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The Moth Diaries

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At an exclusive girls' boarding school, a sixteen-year-old girl records her most intimate thoughts in a diary. The object of her obsession is her room-mate, Lucy Blake, and Lucy's friendship with their new and disturbing classmate. Ernessa is a mysterious presence with pale skin and hypnotic eyes. Around her swirl dark secrets and a series of ominous disasters. As fear spr At an exclusive girls' boarding school, a sixteen-year-old girl records her most intimate thoughts in a diary. The object of her obsession is her room-mate, Lucy Blake, and Lucy's friendship with their new and disturbing classmate. Ernessa is a mysterious presence with pale skin and hypnotic eyes. Around her swirl dark secrets and a series of ominous disasters. As fear spreads through the school, fantasy and reality mingle into a waking nightmare of gothic menace, fueled by the lusts and fears of adolescence. And at the center of the diary is the question that haunts all who read it: Is Ernessa really a vampire? Or is the narrator trapped in her own fevered imagination?

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At an exclusive girls' boarding school, a sixteen-year-old girl records her most intimate thoughts in a diary. The object of her obsession is her room-mate, Lucy Blake, and Lucy's friendship with their new and disturbing classmate. Ernessa is a mysterious presence with pale skin and hypnotic eyes. Around her swirl dark secrets and a series of ominous disasters. As fear spr At an exclusive girls' boarding school, a sixteen-year-old girl records her most intimate thoughts in a diary. The object of her obsession is her room-mate, Lucy Blake, and Lucy's friendship with their new and disturbing classmate. Ernessa is a mysterious presence with pale skin and hypnotic eyes. Around her swirl dark secrets and a series of ominous disasters. As fear spreads through the school, fantasy and reality mingle into a waking nightmare of gothic menace, fueled by the lusts and fears of adolescence. And at the center of the diary is the question that haunts all who read it: Is Ernessa really a vampire? Or is the narrator trapped in her own fevered imagination?

