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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

The other orphans say Margot is lucky. Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family. Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night. And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate. But it wasn't luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha--and getting to know her handsome older brother--seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself. Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.…

The Companion

by Katie Alender

Overall Book Review:

A newly orphaned girl. A huge, delightfully creepy house. A girl with a mysterious illness. A family with a secret past. What more could a reader want from a YA book? I absolutely adored this book and every twist and turn it took. From reading the synopsis, I already knew that The Companion sounded like something I would enjoy, so I jumped at the chance to read an early review copy. If you love a modern day, creepy YA book, then I would suggest getting your hands on this book ASAP. 

I think part of why I loved this book so much was the detailed descriptions of the main characters surroundings.  Margot survives a car crash and near drowning and in that same accident, she becomes the only person in her family left alive. Sent to a group home to live with other parentless children, Margot is soon abruptly chosen to live with a family as their ward and as a companion for their ill daughter. Through most of the book I felt like I was almost experiencing what Margot was first-hand, walking with her through an enormous house that has a gate surrounding it as far as the eye can see and ivy creeping up the walls. The way the inside and outside of the estate is described is delightful, albeit a little dark and mysterious at times, especially when it is made clear that there are parts of the estate that are not to be used or seen by Margot.

Life with the Suttons seems like it is too good to be true, and a bit boring at first. Margot is used to a typical teen lifestyle, full of technology and school and friends. All of a sudden it seems as though the only friends she might have are Mrs. Sutton, or Laura, as she insists on being addressed as and her sickly daughter, Agatha. It didn’t take me long to be sure there was something sinister that was lingering in the halls of the old mansion, whether it was connected directly to the Sutton family or their ancestors, or to the mysterious locked garden that no one wanted to talk about. Turns out, I wasn’t wrong. I’ll let you read the book to discover for yourself just how the story goes; it’s too good to spoil and the author does a better job of telling the story than I do.

Review of an Advance Digital Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  5 religious exclamations; 1 mild obscenity. 

Violence/Gore:  A car crash occurs and several people drown with one minor girl survivor; a minor girl has nightmares about drowning and often wakes up screaming; a girl experiences nosebleeds and in one scene she wakes up to blood smeared on her bedding and pajamas; a girl has a dream that she sees a person who has died and their body is described as bloated; a man is mentioned to have been saved from drowning; a creepy scene occurs where a minor girl sees someone standing in a corner with a veil covering their face; a girl thinks about the future when humans living now will be dead and decaying after they’re buried; a mention is made of a maid losing a finger in a household accident; a report of a girl getting a cut on her foot and bacteria entering her bloodstream causing an illness; a minor girl experiences an incident where she thinks she is sinking into a bed if dirt and digs around and finds cat bones, then looks up and sees a figure lurching towards her; a minor girl recalls her whole family dying and tells a friend about the experience; a brief creepy scene occurs where a minor girl thinks she sees a ghost; a girl is mentioned to have died from a prolonged illness; a girl has a fit and scrapes her fingers down her face, thrashes, and pulls violently at her hair; a brief report of a cat being hit by a car and dying, but a character suspects someone killed it intentionally; a death threat is made by an ill person; a cat is reported to have been drowned by a person having an episode; a sick girl is mentioned to vomit “thick gray-brown liquid” in a brief scene; a mention is made of a creepy scene with a beast of some kind stalking a girl; a woman shoves a girl off of a bridge in an attempt to kill her in a brief scene; a minor girl has a brief recollection of almost drowning; a woman attempts to kill a girl by pressing her face in a pool of shallow water to drown her.

Sex/Nudity:  Minors kiss multiple times in brief scenes; a girl thinks about kissing a boy; girl and boy hold hands; a woman sees a minor girl nude as she changes her clothes.

Mature Subject Matter:

Attempted murder; mental illness; death; orphans.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Person referred to as a “meth head”; mention of selling prescription pills for drug money.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.