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From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.

Following her father's death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor's doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone . . . and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident "bad seed," struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane's mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won't reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the "storage room" her mom has kept locked isn't for storage at all—it's a little girl's bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears . . .

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more . . . horrid?

327 pages, Hardcover

First published September 15, 2020

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About the author

Katrina Leno

10 books1,032 followers
Katrina Leno has written a few books. She has also read a few books. Ah, books. You know?

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,037 reviews
Profile Image for Kat.
259 reviews78.7k followers
February 20, 2021
i would eat this book
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,153 reviews97.7k followers
November 3, 2020

OwlCrate's September 2020 Box : My Rep Code: MEL10 ❤️

ARC provided by The Novl

"Three little girls all eating things they weren’t supposed to eat. Three little girls all eating things in order to fill their bodies with something other than the anger, the rage, that would otherwise consume them."

I have loved Katrina’s books for so long and each of them are equal parts whimsically beautiful and intensely raw. From Summer of Salt and You Must Not Miss are still my favorites by her, but if you are looking for something very spooky, very introspective, and very profound this fall season, then I really recommend Horrid with my full heart. And this Agatha Christie vibe check will make so many of you happy, I just know it.

Jane has recently lost her father to a heart attack, and her and her mother are forced to leave their California home and move back to her mother’s childhood home in a very small town in Maine. Not only is the shift from west coast to east coast big, because LA and New England are so very different, but it is also the extra hurt from leaving everything she has ever known, and the mystery surrounding her family and the big house that she now has to call home.

Her mother made it a point for them to never travel out east to see where she grew up, and she is very secretive about her upbringing and the reason she left so quickly to the west coast. Yet, after people in town treat Jane a little differently when they realize who her family is (and where she is living), curiosity starts to be peaked. Oh, and especially because the house seems very haunted. From Jane seeing lights turn on upstairs by themselves, to hearing music being played by no one, to having mysterious object interacting with her, to the roses in the garden growing back regardless of how hard her mother tries to kill them.

"I think you’ve had a tremendous loss. And grief manifests itself in unpredictable ways."

We get to see so much grieving in this book. People grieving their pasts, people grieving loved ones, people grieving the unknown, people grieving so loudly it feels palpable. It is very intense, and it feels very real, and very harrowing. There are truly so many ways to grieve, and so many ways to cope with that grief, and this book very much explores that. And this book very much talks about how the weight of grief can be all consuming and the most heaviest of all things to carry. And sometimes grieving isn’t only sadness and weeping, but it can be anger and violence.

"She felt like her hands didn’t belong to her, like her skin didn’t belong to her. Like the only thing real and true in her body was the anger."

We also get to see Jane (and other characters) show their anger in very not okay ways. Jane does not handle her triggers in a healthy way, and we also get to see many flashbacks from the past that she has blocked out even. Jane has present day moments of blacking out that really makes her a bit of an unreliable narrator. Yet, I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read where the main character is dealing (and suffering) from their anger management issues.

Ever since Jane was a young girl, and her feelings and anger were overwhelming to her, she sought comfort by eating pages out her books and then replacing those hollowed out books with fresh pages that she could journal in. Pica is disorder where a human will eat things with no nutritional value for a number of reasons, and there are so many components of this disorder and such levels (from ice to sharp objects to poisonous things!), and sometimes this overlaps with other health conditions (like OCD or anemia), but this is a main component of this book, and I have never experienced this before so I’m not sure how people will feel about how it was represented.

"She imagined the paper re-forming in her belly. She imagined the words dissolving off the paper and sinking into her bloodstream. She imagined her body filled with words. Made up of them. Words instead of blood, words instead of organs."

I also think there is a discussion to be had about mental health and how genetics can very much pass down mental health issues. Also, how important it is for parents to recognize these signs and be in check with their own mental health, so that they can help their children get help if they need it. This isn’t an easy book to read at times, and I think people are going to feel a vast range of emotions for Jane and her mom, but I think their situation is very real and something that needs to be talked about a whole lots more. Depression, and anger issues, and unhealthy spiral grieving is a hell of a combination, but one that is a big reality for so many.