30 review for The Moth Diaries

  1. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    Review originally published at Learn This Phrase. The Moth Diaries came into my life serendipitously. I saw someone mentioning it on Twitter - not even to me, just as part of a conversation that caught my attention (I wish I could remember who it was now, I should thank them) - and then, a couple of days later, I was in a secondhand bookshop and spotted a copy for £1. At that point, I wasn't sure it was the right kind of book for me, but the coincidence was too good to ignore. I am so glad I pick Review originally published at Learn This Phrase. The Moth Diaries came into my life serendipitously. I saw someone mentioning it on Twitter - not even to me, just as part of a conversation that caught my attention (I wish I could remember who it was now, I should thank them) - and then, a couple of days later, I was in a secondhand bookshop and spotted a copy for £1. At that point, I wasn't sure it was the right kind of book for me, but the coincidence was too good to ignore. I am so glad I picked it up. This book was amazing and has immediately established itself as a new favourite. As the title would suggest, it's presented in the form of a personal diary. An introduction from the narrator, written thirty years after the main events of the story, explains that its publication is the idea of her former psychiatrist, who believes the journal will be 'an invaluable addition to the literature on female adolescence'; all the names will be changed to protect the identities of those involved. At the time of writing her diary, the narrator is sixteen and a boarding student at what seems to be a prestigious and old-fashioned girls' school. She has for some time enjoyed a friendship with a classmate named Lucy; their bond is so strong that they have endeavoured to secure a shared suite, and at the very beginning of the book, the narrator looks forward to the year they will enjoy together. It's only a few days, however, before Lucy strikes up a new friendship with the enigmatic 'new girl' from across the hall, Ernessa. Tormented by jealousy, the narrator grows ever more suspicious of Ernessa, and - encouraged by an English course which focuses on novels of the supernatural - she becomes convinced the new arrival is, in fact, a vampire. There is something truly magical about this book - it casts a spell. It is heavy with doom and dread, which is not to say it is dreary to read (far from it). It's so effectively gothic that I couldn't help but picture the school miles from civilisation and shrouded in mist, even though this is clearly not the case as the girls frequently travel to a neighbouring town. The atmosphere is suffocating: the boarders are pushed together, their lives are each other, they distance themselves from day students and are isolated from their families and (most of the time) from boys. Even in her meticulously detailed diary, the narrator is not always honest, casting doubt on her claims about Ernessa and Lucy, and making you wonder how much of her life is touched by fantasy. Are those occasional nightmarish experiences simply the product of an overactive imagination, fed by lurid stories? The characters' experiences illuminate the dark, strange part of this insular way of life, the flipside of the cheery image projected by most boarding school novels. But what The Moth Diaries does most effectively is to accurately recreate the sensations and emotions involved in being a teenage girl, a thing I think is very difficult and very, very rare. I have clear memories of a lot of the things I did, or that happened to me, when I was sixteen, not least because I kept diaries of my own, yet it's very rare for me to really and truly feel those memories in the context of the person I was then, with all the horrors and possibilities that time of my life entailed. I don't mean the specific experiences as much as the very specific atmospheres and attitudes of youth. This book, though, made me relive them. Although this is a story about teenage girls, written from the point of view of a teenage girl, I am in two minds about whether it should be classed as young adult fiction. On one hand, it could certainly be read and appreciated by a teenager; on the other, I'm very, very glad I discovered and read it for the first time as an adult. If I'd read it as a teenager I think I would have been too close to it to understand it properly. My reaction (I imagine) would have been characterised by comparison and envy: I've never behaved like that with my friends; as if anybody would do that in real life; ugh, that's weird; come on, nobody seriously writes like that in their diary. The negative reviews I've come across seem to have mainly come from readers judging it in this way, reading it in the context of traditional YA. Reading it from an adult perspective and treating it as I would any other novel, I found it, well, sublime. I suspect that because the author has delved so deeply into her protagonist's teenage psyche, it needs to be read at an adult's arm's length to really make sense. (I find many YA books to be the opposite - the characters behave too much like adults and, because their actions are unrealistic, they work best when read by either their actual target audience or by adult readers who are able to inhabit that mindset with ease.) There were only two things I didn't really like about the story. The first: the foreword and afterword by the adult version of the narrator, which serve only (as far as I can see) to frame the book as an adult novel rather than a YA one. Since the narrative is so powerful and effective on its own, the distinction doesn't matter, and this isn't necessary. The second: the involvement of Mr. Davies; to my mind, the story doesn't need any male characters at all, and would have been better without them. His involvement, minor though it is, slightly weakens it. As far as I can tell, The Moth Diaries is Klein's only novel. I'm happy about that, it feels right - it's one of those books that stands on its own so well that it almost seems like it would be a shame if the author wrote any other fiction. (I'm aware there's also a film of it, which looks terrible and which I have no intention of seeing - the book is enough for me.) That the set-up is simple, the action sometimes mundane, is one of its strengths: it allows the mood and tone to shine through as the main strengths of the story. The Moth Diaries was published 12 years ago, and is mostly set in the mid-1970s (if one assumes the narrator's introduction was written in the 'present day'), but the narrative feels completely timeless, with the air of a classic. Perhaps that's the influence of all the classic literature the narrator reads and frequently references; in any case, it's a perfect match for the sombre flavour of the whole book. Recommended if you enjoy books about vampires, boarding schools, and/or the intensity of friendships between adolescent girls. Recommended if you want to read a teen vampire novel that doesn't have anything to do with romance. Recommended if you want to read a teen vampire novel that is truly worth analysing, obsessing over and writing essays about. Recommended if you like modern fiction with a classic feel. Recommended if you want to read a book about sixteen-year-olds that will make you want to read Nietzsche, Proust and le Fanu, among others. Recommended if you like gothic fiction. Recommended if you like books.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Aj the Ravenous Reader

    A very dark, paranormal, contemporary that gave me the creeps and the heebie jeebies. It has all these weird elements that I found hard to reconcile and the ending to me is a bit odd. I honestly don't know how to use the ending to interpret the meaning of the story. But if you're looking for a very dark, creepy read, you're looking at the right book!^^

