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Review: A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Summary from Goodreads:

A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.


I’ve had A Head Full of Ghosts on my TBR for a few years now and finally read the less than 300 paged horror novel. I also read The Cabin at the End of the World recently and decided it was time to pick up this popular horror/thriller novel by the same author.

This novel freaked me out just as much as Cabin did. I struggled reading some of the intense scenes involving mental illness and the exorcism aspect of the novel. It was a quick but unnerving read that left me with some nightmares, so if horror is not for you I would not recommend checking out this one. I’ve read horror, mainly King novels, but find that ones that focus on demons or exorcism really freak me out.

The writing style brought out the horror elements extremely well and left me haunted. I think it would have been even more frightening without the blog format that was added in throughout the novel.

Just like with The Cabin once again I was not a big fan of the ending of A Head Full of Ghosts. It felt incomplete and bit rushed to me. I was hoping for more of a twist or big reveal.

I recommend checking out either novel from Tremblay if you want to be unnerved.


3.5 Stars Out of 5 Stars.


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