I have loved Katrina’s writing forever now. I feel like she just has such a gift, and her prose is some of the most beautiful in the whole entire world, truly. Yet, her words are so very raw and so very sharp every book. The combination is quite jarring, and the impact is felt very deeply, and her writing is very unforgettable. In addition to the imagery of this small town, or this extremely spooky house, of all these characters dealing with grief so very differently, the entire atmosphere of this story is perfectly done in my opinion.

The reason this isn’t a five star for me (even though it is so close) is because of the ending. Katrina is notorious for ending books in a way that makes the reader think for themselves and kind of pick the ending they want to see most. Which I do adore so much, but this was one I just wanted a tiny bit more from, because I feel like the ending was actually pretty straightforward for the most part. Like, I truly can’t say anything without completely ruining this spooky tale, and maybe it was the perfect ending for a thrilling tale! But I do know I will be thinking a lot about a teddy bear for many moons to come.

"She leaned into it gratefully, letting it fill her, letting it wash over her in a warm embrace. With it, she was not alone. She was never alone. She let it carry her into darkness."

Overall, this is just the perfect read for this autumn season if you’re looking for something a little spooky, very beautifully written, with very important themes that I don’t see talked about as much as I wish they were. All of Katrina’s books are just bright lights in the YA genre, even when they are spooky thrillers with a maybe unreliable narrator! I never wanted to stop reading this, and when I wasn’t reading this I was thinking about it nonstop. I really recommend this one with my whole heart, and I can’t wait to see what will come next from one of my favorite authors of all time.

Trigger and Content Warnings: pica (mostly xylophagia/paper, but mention of hair and flowers, too!), loss of a parent, loss of a sibling, loss of a child, talk of hospitalization, intense grief depictions, intense depictions of anger issues, blood depictions, panic attacks, depictions of situations that could make one feel claustrophobic, underage drinking, brief mention of animal abuse in past, child abuse in the past.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with Maëlys & Lea! ❤
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
884 reviews3,025 followers
January 27, 2022

It’s been a while since I have read a good y/a horror mystery and the I would be lying if I didn’t say that the main two reasons that I was drawn to this book was because ,

1.That deliciously creepy cover, this cover has definitely made it into my best covers list for 2020.

2. For my everlasting love for Agatha Christie references, and ohh boy this book was full of them!
And I got added bonus of Small town mysteries, mother-daughter relationship, siblings, dysfunctional family , some of my fav tropes!

“Three little girls all eating things they weren’t supposed to eat. Three little girls all eating things in order to fill their bodies with something other than the anger, the rage, that would otherwise consume them.”

Well lets dive into the detailed review, but before that TW:-


Well speaking of the plot it wasn’t something original but then again it’s a horror story, from years we all have been listening the stories of haunted house, small town mysteries and dysfunctional families, and it never fail to amaze us, well same wit this book the plot is simple yet engaging and what makes it engaging is the characters and the writing skill ( I will talk about that later on). Leno touches on some different themes throughout Horrid including loss, grief, mental illness, the mother/daughter relationship, intergenerational trauma, and paranormal activity. All of these themes impact one another and intertwine effortlessly with each other. As the reader makes their way through Horrid they will notice how the paranormal things that happen in North Manor start out slowly and then build up to the end, this same thing happens with the other themes in the story, they all increase together creating a climactic end that you won’t see coming. Overall , the story is well thought out and everything had its place and purpose.

” These old towns all have histories. Some of them are darker than others.”


Well I don’t have any particular liking for any character , but they are developed beautifully, and I don’t blame them for their actions because if I would have been in their places I think I would have done same things ( yesssss, I am talking about that ending).

Jane lover of books, especially Agatha Christie novels, and suffers from a terrible anger that seems to only be eased when she eats paper from books (which is known as pica and I have read first time about it). What is so fascinating about Jane is that she is so level-headed and strong yet she still is shown to have these flaws, something that a lot of authors seem to forget about when creating characters. Jane and her mother both seem to deal with the same anger issues, something that Jane has had trouble controlling her entire life.

I appreciate author for creating such a realistic characters and such a perfect-dysfunctional family.


And OMGGGG can we take a minute to appreciate the way the whole book is crafted like starting with a nursery name and naming each chapter with a line of rhyme , this was a really genius! The writing in Horrid is incredibly fluid and engaging from the very beginning which captures reader’s attention from the very start and Leno has created an entertaining novel that is very easy to read. The amount of details that Leno went into describing the decrepit state of North Manor made me feel like I truly stepped into a house of horrors alongside Jane and Ruth. Everything about North Manor made my skin crawl. I personally devoured Horrid in a day and was engaged the entire time and I advise you to do the same. And the way her pica is addressed and handled is really fascinating, and something that I have never seen in YA.