  3. 5 out of 5

    Iffath

    Being a typically huge fan of vampires, I really warmed to the idea of The Moth Diaries. I cannot even tell you how refreshing this book was, Klein has totally reinvented the myth that is the vampire and turned it into a race for survival that is triggered by the wonderful thing that is teenage anxiety. I loved how fantastically different The Moth Diaries was from other books about vampires. For one thing, the book isn't all 'Vampires! Argh! Bite me! Argh! Evil blood-sucking creatures! Argh!' (e Being a typically huge fan of vampires, I really warmed to the idea of The Moth Diaries. I cannot even tell you how refreshing this book was, Klein has totally reinvented the myth that is the vampire and turned it into a race for survival that is triggered by the wonderful thing that is teenage anxiety. I loved how fantastically different The Moth Diaries was from other books about vampires. For one thing, the book isn't all 'Vampires! Argh! Bite me! Argh! Evil blood-sucking creatures! Argh!' (excuse my poor summary of the genre of books I am in love with really). Okay, maybe it was a little bit, but it not in that way exactly, plus it was intertwined into actual human life and it just felt so much more realistic. The novel is told through the diary of a young teenage girl in a private school, who is unusually obsessed with her classmate (and best friend turned ex-best friend) Lucy, and Lucy's potential vampire roommate Ernessa. I understood the narrator's paranoia. The more she thought about what the hell Ernessa could be, the more she was driving herself into the wrong direction. I don't believe she was crazy. But perhaps still flustered over the tragedy of her father's death. She was more thoughtful, intelligent than the other girls in the school. At first I didn't know what to make of the book, until I let my mind linger on the events that happened. The story is left unfinished and we are left uncertain about whether there really is a vampire amongst the school or that the narrator is just umm, *cough*deranged*cough*. It is up to you to decide for yourself what is real and what is not. I loved how lots of parts were left to our own imagination. To really understand the story, you need to read between the lines, because there is more to Klein's novel than just what meets the eye. Mysterious and thrilling, The Moth Diaries is a complex, atmospheric story that requires a lot of thought. For all its simplicity, subtlety and gothicness, reading The Moth Diaries will give you a real taste of indulgence - the brain stimulating kind that we all pretend we don't like. I think you should read it, really.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jill the Ripper

    I picked this up at a second-hand booksale for five dollars simply because of the title and the promise of a boarding school that may or may not be creepy and awesome. I am really glad I did. First off, the biggest thing about this novel is that it's one of those, "is she/is she not" things, i.e., it plays big on whether or not the narrator (a sixteen year old boarder, who's lonelier and lovelier than I think she gave herself credit for) is descending into a spiral of madness, or if the disjointed I picked this up at a second-hand booksale for five dollars simply because of the title and the promise of a boarding school that may or may not be creepy and awesome. I am really glad I did. First off, the biggest thing about this novel is that it's one of those, "is she/is she not" things, i.e., it plays big on whether or not the narrator (a sixteen year old boarder, who's lonelier and lovelier than I think she gave herself credit for) is descending into a spiral of madness, or if the disjointed, often-unanswered version of reality she gives us is the real one. Honestly, I feel like there is a certain answer to that, at the end, but it's ambiguous enough that if you wanted to believe in a different ending (she's crazy, Ernessa is another facet of herself, Ernessa is actually a vampire) then you'd have enough in the text to support that. The whole thing just... flowed like liquid for me. Klein really did a beautiful job of drawing me into these girls' world, their secluded, lonely, lovely world. My version has the word "gothic" thrown on the back as a descriptor of it, and it really is - gothic in that heady, Victorian way, romantic and dark, making wading through it like running fingers through syrup. That's another thing; the narrator is poetic, whether she tries or doesn't, and I've seemed to cotton onto that a bit (haha!), so if you don't like that in your reading than this book might not be for you. It is beautiful, though. Take away the talk of vampires and mental health and what you're left with is a look at friendships, girls' friendships, how they work and how easily they can fall apart. That was the other really well done part about this book: everything those girls went through and especially how they all related to each other, or treated one another... it felt so real. It's a terrible and amazing thing, being that age. This book brought a little bit of that back for me, and aside from the magic, I love it even more for that.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Probably the only thing you should know about The Moth Diaries is that when I sat down to write this review, I spent the first 30 minutes composing a nine part list of questions, subquestions, and subsubquestions about what the hell I just read. I seriously have no idea. And I really really like that I have no idea. A diverse mélange of genres—boarding school tale, coming of age story, vampire gothic (well, maybe…), psychological thriller—The Moth Diaries resists easy definition. What is this bo Probably the only thing you should know about The Moth Diaries is that when I sat down to write this review, I spent the first 30 minutes composing a nine part list of questions, subquestions, and subsubquestions about what the hell I just read. I seriously have no idea. And I really really like that I have no idea. A diverse mélange of genres—boarding school tale, coming of age story, vampire gothic (well, maybe…), psychological thriller—The Moth Diaries resists easy definition. What is this book? What is it even about? And most pressingly, what does it all mean? Although this novel eschews certainties, I’ll venture to say that it’s about the tenuousness of teenage identity. As the 16 year-old unnamed narrator chronicles her junior year at boarding school, she constantly probes those common almost-adult questions: who am I, who do I want to be, who am I expected to be? It’s also about jealousy. The hateful jealousy the narrator feels towards Ernessa, a new student who dazzles her peers with her deconstruction of Nietzsche and her apathy towards school rules, leads her to label Ernessa as a vampire. Whether or not Ernessa truly is a vampire—indeed whether or not Ernessa even actually exists—depends on your appraisal of the narrator’s deteriorating mental state as she grows more and more jealous. In many ways, Ernessa seems to be a facsimile of the narrator—both are intelligent Jewish girls with dead dads and accompanying outsider cachet—though Ernessa is the more content, confident facsimile. She is simply a better, truer version of the narrator, and this self-assuredness may just inspire the narrator to suffer a psychotic break and persecute Ernessa as an abomination, a supernatural other who sleeps in a coffin. This jealousy is compounded by the microenvironment of the narrator’s boarding school. Most of the drama unrolls in a single dormitory hallway. And so the novel is about the destructiveness of isolated groups. A small social circle leads us to study others and ourselves too closely. No one can really like herself or other people when viewed so intimately. No one can contain jealousies in such a limited environment. The narrator’s delusions thus don’t seem delusional but reasonable. Perhaps anyone’s skin can adopt a pale, heliophobic sheen when being observed daily, for hours, at a distance of less than a few meters. It’s only normal. The Moth Diaries is ambiguous, rewarding repeated close readings. Klein’s writing is exquisite. Ethereal yet harsh, it is the gospel of a girl, a faithful record of how she sees things to truly be. True or not, these are her words. The prose suffocates you with its terrible insularity. You are caught in the narrator’s nightmare. Whether the nightmare is real or self-created is unimportant, because you are caught in it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Asghar Abbas

