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Stephanie Parent, Reader and Writer

Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
Here - Eric Marier HERE by Eric Marier was absolutely nothing like I expected...and I'm so glad, because I loved it! Based on the synopsis, I was expecting a creepy, Gothic ghost story/horror story, and I did get that--but not until the last 25% of the book. The majority of the book was actually a quiet, realistic story about ordinary people in their mid-twenties, adjusting to the fact that their adult lives don't always live up to what they'd hoped for. While there were hints of creepiness and mystery surrounding the mansion where Sam is house-sitting, and these little things did pique my interest, they definitely weren't the main focus of the story.While I liked and was interested in the book from the very beginning, I did have a bit of trouble with the first quarter or so, just because I was still expecting the horror element to show up. Marier writes in a taut, economical style reminiscent of thriller writing, and I didn't make much of an effort to connect with the characters at first. After all, I thought this was a horror novel and many of them would die early on! But as the story continued, and the horror didn't come, a funny thing happened... I found that I didn't care, and that I was completely absorbed in the characters Marier had created and their quiet, everyday struggles. I felt so much for the two protagonists, Sam and Michelle, and the way aspects of their childhoods and teenage years continued to hold them back as adults. Marier writes in an emotionally minimalistic style that really works for me, since it allows me to feel the emotion myself rather than have it all laid out for me on the page. And while the writing isn't full of flowery description, there were certain turns of phrase that struck me as elegant and apt.Now in the last quarter, the horror element does come into play a bit, and I thought it was very well done and tied together many threads of the story. I really liked the way the story ended and found it appropriate to the tone of the story as a whole--there was hope, but no false happily-ever-afters. Like the rest of the book, the ending was REAL, and that's why I liked it so much.