Book Review: Head Full of Ghosts

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I’ve been meaning to write this review for a while but Covid visited my house. And you know how unwanted visitors can be. They hang around. They never leave. And it doesn’t take long before all the snacks are gone and you’re losing your mind.

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A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel

by Paul Tremblay A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel

It’s a gripping thriller that perfectly mixes psychological suspense with supernatural terror, and it’s evocative of Stephen King’s The Shining, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, and William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist, among other classic horror novels. In the summer of 2004, 14-year-old Marjorie Barrett starts to show indications of severe schizophrenia, causing the Barrett family’s life to be ripped apart. When events in the Barrett home spiral out of control and result in tragedy, the program and the horrible episodes it depicts become the stuff of legend.

About Paul Tremblay
Paul Tremblay is the author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning novel THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD and the British Fantasy Award-winning novel DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK. He lives in the United Kingdom. In addition, he is the co-editor of four anthologies, including Creatures: Thirty Years of Monster Stories, which was published in 2008. (with John Langan). Paul lives just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and has a master’s degree in mathematics. He also doesn’t have a uvula.

Do you like The Exorcist? Wish it had crazy twists like a Missouri backroad? Do you like books that make you question everything you just read? This is the book for you.

I love a good horror book. Especially ghost stories. But is it a ghost? Is it a demon? Is it mental illness? And that’s the horror of this book. I feel like it’s more psychological than gore.

The story is told through the memories of an eight year old. But with the clarity of an adult. Merry’s parents irritated me so much. The mother’s cantankerous attitude to anything she doesn’t believe in is a recipe for rebellion. And the father’s sudden switch to religion is the kind of thing that would make me ask for counseling at the least.

I have to say, the actions of the father were a little out there for me. I get turning to religion, but God helps them that helps themselves. Get off your knees and get to filling out some applications, my dude.

I couldn’t put this book down. I had to keep reading. The more I read, the more questions I had. And just when those questions were answered, I had more.

I had one of those moments when I saw I only had twenty pages left and had a hundred pages of questions. And then, an anvil of a plot twist was dropped on me. And the book ended. It stopped. It just stopped. No more pages. All done.

How do you do that to someone? How do you sleep at night knowing you did this to someone? I sat on my couch for an hour in stunned silence.

Then I went into Charlie mode.

Seriously. What did I read? What happened? And why is over all ready?

The whole book all I wanted to do was hug Merry. She just wanted her sister back. She wanted her parents to acknowledge her. She wanted normality. She was an eight year old thrown into adult situations without any of it being explained to her. Someone take that kid out for an ice cream cone and a hug. I wanted to punch her mom and dad. And Margaret was a teenager. Standard operating teenage girl. And if you’ve raised one of those, you probably have wondered if they were possessed, too.

Trigger warnings

There is a scene involving sexual things and a minor. I won’t go too deep into it. Think The Exorcist and you get it. It doesn’t last long, maybe a page or two. But if you have trauma over that, I thought you should know.

Final Thoughts

I would recommend this to anyone who likes a good ghost story. I loved this book. I honestly only picked it up because I had seen it so many times on BookTok. And I’m so glad I did. 5 stars. Absolutely recommend. This is one of the best horror novels I’ve read in a long time. And now, I will be on the lookout for more books by Paul.

Have you read this? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Again, if you like what I post, please like, comment, share, and subscribe. Please consider donating to help keep this going. $1 and I’ll ask you what your favorite book is so we can talk about it. $5 and I’ll write a review of a book you suggest. $10 and I’ll write a blog suggested by you. That’s all I’ve got for today, train wrecks. All aboard.

When I love a book this much, I will look at other ways to enjoy it. I read the paperback version of this so now I want to get the Audible version of this. It’s a good thing I have an Audible Plus account. I crush my reading goals with their huge library and I find new to me authors. You can check out Audible for 30 days free. Click the link and start listening.

Seriously, what are you waiting for? Didn’t you say you wanted to read more in 2022? This counts as reading.

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