4. Agatha Christie references

As a diehard fan of Agatha , I can’t help but notice all the 24 times her name is mentioned in the book and I agree with every reference, every claim they made about her except that AND THEN HERE WERE NONE is not her best book I think it is!
Apart from that the genius MRS. MC GRNITY’S reference was my favorite.

“Agatha Christie?”
“Yeah. She’s great.”
“I could never get into her,” he said, shrugging. “It’s impossible to figure out who the murderer is.”
“That’s exactly why I like them. Once you get to the end, you realize that you should’ve known all along.”

Yesss Jane!


Overall I really enjoyed it, it could have been better but I guess it was near perfect to me.
Totally recommended.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,427 reviews9,025 followers
November 29, 2022
After her Dad's unexpected passing, Jane and her mom, Ruth, are forced to leave their California home behind and move to Ruth's home-state of Maine.

Due to money troubles, Ruth wouldn't be able to keep them in their long-time family home, but she did recently inherit the house she grew up in. It may be on the other coast, but it's paid in full. Problem solved, so off they go.

While it's not ideal, Jane seems to be handling it all fairly well. Maybe it is due to the numbness she feels about her Dad's passing. It's like she's seeing the world through a haze; it's surreal.

Arriving at North Manor, they find it in quite a state of disrepair. Add it to the list of unpleasant circumstances lately, but regardless, they know they can make it work.

As Fall, the most perfect season of the year arrives, Jane begins to settle into life in their new town. While she makes a couple of good friends, she also seems to draw the attention of the local bully, Melanie.

Melanie seems to have a particular distaste for Jane; it's a little strange considering they only just met. It's like Melanie's holding a grudge against her, but why?

It's not just Melanie though. There's something about the house itself that's off. Jane feels unsettled there and she's experiencing things she can't explain.

Her Mother also seems to be spiraling now that they are back in her childhood home. Jane suddenly feels the need to learn why Ruth left all those years ago, and why did she never choose to return?

Horrid is an another fabulous example of Katrina Leno's unique style. Leno's writing is beautiful, introspective and always seems to tackle fairly heavy topics with grace.

In this one, as the truth behind North Manor, and all that occurred there, was slowly revealed, I was completely drawn in. I could picture it all playing out extremely vividly.

The Horror imagery was well done in my opinion and I enjoyed how Leno structured the reveals. It kept me engaged throughout. I needed answers!

As always, I appreciated how much substance Leno brought to the table with this. Jane is a character struggling with grief, loss and self-doubt; all while outwardly projecting that she is okay.

I think masking one's negative emotions behind a cloak of, I'm fine, is something a lot of Readers will be able to relate to.

Additionally, Jane finds comfort in books and there was quite a few references to Dame Agatha Christie and her works. It's hard not to find that endearing.

Trigger warning for self-soothing via

Overall, I felt this was really well done and I enjoyed my time with it. It included a lot of tropes I tend to enjoy, such as long-buried family secrets, returning to a hometown and haunted houses.

I am also a big fan of Leno's writing and this only served to reinforce that fact.

Now that we are in the midst of Spooky Season, y'all know it starts September 1st, I encourage you to give this one a go. It's wickedly entertaining!!
Profile Image for emma.
1,788 reviews43.1k followers
November 29, 2021
The two best things that any character can be are, in my opinion, the following:
- villainous
- a complicated girl

This book about acts of pure wickedness and the young ladies who do them fits so well into those parameters I wouldn't be surprised if it were designed for them, my dear boy.

Add to that the fact that Katrina Leno's writing makes me feel like I am having a summer day during which I have no plans but might see my friends later but no pressure - in other words, in a state of bliss - and I am a happy camper. Add to THAT some great thematic significance that YA horror usually skips and I am a happy indoor kid (aka way happier, because camping sucks).

And whatever, the ending was kinda rushed and lame (read: very), but if you're living the dream who wants to wake up anyway!!

