Review: The Haunting of Apartment 101 by Megan Atwood

13796791Publication Date: January 1, 2012

High school sophomore Jinx is obsessed with the paranormal and determined to prove that ghosts are real. She even has a website for her followers to send reports of local hauntings.

One morning, Jinx and her best friend Jackson get pulled into investigating the haunting of their classmate, the pretty and popular Emily. Jinx is suspicious, but the opportunity for a real ghost is too good to pass up.

A little research into Emily's apartment reveals a dark past and a promising ghostly night.


Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Date Read: March 23, 2018

I've never really read horror before because I'm not a fan of the genre (I once tried watching the re-make of It and only made it halfway before leaving my school's theater. Luckily the movie was free). Since this was short, I thought that it might be a good little introduction to the genre and that maybe I'd be open to trying other books.

Unfortunately, this was so generic and predictable, I just thought of it another bad YA attempt at genres that really only seem to thrive in adult fiction. I listened to the first half before going to bed and wasn't scared at all, then finished the second half while on the treadmill at the gym. If a horror novel isn't making me run faster on the treadmill for fear that a ghost will attack me, then I'm either in the wrong part of the book or it's not scary at all. A horror wimp like me should be scared.

The plot is simple, Jinx wants to prove that there are ghosts and that they haunt people. Jackson is her attractive, popular best friend whom she will most definitely fall in love with at some point later in the series. Emily is the cute, popular girl who threatens to make their friendship strained because Jinx doesn't trust anyone but Jackson. Cue the ghost and the haunting.

Maybe if the plot had been better written or executed, it would have made for a decent story. There was potential, but it didn't translate for me. I wanted something that would actually scare me like the first two seasons of Supernatural did (the Bloody Mary episode specifically still haunts me now and then). But I predicted the ending and nothing came as a surprise to me. Perhaps my mystery-brain is too used to picking up clues that lead to something that has already been done hundreds of times, or I'm too familiar with all the tropes already.

It didn't help me that none of the characters were likable. Jinx is supposed to be the "weird, quirky girl who hates people for no reason other than that she was bullied for being plain and now freaks everyone out by talking about ghosts." Jackson has the tragic backstory that we're supposed to love because he's a wounded cute guy. And Emily was...well, I can't say much about her because she might actually have been the only one who had some depth. Flat characters don't help mediocre horror stories. Give me something with more movement and flow because I want things to change. I don't want these characters to be in the same place in the end as they were in the beginning.

The ending might have surprised me if I hadn't been paying attention to the story or wasn't used to storing clues in my head to piece together myself. Sadly, this just didn't work for me and I felt like I had wasted an hour of my life listening to this. Sure, it was only an hour and it counted toward my Goodreads goal, but is that really all I want to be able to say about a book? No.

Jinx really annoyed me because she was the trope-y girl who hated everyone else and is clearly unique because she likes "quirky" things that no one else does. The way she talked about other people was incredibly problematic, going so far as to deem jocks and pretty girls as a "different kind" and saying things like, "That's so typical of their kind." It was frustrating, to say the least.

Jackson had the potential to be an interesting character had he not been thrown into the tragic-backstory role. That just didn't work for the story and it made him feel like his only purpose was to garner sympathy from the reader.

Emily has some depth, but I can't really tell you what her role was except for being the victim of a haunting.

3 stars. I wouldn't bother with this series as I don't think it's worth the time. An hour might not be very long, but I could've spent that hour listening to something else instead.

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