    Irrational fixation, ambiguous sexuality, inner working of a girls’ private school in the 1960s. Top it off with a luscious prose and throw in an antagonist who might be a vampire; you have an ingredient for something special. Horrible movie adaptation though, even if Sarah Bolger was in it . In honor of AURORA's album coming out today, I want to reread it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lina

    Lesbian vampires. Being awesome since 1872. When people think of groundbreaking vampire works, everyone rushes to Dracula as the cornerstone of vampiric literature. However, the novella Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, which predates the good ol' count by about 25-years or so. Alright, history lesson over. I only wanted to read this book because the insanely beautiful Sarah Bolger is going to be staring as the lead in the upcoming film adaptation. Shallow, but honest. Like all vampire novels it star Lesbian vampires. Being awesome since 1872. When people think of groundbreaking vampire works, everyone rushes to Dracula as the cornerstone of vampiric literature. However, the novella Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, which predates the good ol' count by about 25-years or so. Alright, history lesson over. I only wanted to read this book because the insanely beautiful Sarah Bolger is going to be staring as the lead in the upcoming film adaptation. Shallow, but honest. Like all vampire novels it starts when a creepy, but hypnotic young woman arrives as a ritzy-all-girls boarding school. Our protagonist (who is nameless) is a really neurotic, somewhat hateful and obsessive and I love it. Usually in "diary" books or even first person narration we spend so many pages in someone's head and we still don't know anything about them. In here I feel like I know the narrator. I see her flaws, how she thinks and how she views in people in the raw way you'd get from reading someone's diary. She felt real to me and that made reading a lot more enjoyable. Her obsession with Lucy Blake (who is imo, an homage to Lucy from Dracula) is almost as chilling as the "vampire" character Ernessa attachment to her. The lesbian undertones are South of Nowhere worthy. Yet, I couldn't call it romantic in any way. All the characters are painfully flawed, but that could even be questioned because our narrator is obviously unreliable (and somewhat of a bitch at times) Due to her obsession and air of intellectual superiority, it is hard to tell if what she is just going crazy, suffers from acute paranoia or is actually telling the truth. The language is very poetic and it works, because the narrator is writing this like a piece. It's told from the beginning that her diary writing is not just for pleasure. It is a meticulous--almost anal--form of documenting. I enjoyed the mystery of this novel, due to the back of the book I expected it to be a very cut and dry vampire story, but it wasn't. Even I have my doubts as to what Ernessa really is. 4.0/5.0