Bottom line: Girl rage!!!


perfect cover.

review to come / 3.5 ish

currently-reading updates

finally reading this, as the prophecy foretold

tbr review

i added this book 7 months ago. i have not stopped thinking about this cover since then
Profile Image for Riley.
422 reviews20.5k followers
August 24, 2020
this was so creepy and very fucked up, exactly what i want when i read a horror book
if you are a fan of rory power i think you will really like this
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,390 reviews77.2k followers
September 20, 2022
4-4.5 stars

Here's the thing, folks: if you're looking for a super scary tale for fall, this probably ain't it. Personally, I like to read atmospheric, spooky novels at night during the fall, but if it's too scary I can't read it before bed. I am who I am. However, if you like a mild to moderate creep level in your fall reads, with a heavy focus on grief, trauma, and mental health, you've come to the right place.


At first glance, Horrid has the typical traits of your average horror novel-a creepy old house, small town with big secrets, family loss-but that's kind of where the similarities end. Katrina Leno choses to deviate from the status quo and deliver a tale of gut churning, relatable storytelling; instead of focusing on jump scares and tangible monsters, we receive a healthy dose of family dysfunction, mental health disorders, generational trauma, and a rage-fueled grieving process of the loss of a loved one. That's not to say that there isn't a paranormal aspect to this book, there is, but it felt so rightly dwarfed by these real struggles that my heart grew three sizes like the Grinch's did on Christmas morning. I think I'm going to leave it here, but if you're looking for an atmospheric, thought-provoking YA horror novel, please give this one a try.

Content Warnings:
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,373 reviews9,452 followers
November 4, 2020
Omg!! I love this Owlcrate Box!! And the under dust jacket picture!! Click on link to see the goodies!


*Buddy Read With Ladies Horror Fiction

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.

And when she was good,
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid.

-A nursery rhyme adapted from
the poem, "There Was a Little Girl"
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

That was. I mean. I don’t even know what to say. I loved so much of it and disliked some of it. 🤣😂 Some creepy vibes, some really weird shit and some anger issues, which I liked because bullies can suck it!! The end.

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Angela Staudt.
373 reviews109 followers
October 11, 2020
I am quite disappointed in Horrid. I mean with a stunning cover like this, I was so excited to read a horror book. Honestly, this book felt 85% contemporary and 15% horror. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters and I felt that every character was very underdeveloped.

Jane, the main character, has a lot going on in her life. Her father just died, she found out her and her mom are broke, and they have to move back to where her mother used to live in Maine. The house her mother grew up in is basically the horror house of the town and strange things keep happening since they moved in. I felt this was a fast paced book, but also insanely boring if that makes any sense at all. I needed parts of this story to be way more developed, I was just left with so many unanswered questions. I mean this book starts out real weird and half the stuff seems unnecessary because the author doesn’t connect anything together. I feel like so many things happened, many weird things, but we don’t actually get told the point of them.

Honestly, I am just feeling disappointed and underwhelmed. The ending was really cliché and the big twist wasn’t exactly a twist let alone big. I pretty much figured out what was happening a couple of chapters in and was never surprised at anything that transpired. If you’re a fan of horror, I would not pick this up. I was never creeped out and it was just a really predictable book.
Profile Image for Oscar.
256 reviews93 followers
September 16, 2020
"There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid."

The story follows Jane North Robinson and her mother Ruth as they settle to their new house in Bells Hollow, Maine. Called as the North Manor but dubbed by the townspeople as 'creep house.' Ruth's old family home and this is the first time Jane knew such house existed. For 17 years, Jane didn't know that her mother had a life here too in Bells Hollow. Why Ruth kept her past life a secret?

I heard so many great things about Katrina Leno's works but at the same time I didn't really bothered because most of them involve a trope I'm not a fan of. MAGICAL REALISM. When I read a book with this book trope before, it felt trippy to me. So when I watched some booktube videos and saw Miss Leno is going to release a YA horror/thriller I got really excited. And that cover? Straight up gorgeous. Black roses over the pale skin and white hair. Looks so good!

Horrid is my first novel from this author and I loved it. The plot is this slow burn horror/mystery in Jane's perspective and her quest for the truth. There were parts in this that I had to reread twice because I couldn't believe that such things were happening. The first chapter revealed this situation that Jane has a habit of doing and I was like 'huh okay that's good to know' and then pages after I had to reread it again because I'm dumbfounded.

"Three little girls all eating they weren't supposed to eat. Three little girls all eating in order to fill their bodies with something other than the anger, the rage, that would otherwise consume them."

