Sarah Ames-Foley's Reviews > The Invited

The Invited by Jennifer  McMahon
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really liked it
bookshelves: adult, arcs, contemporary, ghosts, horror, horror-not-by-white-men, 2-vermont

3.5 ⭐️
This review can also be found on my blog.
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own. All quotes have been taken from the advanced copy and are subject to change upon publication.

Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People became one of my favorites when I read it last year so of course Rachel let me know the second she saw it on Netgalley and I requested it immediately. McMahon’s books combine my love of horror with my love of all things Vermont (and New England) and I’ve been meaning to pick up more of her books for quite some time now. Rachel actually lent me a copy of The Night Sister, which I’ve got sitting in my physical TBR pile. Unfortunately, while I enjoyed The Invited, it just wasn’t as strong a book as I had hoped for.

What people don’t understand, they destroy.

As with The Winter People, McMahon sets up alternating perspectives. We have Helen, an outsider who is building a house with her husband Nate on supposedly haunted property. We also have Ollie, a girl in her early teens who is searching for a treasure that may or may not exist. I sympathized with Helen and while I found Ollie a bit irritating at first, I quickly warmed up to her as well. I also adored Ollie’s aunt, Riley, with her dyed hair and many tattoos and love of local lore. At one point I briefly hoped that Helen would leave her husband for Riley, but alas, that was wishful thinking.

Sometimes Olive got so caught up in her own grief that she forgot other people were grieving, too.

The plot itself is somewhat interesting: Ollie searches for the treasure and for traces of her mother who had left while Helen searches for more information about the spirit that may haunt her new home. McMahon puts her own unique twist on the classic ghost story, incorporating new elements and giving us just the right amount of red herrings. A lot of my nitpicks came less from issues with the story itself and more from inconsistencies in the writing and the difficulty I had getting invested until about a third in. Hopefully some of this gets pulled together better in the final copy.

“Sometimes a vivid imagination is a curse,” her mama used to tell her.

Overall The Invited was interesting and enjoyable, but it unfortunately lacked the oomph that would have given it a higher rating and put it on my favorites list. Still, Jennifer McMahon manages to explore the storied history of New England and its comparison to modern-day life. I definitely recommend this to anyone who has read and liked any of her other books, as well as to those who like the exploration of relationships between women in horror.
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Reading Progress

January 7, 2019 – Shelved
January 7, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 20, 2019 – Started Reading
February 20, 2019 –
February 21, 2019 –
February 21, 2019 –
February 22, 2019 –
February 24, 2019 –
42.0% "Helen needs to leave Nate and date Riley, in this essay I will"
February 24, 2019 –
February 25, 2019 –
February 26, 2019 –
February 28, 2019 –
91.0% "Can’t believe I have to go into work right when the GOOD stuff is abt to happen."
February 28, 2019 – Shelved as: arcs
February 28, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary
February 28, 2019 – Shelved as: adult
February 28, 2019 – Shelved as: horror
February 28, 2019 – Shelved as: horror-not-by-white-men
February 28, 2019 – Shelved as: ghosts
February 28, 2019 – Finished Reading
August 27, 2019 – Shelved as: 2-vermont

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