  8. 5 out of 5

    murphy ✌ (daydreamofalife)

    5 / 5 Haunting, ethereal, beautiful. Apologies in advance if this review is a little... much. It seems as if the lyrical writing style of this book has infected me, and no matter how many times I've attempted to write this, I can't help but fall back into it. To me, this book was like a fever dream whereupon waking, you feel as if you've lost some essential knowledge of the universe that you learned as you slept. But instead of feeling a loss, you feel strangely fulfilled, like even though you do 5 / 5 Haunting, ethereal, beautiful. Apologies in advance if this review is a little... much. It seems as if the lyrical writing style of this book has infected me, and no matter how many times I've attempted to write this, I can't help but fall back into it. To me, this book was like a fever dream whereupon waking, you feel as if you've lost some essential knowledge of the universe that you learned as you slept. But instead of feeling a loss, you feel strangely fulfilled, like even though you don't remember what you had learned, somewhere deep in your soul the knowledge has left a lasting mark. I'm not really sure if that makes any sense, but needless to say this book had an impact. The writing was so captivating and ominous, I truly felt completely transported somewhere far from myself for the entirety of my reading. It's very rare that I feel so fully captured by something, and I do think that to feel this way about a book is a deeply personal, nearly spiritual experience. (Unfortunately, that makes it very hard to review, because not everyone can or will feel the same way as I do about this book.) I've already mentioned the writing, so I'll move on to the characters. Every character, from our nameless narrator, to Ernessa - our perhaps vampire, perhaps fever dream herself, felt like someone I knew. They felt so real to me (especially our narrator). I honestly felt as if I'd met these girls myself, as if I'd known them as deeply as I know the people that I grew up with. It's the type of knowledge where you feel simultaneously as if you could read their very soul, but also as if you don't truly know them at all. I find myself at the end of this review, and hell, even at the end of this book in a sort of content state of confusion. Was Ernessa a vampire? A delusion? Was she simply a girl? Was our narrator growing madder with each passing day? Or did she see a truth that everyone else ignored? Is it the supernatural or our own minds that lead us down these darkened rabbit holes? I don't have any answers at all. I know absolutely nothing with any certainty, and I feel perfectly okay with it. This book was an exploration of adolescence and the teenage psyche, that maddening time where nothing is too much and everything is not enough. That time that we adults find alien and incomprehensible, despite having been there ourselves. And while I don't think this book is for everyone, for me it was utterly perfect, eerie, and unforgettable.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Appleby-Dean

    A delicate bubble of adolescence and vampirism, perfectly capturing the neuroses and uncertain shadows of growing up away from home while recounting the unnamed heroine's cocktail of feelings for her school-friend and growing suspicions about the new girl across the corridor. This isn't the YA novel its cover and premise suggest - Klein's writing is rather more reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, and The Moth Diaries has a lot of Hangsaman about it - although this is a far more gothic and haunted ta A delicate bubble of adolescence and vampirism, perfectly capturing the neuroses and uncertain shadows of growing up away from home while recounting the unnamed heroine's cocktail of feelings for her school-friend and growing suspicions about the new girl across the corridor. This isn't the YA novel its cover and premise suggest - Klein's writing is rather more reminiscent of Shirley Jackson, and The Moth Diaries has a lot of Hangsaman about it - although this is a far more gothic and haunted tale than Jackson's. The foreword and afterword add very little - they put a prosaic spin on the book's events, and have none of its carefully-spun paranoia - but the central story is extraordinary, and sorely overlooked.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Third read: It is just as amazing reading it again. I wish I could express myself more eloquently... It deserves more than I can say. If only there was no preface and afterward - especially the preface, too many preconceptions about the girl - it would be absolutely perfect. I wish I had someone to discuss it with, but at the same time I don't want to share it with my friends because I don't think they would appreciate it and that would spoil it. There is so much atmosphere; it's all so bleak, so Third read: It is just as amazing reading it again. I wish I could express myself more eloquently... It deserves more than I can say. If only there was no preface and afterward - especially the preface, too many preconceptions about the girl - it would be absolutely perfect. I wish I had someone to discuss it with, but at the same time I don't want to share it with my friends because I don't think they would appreciate it and that would spoil it. There is so much atmosphere; it's all so bleak, so gothic, so isolating, so claustrophobic. Second read: This has been my favourite book for many years. I find the best way to read it is to skip the preface and read the journal portion first - it is much more mysterious that way and allows you to follow the life of this girl with no preconceptions.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Apricotteacup