The characters are likable as well. Two characters dealing with this heavy grief because of the passing of their loved one. Day by day we could see them struggling to keep it together. Their actions may not be ideal sometimes but I gotta agree with Ruth., that dealing with grief is different from everyone.

"Mom, I hate it here."
"I hate it here too, Jane."

Was this book horrifying? I think it depends on what you perceive as 'horror'. The horror in this was more of the Haunting of Hill House type. Spooky and emotional at times. The horror antics were there such as the unknown footsteps, tapping the window noises, the feeling of someone is behind you but at the same time as a reader you could feel that the words here emit sadness, anger, and longing.

"You be careful up there. In Bells Hollow. These old towns all have histories. Some of them are darker than others."

I’ll discuss a bit of the ending within the spoiler tag.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,610 reviews5,010 followers
March 5, 2022
I absolutely adored this. Katrina Leno has become an auto-read author for me, especially if she keeps writing these bizarre, terrifying stories with messed up characters. Jane is such an interesting protagonist and I found her incredibly easy to empathize with, which made the stakes in this story feel so much higher. I can safely say Horrid was the first YA horror novel to ever give me legitimate chills, and it did so several times! Leno has this way with creating such a thick atmosphere that I felt like I had been transported right into the middle of everything going on, and it was genuinely horrifying.

The mystery element to this story is also immensely enjoyable, but more than anything else, I enjoyed the incredibly gothic atmosphere and the depictions of anger management. I don't see a lot of protagonists with serious anger management issues, and while Jane's actions definitely aren't always positive or reasonable, they feel authentic and it was refreshing to read a story that touched upon those issues. I'm also a fan of the way Katrina Leno tackles generational trauma, which plays a prominent role throughout this story from start to finish.

All in all, Horrid was an unsettling, captivating read that I'm so grateful to have read, and I can't wait to pick up more stories from this brilliant author.

Buddy read with the incredible Malli! ♥

I read a final copy I borrowed from the library, but for the sake of disclosure, I was also sent an early review copy by the publisher. Thank you, Little, Brown!

Representation: BIPOC side characters

Content warnings for:

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Profile Image for Madita.
470 reviews16.4k followers
November 8, 2022
the first line of this book already told me that I was going to love it.

Horrid is as the title says Horrid.
The writing in this book is extremely descriptive and I was couldn't put the book down once I started it .

Jane's pov was interesting and disturbing at the same time. From her own personal thoughts about the house to her weird habit of eating book pages, the book kept me on my toes the entire time.

I loved the mystery and horror aspect of this story and I was positively surprised by the ending. There were so many scenes that I had to read because I was so confused but intrigued by the way Jane acted and reacted to certain things her mom said.

I also loved the vibe of the house that this book gave me. I could feel the creepy aesthetic and understood why Jane and her mom were scared of the house.
The mystery part was probably my favorite. From the beginning we got little hints that lead to the giant reveal at the end of the book and I was shocked.
I loved how everything correlated to the horrifying reveal and how everything was connected to Jane, the house and the rumours in the town.
I also loved how the story explored Jane's rage as well as her obsession with books as well as the eating of pages.

The ending was a bit too short and summarised in my opinion but I still overall loved it and thought the open ending of this story was amazing. It reminded me of one of those horror movies where at the end the body of the dead villain disappeared, hinting to the fact that they were still alive and that a sequel could happen.

This book put me back in my thriller phase and I am excited to read more horror and thriller books
Profile Image for Katrina Leno.
Author 10 books1,032 followers
January 30, 2021
I should have given this book 5 stars MONTHS ago; I am really behind on my self praise.
Profile Image for Amy Imogene Reads.
882 reviews760 followers
November 19, 2020
This had a lot of atmosphere going for it but ultimately left me bored, confused, and feeling shortchanged.

Concept: ★★★★
Plot: ★★
Pacing: ★★ 1/2
Atmosphere: ★★★ 1/2

Jane is not happy. There's a lot of reasons to be unhappy, honestly. Her father died unexpectedly from a heart attack, leaving her mother to find out that he'd wasted all their money on a bad startup. Then Jane's mother says they're leaving their lifelong home of California and moving to rural Maine. Then they arrive, and Jane discovers that the house they're going to be living in is the stuff of horror novels—and there's no cell service.

