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Review: If You See Her by Ania Ahlborn


If You See Her

Ania Ahlborn

The house on Old Mill Road has stood in an open field for longer than Jesse Wells has been alive, its crooked windows and jutting turret tormenting the kids of Warsaw, Michigan the way only a haunted house knows how. Everyone imagines that something terrible lurks within the house’s abandoned rooms—especially Jesse and his two closest friends, Casey and Reed. But when Reed chooses the house as a backdrop for his own suicide, childhood ghost stories are transformed into a nightmare that sends Jesse into a downward spiral of grief…more.

My Rating:

Ania Ahlborn delivers in the fashion her readers have come to expect from her with a haunting new novel, If You See Her. From the very first chapter, this novel unravels with an unsettling, slinking sensation that keeps the tingles at the back of the neck from ever going away. Setting us up with a moment of trauma, we follow one of a trio of boys who grow up in a downtrodden, Midwestern small town.

Odd and unresolved, the beginning mystery turns up once again, as now adults, the boys face what happened that night in that eerie farmhouse on the outskirts of town. To be expected, the haunting imagery delivered by Ahlborn is perfectly spun, building imagery and sensations in the reader. Also expected is the ending, not just from the way the story is playing out, but from the author, who always tends to lean towards the bleak. While not a bad thing, it does leave for an end that doesn’t quite match the spine-chilling weight that builds so well through the middle of the book.

The downward spiraling descent into madness our protagonist endures can at times also be maddening to read. However, if this slow burn is appreciated for building to the penultimate horror that overcomes the obsessed, this aspect of the novel ends up adding to the physicality of disquieting induced in the reader. There is plenty to be enjoyed here, even if the book feels a little long in the middle end. Meanwhile, the build toward the final moments pulls in a diabolical surprise that doesn’t feel fully realized. More on this sweet, sinister lore would have helped the reader investment, while still leaving plenty of mystery. Ania Ahlborn fans will be happy with her latest, and hold their breaths for the next marvel she releases. If You See Her is just another fine addition to a young career that has exploding potential.

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if you see her by ania ahlborn

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