    The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein is a psychological horror novel for the older YA crowd that relies on slow building tension to paint a tale of obsession and paranoia. The Unnamed Narrator tells the story of her final year in a posh 1960’s all girls boarding school. A strange new girl, Ernessa, has joined the cast of boarders at the school and has begun to threaten our Narrators friendship/infatuation with her roommate Lucy. Rather than accept Lucy’s betrayal, the Narrator begins to imagine that The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein is a psychological horror novel for the older YA crowd that relies on slow building tension to paint a tale of obsession and paranoia. The Unnamed Narrator tells the story of her final year in a posh 1960’s all girls boarding school. A strange new girl, Ernessa, has joined the cast of boarders at the school and has begun to threaten our Narrators friendship/infatuation with her roommate Lucy. Rather than accept Lucy’s betrayal, the Narrator begins to imagine that Ernessa is monster leeching the life out of Lucy and causing strange accidents and illnesses at the school. The Moth Diaries is a very slow read. Most of the action takes place between the lines rather than on the page. The diary format is frustrating at times. Characters waltz in and out of the entries without introduction and in many places, storytelling is blocked by laundry lists of homework assignments and tedious accounts of daily life. At times, the book also feels like an exercise in literary style writing. Sometimes it worked and I was spellbound; other times it fell flat and I felt like I was wasting my time. The things I liked most about the book were the tone and the setting. I really felt like I was a part of a society of cloistered, faux intellectual school girls living in the kind of lush boarding school world that only exists in books and movies. The characters were given adequate personality despite minimal description. But in general, the book was a mixed bag. It didn't quite meet my expectations. If you’re looking for something to challenge your mind and like untrustworthy narrators, your time may be better spent reading The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket).

  12. 5 out of 5

    David Blue

    I remain terribly impressed with this eerie tale, one where figuring out what really happens remains a perhaps insoluble mystery. The narrator clearly suffers a mental breakdown during the narrative, and we see that all too clearly in the pages of her diary. But does that mean her suspicions about Enessa were false? Looking back, how odd is it that a teenage girl had a "psychotic break" yet never had another? And what about those deaths? Clearly inspired by Le Fanu's seminal CARMILLA, Rachel Klei I remain terribly impressed with this eerie tale, one where figuring out what really happens remains a perhaps insoluble mystery. The narrator clearly suffers a mental breakdown during the narrative, and we see that all too clearly in the pages of her diary. But does that mean her suspicions about Enessa were false? Looking back, how odd is it that a teenage girl had a "psychotic break" yet never had another? And what about those deaths? Clearly inspired by Le Fanu's seminal CARMILLA, Rachel Klein's debut novel may earn the whining of those who say nothing happens. In other words, no car chases or gun fights or explosions. Just a friendship dissolving for no reason anyone understands. A psyche falling apart. A swarm of teenaged girls reacting to weird happenings none of them understand (and equally none are capable of handling). It haunts me, this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    TheVampireBookworm