Oh, and on the first night in their new home, Jane hears a bunch of weird sounds and smells roses... in the dead of October.

Yeah. Not a lot of reasons to be happy. In fact, quite a few reasons to be weirded the F out!

Horrid follows the tale of Jane and her mother, Ruth, as they deal with the buried secrets—both literal and figurative—that haunt Jane's family line in the house. There's a lot of atmospheric moodiness, some small town aesthetic a la a cozy indie bookstore with a cute barista, and a LOT of questions and dark, ominous reveals.

My thoughts:
Alright, so to keep it short and sweet: I thought this book was actually pretty boring. As someone who loves horror, I did appreciate the heck out of the setting. Creepy house? Check. Creepy garden with out of season roses? Check. Buried secrets in the family? Check.

Horrid had all the elements of a good story, but ultimately I found it boring as heck for the first half, and pretty cliched for the second half. If you've seen a handful of horror movies or read a few horror books, then the reveals and "twists" are too easy to predict... which really takes away from the pacing and narrative tension in the story.

This would be a good read for someone who enjoys YA contemporaries and hasn't read much (or any) horror as its a decent gateway read into the genre. Just don't let that beautiful, twisted cover fool you if you're an experienced genre fan—there's not much new here.

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Profile Image for Holly (Holly Hearts Books).
366 reviews3,026 followers
October 5, 2020
Though very baseline with not a lot of texture to it, it was enjoyable and a quick read. Also boyfriend and I guessed the main plot twist before I even started the book so there’s the predictability for you. (Maybe don’t read the synopsis)
Profile Image for Jodie✨.
70 reviews3,264 followers
May 28, 2021
3.75 stars! Would’ve been four but the ending was too rushed for me 3
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,671 reviews852 followers
September 8, 2020
if you love Wilder Girls or Kate Alice Marshall, preorder this now

Trigger warnings for .

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Lea (drumsofautumn).
612 reviews623 followers
September 29, 2020

“She imagined the words dissolving off the paper and sinking into her bloodstream. She imagined her body filled with words. Made up of them. Words instead of blood, words instead of organs.”

I read this entire book in a day and stayed up until 4am to finish it which I haven't done in so, so long. This was so compelling and truly one of the most exciting and enjoyable reading experiences I've had in a while. But something about the actual plot and especially the ending did give me a feeling of being letdown just a little bit. But I was looking for a thrilling reading experience, which I got, and I really loved the elements of grief, so overall this was definitely a book that I immensely enjoyed and that will also just stay with me for a long, long while.
But I think this is going to be a divisive book in general.

“I think the important thing to realize, to try and remember, is that grief doesn’t have a rule book. You’re allowed to feel every emotion under the sun. You’re even allowed to invent new ones.”

Trigger and Content Warnings for self-harm, pica, parental death, grief.

Buddy read with Melanie

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November 4, 2022
I picked up Horrid to read with the wonderful and insanely funny #openlybookedbookckub for October’s Buddy Read. And it took me forever to read not because of quality but because I have no time to read lately. It actually ended up being pretty good.

It felt like a fresh, unique and non recycled story, very imaginative and intriguing.
And I think Katrina Leno did an amazing job setting the creep factor, I truly felt Janes fear and anticipation for what was to come. And she kept readers hooked with trying to figure out what was going on. Over all it had a really chilling quality.

I do think the characters could have been more developed especially the supporting characters like Janes friends. And Janes mom was driving me crazy with how evasive she was. I wanted to crawl in the book and beat it out of her..lol.
I would have liked the ending to have been a little different and not so abrupt but I did appreciate that it was open to interpretation.

I would love to check out any prior books by Katrina Leto and am looking forward to reading more from her in the future.
Profile Image for Ari.
745 reviews173 followers
October 30, 2020
For all of the praise that I've coincidentally seen about this author lately, I hoped for and expected more of a punch from this novel. But the reality was lackluster and the execution weak. The idea is intriguing, the setting held promise, but the cast of characters--and, often, the dialogue--failed to deliver for me.
Profile Image for Kelsea Yu.
534 reviews99 followers
October 15, 2020
Do not begin reading this book unless you have time to read it in one sitting, unless you want to spend all of the intervening time thinking about the story and feeling desperate to get back into it. You've been forewarned! I've read every single book Katrina Leno has written, so I'm not at all surprised (but still very pleased) to say that I LOVED HORRID so so much! It was creepy (suuuuuch a well written haunted house) and riveting and incredibly suspenseful. It has Katrina Leno's usual brand of subtle humor (I laughed out loud many a time) as well as her (seemingly) effortless phrasing. I enjoyed every moment of this, especially buddy reading with Bilan and Maranda. The ending had all of us reeling... in a good way! I highly recommend this story (but let's face it, I could say that about any one of Katrina's books) -- especially for autumn / spooky season!

