Published: September 8th, 2014
Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if those things aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.
To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she's gradually falling for, but even he doesn't believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.
Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.
One of my favorite things about PHOBIC is the flashbacks to the past that Piper has. Halfway through, she begins seeing the original residents of her house from back in 1875, and she also witnesses a tragic love story between two of the servants. Here’s a swoony excerpt:
“We may not like it,” Ada says, “but two servants in love can do very little where their master is concerned.”
Thomas faces her again. This time, a twinkle lays in his blue eyes, and a smile quirks at the corner of his mouth. “You do love me.”
Silence pulses between them. Ada never breaks from his gaze. I’m warm from my knee-knocking kiss with Todd, but at the look they share, the temperature goes up a few more degrees.
“Heart and soul,” she says through her teeth, “and may I burn for the admission.”
However, not all the flashbacks are lovey-dovey. In fact, they’re pretty dark and add to the book’s creep factor. And while writing them, I needed insults from the 1800s. I found this website, along with this list.
Not that I’m huge into insulting people (really, I’m not!) but some of these struck me as just plain funny. (Thou beslubbering, beef-witted barnacle!)
Oh, the things writers find while researching their books!
About the author:
Cortney Pearson is a book nerd who studied literature at BYU-Idaho, a music nerd who plays clarinet in her local community orchestra, and a writing nerd who creates books for young adults. She lives with her husband and three sons in a small Idaho farm town.