    Creepy boarding school tales with possible vampires usually sounds like my thing so Im not really sure what went wrong here that I didn't really enjoy it. The story is told in a teenager's diary and tells a tale of growing up in a claustrophobic setting full of girls who fall in and out all the time. A new girl who never eats comes in and suddenly weird stuff starts happening. The thing is, our narrator can't be trusted. She's lost her father so it may just be her PTSD playing with her. The idea Creepy boarding school tales with possible vampires usually sounds like my thing so I´m not really sure what went wrong here that I didn't really enjoy it. The story is told in a teenager's diary and tells a tale of growing up in a claustrophobic setting full of girls who fall in and out all the time. A new girl who never eats comes in and suddenly weird stuff starts happening. The thing is, our narrator can't be trusted. She's lost her father so it may just be her PTSD playing with her. The idea and setting seems right but the story just didn't feel right to me. I was bored by most of the diary entries and overall found the narrator pathetic and not worth my time. I also didn't know if the author wants to focus on the becoming of age part and the vampire acts as a metaphor or if it was two separate ideas to spice things up but didn't work.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. At the the start of her junior year as a boarder at a small New England girls' school, the narrator buys a bound journal and begins writing with high hopes. She and her closest friends are all rooming on the same hallway, and she's sharing a suite with her very best friend, Lucy. But then Ernessa, a mysterious new girl, arrives and steals Lucy away as her own best friend. As Ernessa begins to seem stranger and stranger, an English class dedicated to the supernatural in literature gets the narrat At the the start of her junior year as a boarder at a small New England girls' school, the narrator buys a bound journal and begins writing with high hopes. She and her closest friends are all rooming on the same hallway, and she's sharing a suite with her very best friend, Lucy. But then Ernessa, a mysterious new girl, arrives and steals Lucy away as her own best friend. As Ernessa begins to seem stranger and stranger, an English class dedicated to the supernatural in literature gets the narrator wondering: Could Ernessa possibly be a vampire? This is hands-down one of the most unusual books I've read. And I'm seriously not sure how to review it without major spoilers, but here goes. The book opens with a prologue from the narrator thirty years later, so the reader knows she's been treated for psychological issues, but has come out all right -- she's married and has two daughters. The narrator, who I'll call N -- I was two-thirds of the way through before I realized she is never named -- begins her diary in good spirits. She's crazy about Lucy, partly with a major girl-crush and partly because Lucy really made an effort to befriend N when she was a lonely newcomer the year before, entering the school mid-semester following her poet father's suicide. N truly believes that she and her floormates are destined for a wonderful year of studying and hanging out smoking in the "Playroom" (the story is set in 1971-72, but the only indicator of the year is repeated references to Cat Stevens. I had to look up "Moon Shadow"'s release date to figure the time out). But then Ernessa -- a new girl whose father is also dead -- moves onto their hallway, and Lucy's fascination quickly shifts from N to Ernessa. N, already obsessed with Lucy's activities and whereabouts, begins to track Ernessa with the same minute detail. And what she notices is creepy. Ernessa never eats. Ernessa never appears in classes. Ernessa's room smells of decay. Ernessa talks about her childhood as if it were a long time ago. N's jealousy and resentment lead her to hate Ernessa with a deep intensity, and to spy on her ... except no one seems to actually occupy Ernessa's room. Meanwhile, other disturbing things are happening on campus. A dog Ernessa hates is brutally killed. So is a gym teacher. A classmate falls to her death. Could Ernessa be behind these atrocities? When Lucy begins to waste away and doctors can't figure out what is wrong with her, N becomes convinced that Ernessa is a vampire, feeding from Lucy's energy. Then things get even weirder, if that's even possible. By the end of the story, it's impossible to tell what's real, and what's a product of N's madness and paranoia. Does Ernessa, who has so much in common with N, actually exist -- or not? If not, then what was the cause of Lucy's illness? Was everything else that happened just coincidence? This is a horror novel that plays hardball with the reader's head. It's suspenseful, deeply creepy, taut, tense, and, by the end, outright frightening. It's left me a bit shaken, wondering how on earth anyone can tell the difference between psychosis and reality. The author presents N's madness so convincingly that the story becomes a total mind***k. It came from the YA section of my library system, but the way it's bookended with a prologue and an epilogue from N's adult self makes me think it's intended more as an adult book. It's definitely not to everyone's tastes. But even though I'm finding it squirmily unsatisfying, at the same time, I think it was absolutely brilliant. If you want to read Carmilla as done by Barbara Vine, give this book a try.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emmett

