Thursday, September 21, 2023

Finch House, The Odds

Burch, Ciera. Finch House
September 5, 2023 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Micah and her mother have lived with her Poppop, but her mother has decided that they need a place of their own. Micah doesn't like the fact that she won't be able to hang out and get doughnuts once a week with her grandfather, or go "networking" around the neighborhood, looking for treasures that people put out in the trash. On a farewell bike ride around the neighborhood, she goes by one of her favorite places, the old Victorian Finch House. Poppop doesn't like to go there, and has forbidden her from having anything to do with the property, but Micah is very surprised to find that the house has been fixed up and there is a boy, Theo, living there with his family and dog, Paprika. Her mother tells Micah that Poppop's sister went missing from the house, but he refuses to talk about it. As Micah gets to know Theo, she is able to enter the house. Soon, creepy things start happening. There's the traditional cold blasts of air, a feeling of something not being right, and the voices that call to her. There are odd rooms, and reality seems very mutable. When Micah travels into a disused attic room, it shifts and looks like something out of the 1970s. She meets a girl there who claims to be babysitting people who wander into this odd dimension, and also meets Jenn, who looks somewhat familiar. Jenn is looking for her brother Elijah, and it's soon apparent that Elijah is Poppop and Jenn is Micah's great aunt. Finch House has an unholy hold over many people who are stuck there, and while Micah is able to come and go for a while, soon the house has her in its grasp as well. Will she be able to find out more about what happened to Jenn and to help the house find peace so that she can leave and get back to her own dimension?
Strengths: Micah and her family are Black, and Theo is white, and there is some mentions that Micah's Poppop couldn't have lived in Finch House due to racism. Finch House is certainly a creepy place, and I definitely got the feeling that there might have been some bones buried in the basement! THe relationship between Poppop and Micah is a good one, and I enjoyed that Theo was very glad to be in a house with nature all around it and not in a small apartment, even if the house was haunted! 
Weaknesses:  I got the feeling that Poppop was probably in his early 60s, so I was very interested to see a discussion of prejudical housing practices at the time. This is hinted at more than explained. This is more of a haunted house story, like The Carrefour Curse, than a novel about historical racism, although the description talks about generational trauma. I wish there had been more history. The ending of this was rather vague, and I never felt like I had a good grasp on what really happened to Jenn. 
What I really think: This is a good choice for fans of Malinenko's This Appearing House or for readers who want a haunted house that isn't quite as scary as Alexander's Follow Me

Puckett, Lindsay. The Odds
September 19, 2023 by Scholastic Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Begonia Hollowmoor has been raised in a nursing home by owner David, who is an inventor and orphan himself. It doesn't hurt having 58 grandparents to raise you, even if they do have some limited mobility. When the home is in danger of going out of business, since Mr. Schmood and Mrs. Pingleton want to open a haunted resort on the premesis, Begonia knows she needs to act. Aided by the grandson of one of the residents, Barnabas Montgomery (who wants to be called Bass), Begonia tries to find a way to harness the capabilities of the residents as well as the house itself to find a way to keep it open. This is complicated by the fact that she is still waiting to get her "odd" ability, and the society revolves around who does and does not have these abilities. 

This was similar to this author's The Glass Witch, and I love that it addresses ableism. It was on the quirkier side of the spectrum with the unusual names and world building that was intricate and a bit convoluted. 

1 comment:

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