Huge thank you to The Novl for sending a free advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Layla.
317 reviews351 followers
February 22, 2022
The build up was amazing and this book was very creepy, but unfortunately that build up went to waste. This book was crazy, and I mean that both in a good and bad way. I really can't believe the author had the audacity to end it like *that*. Yet the ending didn't even feel like an ending, it was so abrupt. Horrid was completely unsatisfactory.

~ 3 stars
Profile Image for Melanie (TBR and Beyond).
502 reviews359 followers
February 2, 2021
WOW, That was extra f*ucked up and I totally dug it.

Katrina Leno writing a YA horror novel? Is it my birthday or something?!? This might have been my most anticipated this year, it was certainly in the my top five.  Katrina is an author that I've come to completely adore and this is no exception to the rule.  The book was creepy, atmospheric and f*cked up as hell.  My brand completely.

Can we start off by just loving on the cover that is this book? It's perfection, it's so creepy and weird and breathtakingly beautiful.  Might be my favorite cover of the year, it's a major contender.

Horrid starts out with a mother and daughter (Jane), moving across country to back to her mother's hometown after the death of Jane's father.  The death left them in financial ruin, so they are moving back to her dead grandmother's house - something which her mother seems very unsettled by, but closed lipped about.  It doesn't take long once Jane and her mother into this old, big house that Jane starts to hear and see things.  Her mother keeps brushing it off as her imagination, and Jane is starting to wonder if she really is going crazy but she's determined to get to the bottom of what is going on in that house.

The house setting was perfect for this book, it gave such a sense of dread - even in the daytime.  Kind of reminded me on The Shinning in the way that you don't even trust the house with the lights on.  You just know something is beyond wrong there.  I love that kind of atmosphere.  The characters were also really well developed.  Jane is easily relatable - I mean she is obsessed with Agatha Christie book, a girl after my own heart.  I found her mother really frustrating at times but authentic, maybe that was why it was so frustrating.  Nothing was coming easy, everything was complicated.  I wanted to slap her lots but at the same time had so much empathy watching her trying to keep everything afloat.

I should mention there is a big element of grief in this book.  Jane just lost her father and she and her mother are grieving and it's hard to read.  As someone who has lost a parent in the last couple of years (thankfully not at such a young age), I felt her grief in my bones.  It was another character in the book almost.  It was beautifully done, but that didn't make it an easy read.

Horrid was also a pretty creepy book at times.  I watch and read a lot of horror and don't scare easily, but I think a lot of people will get the heebie jeebies reading certain parts in this one.  It's more of a slow burn, but the mystery kept me turning those pages.  I had to know what was going on in that house and secrets the mother was keeping.  The payoff was worth it - it got dark! Really dark!

This book is probably going to be somewhat polarizing.  I think Katrina's writing always is but you like a dark ghost story that isn't afraid of not giving you all easy, light answers then I think you'll dig this book.
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,461 reviews184 followers
July 25, 2021

Well that was a deeply unsettling novel.

I keep starting sentences and then deleting them.

It was a very atmospheric novel that crept into my bones and nudged my fear button nicely. I can't think of who I would recommend this book to because it is quite disturbing. That's all I've got sorry. Absolutely NZ upper high school only.
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
1,968 reviews2,694 followers
February 6, 2021
3.5 Stars
This was an atmospheric piece of young adult fiction with some pretty spooky imagery. While it followed many of the tropes of horror (specifically YA horror), I did not mind them. In fact, this book did an excellent job of helping me to appreciate a subgenre of horror that I usually don't enjoy. Considering all the buildup and suspense, I thought the ending was a bit of a letdown. It just felt muddled, trying to tie together too many threads of the story. Regardless, I did enjoy the overall reading experience quite a bit so I would still recommend this one to readers who enjoy supernatural YA horror.
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