at Catherine, nor can they even call their parents unless they have an absurd number of "points." Moreover, they're told to completely dissociate themselves from their ...more
    Tara Weiss
    Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
    When Madeleine L'Engle wrote A Wrinkle in Time the novel was intended for adults, but it was instead published as a book for children. I think that's the misstep with Catherine House. This reads as a YA novel, not a work of fiction for adults . . . adults may not be willing to accept the concept of plasma as it lacks any developed scientific analysis. A teenage audience will relate to Ines and her lack of direction, her dalliances, and her desire to discover the secrets of Catherine.
    Dec 17, 2019 marked it as to-read
    wow, this sounds like Ninth House...but better...
    Dec 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
    Shelves: 2019-reads
    Just did not care about the characters or the story. DNF at 50%.
    Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
    I am a great lover of stories about exclusive private schools, and when insidious conspiracies are thrown in the mix, out comes what is perhaps my absolute favorite fictional genre. As result, CATHERINE HOUSE was a book I was nearly giddy to read because it promised everything I loved – a strong female protagonist, an elite college, and a mystery with a potential conspiracy and/or culty twist.

    …and honestly, I was a little disappointed. There is so much potential here – there is this huge,
    Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Jessica (BlogEared Books)
    Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
    Shelves: netgalley
    I went through quite a few emotions while reading this but the one feeling that stay consistent was confusion. I just finished it and am so confused and honestly a little frustrated that I read the whole thing, hoping for something that made any kind of sense.

    I love boarding house books- and when this book began I got a "Down a Dark Hall" vibe- my favorite book by Lois Duncan. The house was spooky, each person in the house seemed to have a certain talent and they referred to the house as if it
    Hillary Baker
    Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for providing me with an ARC of Catherine House!
    What a strange nightmare of a book! This was not what I expected at all, but I did really enjoy it. On its surface, Catherine House is a campus novel, though this college campus is unlike any other. The students spend three years on their education, never leaving, only allowed outside items from a commissary. If that sounds like's not far off. The narrator, Ines is introduced to this strange world,
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
    This novel is a suspensefulmystery set in an isolated, exclusive university catering to a specific group of students. The question is why these students and what exactly are they studying? The school has an amazing track record of elite graduates but just what did they have to give up to attend Catherine House? The story centers on Ines who is a somewhat reluctant and skeptical enrollee who begins to question the university's methods. She starts to work at infiltrating the chosen inner circle ...more
    Jessie Sedai of the Black Ajah🥀🐍
    I don't think I'm smart enough to enjoy this book.

    It reminded me of art history class - staring at priceless scribbles for hours and rolling my eyes when the professor would say "the artwork is not on the canvas, it's how it makes you feel."

    Well, this book left me feeling profoundly confused, disturbed, and a little grumpy, primarily for the lack of payoff after a buildup that is stretched day in and day out over the course of three years of college. And for all of the mystery and intrigue of
    Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Catherine House is a modern gothic with a whole melancholic mood. Dark and mysterious, Elisabeth Thomas lures us deeper into the titular school with each chapter.

    Our protagonist, Ines, introspective and restless in her new adulthood, explores what it means to belong with/to an institution. At Catherine, there is the day that you matriculate, and then there is the “coming in,” the day your institutionalization really begins. It’s a quiet, dreadful terror to watch Ines gradually become seduced,
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    A wildly impressive debut. Emphasis on the wild part. But quietly wild, if you’ll permit such a typically incongruous combination of words.

    The book is “quietly wild” in the way that the best gothic build books are. This is indeed a slow burn (even the climax is more of a sinister simmer than an explosive denouement), but like all solid gothic, it boasts an off-the-charts sense of atmosphere and setting.

    The plot is more suspense/coming-of-age than true gothic horror (Think Donna Tartt mixed
    Laurel F.
    Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
    Catherine House
    Background: Trust us, you belong here. Catherine House is an elite and prestigious school unlike no other. It’s produced some of the world’s most influential people. Once in, students are required to give 3 years to the house, including summers secluded from the outside world. Enter Ines, a rebellious undergraduate student who can’t stop looking for answers. She’s hoping to uncover the secrets and dark truths about Catherine House. .
    Why I thought it was ok: I was
    Jaime Andrews
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: giveaways
    Catherine House is one of those books you love for the atmosphere above all else. In the beginning, there are very strong Haunting of Hill House-esque vibes (the book, not the show) in that nothing is explicitly wrong, just very creepy. There's also a healthy dose of unreliable narrator going on.

    As you move through the book, the atmospheric descriptions change as the narrators opinion of the situation changes. While not the most subtle, it creates a nice shape to the storytelling. A very
    Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
    Shelves: 2020
    Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    Catherine House was The Secret History meets The Stepford Wives, with a little bit of Us (Jordan Peele's recent movie) thrown in. I've only been able to describe this as weird. It's weird, but kind of fun. Kind of.

    Ines is a college freshman running from her past. Surprisingly, she's accepted into Catherine House, a secluded and isolated college where everything is paid for -
    Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: ya-kid-lit
    This story pulls readers in with its many dark corners, hints of sinister plots, and the back stories of the characters that are slowly revealed in bits and pieces, but never completely told. Just as the students at Catherine House are unable to leave once they enter the gates, we are unable to put the book down until we uncover the truth. What is going on in this shabby, once grand mansion? Why are the students committed to a three-year course with no outside contact? What is plasm and what ...more
    Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    The book summary of Catherine House provided by Goodreads is an excellent introduction to what happens in the plotline. What it does not capture is the overwhelming atmosphere of the book. For me, that is the dominant feeling after finishing the story. There is a slow-creep sense of impending problems.

    Imagine floodwaters approaching your home. The waters rise slowly, but you know with great certainty that those waters will reach your house. It’s beautiful—but in a horrible way. That’s how this
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    Elisabeth Thomas grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where she still lives and now writes. She graduated from Yale University and currently works as an archivist for a modern art museum. CATHERINE HOUSE is her first novel.