Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey | Book Review

Today Cassie, Jen & Laurie recommend JUST LIKE HOME by Sarah Gailey. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

"Come home.” Vera’s mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories -- she's come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there.

Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren’t alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back, and is slowly stripping Vera’s childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn’t the one leaving notes around the house in her father’s handwriting… but who else could it possibly be?

There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them, and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes. ."

Amazon | Goodreads 

Cassie's Review

Some things, Vera knew, were made to die.

I asked some friends for "bad mom" book recommendations to ~deal with my own trauma via fiction~ (lol), and among the titles given to me was this one. I'd read Sarah Gailey's UPRIGHT WOMEN WANTED earlier this year and really enjoyed it, despite the fact that it's not at all in my typical genre wheelhouse, so I was really excited to check this horror-y title out - horror definitely is my typical genre, & THE BOOK IS PINK!!

I went into this knowing nothing beyond that the mom "sort of sucked", and I think that's the best way to do it honestly. The lack of knowledge kept me on the edge of my seat, unable to gain solid footing, flipping the pages trying to fully flesh out a story being delivered to me in deliciously -and agonizingly - slow little bits.

The atmosphere here feels very southern gothic - dark and spooky for sure, but with a cloyingly sweetness not unlike lemonade on a humid summer day. I loved the way the house was described, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the relationship between Vera and her father - however unorthodox it or he may have been.

The full ending reveal GOT ME! I won't say too much about it because I don't want to spoil it, but I really loved how wild and intense things got, and how the story developed. It was weird and gross and fun and I just loved it, so good.

This has definitely solidified the author as a must-buy from me moving forward -- I don't even care what the genre is, because they've shown that they're able to handle whatever they do perfectly. I already have THE ECHO WIFE on my shelf, waiting to be read soon!

Jen's Review

I think I've placed every one of Sarah Gailey's books on my wish list as they were released, but Just Like Home is the first book of Sarah Gailey's that I've actually read. Their books always seem to get mixed reviews so I've never taken the plunge until now. Just Like Home was voted as the November read along selection for the Horror Spotlight discord group. I'm so glad that it was, and I'm so glad that I finally got to read a book by Sarah Gailey.

I loved this book! The writing was so wonderful, and the story was so unexpected. It was creepy, it was imaginative, it was super weird, and it never went in the direction that I was expecting. Just Like Home was so fun to read.

In Just Like Home, Vera's awful mother is dying and has called Vera back home. Throughout Just Like Home, we see both the present time with Vera and her mother as well as Vera's childhood and what happened with her father and her mother and why she left the Crowder House to begin with. It's dark and it's creepy, and I couldn't look away.

Just Like Home really worked for me. I think I can see why Sarah Gailey's books would have mixed reviews, but I also think I may be the right reader for their stories. I'm excited to go back and pick up their back catalog because I really loved Just Like Home. It had such a great mix of being scary and being weird and keeping me hanging on to find out what was going to happen next. This book was oddly horrific, and I want more of it. I think most of their books have been more fantasy than horror, but I'm looking forward to finding out what each one is all about.

It's best to go into Just Like Home as blind as possible so I'm not going to give any more details on why I loved it so much. If you like domestic thrillers or horror or Sarah Gailey - don't miss out on this one. I highly recommend it.

Laurie's Review

I have to admit the dedication sucked me in immediately.

“This book is dedicated to anyone who ever loved a monster.”

This book was so weird and surprising! I absolutely adored the way the story was told. It was creepy and disturbing and was also a thoughtful exploration of some very complicated family dynamics. There is a character here I loved to hate and that's always all kinds of fun.

Just Like Home might not be for everyone, but it definitely worked for me!

I listened to the audiobook and the narrator read a little slow for my liking so I sped things up to 1.25 and it was perfection.

Thank you for joining us today! Please share your thoughts about JUST LIKE HOME as well as any recent reads in the comments below.

We are currently accepting horror fiction and horror adjacent fiction written by diverse authors in print and epub format ONLY. If this is you, please visit our review submission page here.

Cassie is one of our contributing reviewers and contributes website content. Find her online at her website, Twitter as @ctrlaltcassie, Instagram as @readinginaprism, or over at her Etsy store, where she has amazing original art prints, cross stitch kits, bookmarks, and more!

Jen is one of our Horror Spotlight admins. Jen manages the technical side of the Horror Spotlight website. She also keeps a spotlight on new horror releases, middle grade horror, and young adult horror each month.

You can also find Jen on her blog Book Den, Twitter as @bookden, Instagram as @bookdenjen, on Goodreads, and Letterboxd.

Laurie is one of our Horror Spotlight Admins. Laurie creates our review posts and coordinates review requests.

You can find Laurie on her blog Bark’s Book Nonsense, on Twitter as @barksbooks, on Instagram as @barksbooks, and on Goodreads.

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