The Last House on Needless StreetThe Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
My rating: 5/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

come on, everybody!

as you may have heard, this book is all about the twist.

there are some books whose whole appeal is hinged on their SHOCKING TWIST SURPRISE (like the disappointing We Were Liars, which wendy darling summed up perfectly in her review). this is not one of those books. however, talking about what makes it so great apart from the resolution becomes a review-challenge of landmine-avoidance.

this book is sort of the reversal of books like Behind Her Eyes or The Man from Primrose Lane, whose fairly straightforward storylines are abruptly infiltrated by GENRE, changing the entire trajectory of reader expectations. this one, blurbed succinctly by alex north is: A perfect horror novel, but not in the way you expect. and since we’re on the subject of blurbs, this next blurb is why i love t. kingfisher/ursula vernon so much:

This book was like an onion. Layer after layer after layer and then you’re crying and somebody’s got a knife. A brutal, twisty-puzzle box of a book. I stayed up way past my bedtime.

and i might as well drop paul tremblay’s here as well, because he was kind enough to name-drop me into A Head Full of Ghosts:

A breathtakingly ambitious book, gorgeously written, and never once shies away from showing you its fangs and its beautiful, blood-filled heart.

there are many more enticing, intriguing blurbs—long story short: many excellent writers i admire admire this book. with good reason. so let me add my less-accomplished words to theirs while tiptoeing around the specifics.

i’ve never read anything by catriona ward before, although i think i have a couple of her books in my towering bookstacks. this book is full of, clean, tight, careful writing; tricksy and propulsive, VERY well-plotted, and you do not want to put it down for anything. and once things start unraveling, your brain just starts going ping ping ping with noticing, but i sure as hell wasn’t putting it all together—i didn’t know what to do with all of my noticings.

it’s like—sometimes you’re reading an ARC and there’s a mistake and you just dismiss it, but here, nothing is a mistake. the details might cause a little hitch in your reading, a “wait, wasn’t that…?” and as the conflicting details accrue, it starts to break your whole damn brain, but by the end, you understand everything, and you’re broken in a whole different way—in your FEELS.

you’re in good hands with this one.

and this sentiment? hard agree.

I judge people two ways—on how they treat animals, and on what they like to eat. If their favorite food is some kind of salad, they are definitely a bad person. Anything with cheese, they are probably OK.

p.s.—do not skip the afterword, but do save it for after.



review to come


prepare yourself for a long string of slightly-blurred photos…

yesterday i went to get covid-shot #1, and while i was waiting, i realized that my shirt, my bag, and my mask all had cats on them, and i thought to myself “welp, that’s certainly one way to be an adult.”

i was between books and had already chosen my next read, but when i got home, there was a package waiting for me, a box with fake hinges and shiny trim

and a little cat sticker adorning the front

and inside…

whaaaaat? such BOUNTY!

a book i already wanted to read, PLUS this awesome cat pin

and little baggies of mysterious items

one of these pens writes SILVER

this one has catnip tea with not one but TWO additional cat stickers

and this one has hot sauce and jelly and honey

and one million diamonds!

even the little paper clip holding together the promotional material is cat-shaped

in short, i will be changing my plans and starting this book immediately, because cats.

read my book reviews on goodreads

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