    Thoroughly enjoyed swimming around in Klein's rich, vivid prose. It's a book of obsession: with people, with death, with clues both real and imagined (with both blending into themselves, indistinguishable). The isolated, almost ethereal atmosphere of a boarding school, secluded, hushed, away from everybody else, makes the ideal foreign, unreal location for these series of creepy happenings and for such a deep, strangling, consuming thought to take hold. Everything is intense there: from the thou Thoroughly enjoyed swimming around in Klein's rich, vivid prose. It's a book of obsession: with people, with death, with clues both real and imagined (with both blending into themselves, indistinguishable). The isolated, almost ethereal atmosphere of a boarding school, secluded, hushed, away from everybody else, makes the ideal foreign, unreal location for these series of creepy happenings and for such a deep, strangling, consuming thought to take hold. Everything is intense there: from the thoughts which stretch out and grasp every inescapable detail both mundane and chilling to the close-knitted (too close?) relationships the girls share, which might be disturbing if not for the convenient excuse of their boarding school - old, perhaps elite and therefore these things become a classical element, almost forgiveable but as the main character puts it in an almost languid manner, rehashing these experiences in generous detail, it all sounds rather unsurprising, 'I've heard it all before; girls that go too far'. Klein's writing permeates the pages and soaks it with the vitality of a girl and the exuberant, sparkling drink of her experience. It entrances and it swallows. Was a little disappointed when I kept my eyes peeled for further plot development with Mr Davis but found little else except that piece of startling detail.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Αταλάντη Ευριπίδου

    I found out about this book by chance and watched the movie version first. I was surprised by how much I liked it because, initially, I had thought I would be yet another paranormal romance/teen vampire story. Thankfully, it wasn't. This is a story of growing up, of struggling with adolescence and the ghosts of the past, of people so wrapped up in their pain that they cannot see the world around them. The writing was reminiscent of a young girl's and transported my back to my own adolescence. Fa I found out about this book by chance and watched the movie version first. I was surprised by how much I liked it because, initially, I had thought I would be yet another paranormal romance/teen vampire story. Thankfully, it wasn't. This is a story of growing up, of struggling with adolescence and the ghosts of the past, of people so wrapped up in their pain that they cannot see the world around them. The writing was reminiscent of a young girl's and transported my back to my own adolescence. Familiar passages from familiar books turned the "Moth Diaries" into something I could connect with, almost as if I could remember those memories myself.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As you can tell from my rating, I really enjoyed this book. The writing was very absorbing, right from the beginning, and I felt like a voyeur that witnessed everything unfold. The narrator was fascinating to me, but I thought it was obvious that she was in the midst of a mental breakdown and that Ernessa was never a vampire. However, I am very conflicted over the possibility that Ernessa may never have existed. The diary was written entirely from the POV of the narrator, so it is possible that As you can tell from my rating, I really enjoyed this book. The writing was very absorbing, right from the beginning, and I felt like a voyeur that witnessed everything unfold. The narrator was fascinating to me, but I thought it was obvious that she was in the midst of a mental breakdown and that Ernessa was never a vampire. However, I am very conflicted over the possibility that Ernessa may never have existed. The diary was written entirely from the POV of the narrator, so it is possible that Ernessa never existed and the narrator hallucinated her. The book's lack of answers really doesn't bother me too much, but I could understand why so many readers would be frustrated.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Natascha

    The Moth Diaries is just what it's called. A novel in diary format about a girl and her hurdled path through grief. Her father had committed suicide two years before and now the girl who dragged her through that period of her life, Lucy, has made a new friend, Ernessa Block. The year is scattered with unfortunate events and the narrator can't help but wonder if Ernessa has anything to do with it. It's written in journalstyled entries, which makes for a quick read but also a very chaotic one, as t The Moth Diaries is just what it's called. A novel in diary format about a girl and her hurdled path through grief. Her father had committed suicide two years before and now the girl who dragged her through that period of her life, Lucy, has made a new friend, Ernessa Block. The year is scattered with unfortunate events and the narrator can't help but wonder if Ernessa has anything to do with it. It's written in journalstyled entries, which makes for a quick read but also a very chaotic one, as the characters aren't all described to the fullest as would be the case in a classical novel. In my opinion this doesn't pose a problem but rather adds to the way the story is framed. If you would go into any girls bedroom right now and pick up her diary, you would find the exact same lack of description. As it containes details of one girl's life she doesn't need rich descriptions of the people around her, she meets them every day. For these kinds of stories the format works realy well because it keeps you guising and you have a closer relationship with the narrator. You see the world through her eyes and her eyes only, which sucks you into the story more. At least in my experiance. This review will contain spoilers. This book is what Black Swan would have been if it was set in a all girls school. Our main character and narrator, who remains unnamed through-out the book, becomes obscessed with a new arrival at the boarding school, Ernessa Block. Who's crime is becoming very intimate friends with the narrator's roommate Lucy. When the narrator's father died she had spotted Lucy at the school and longed to be like her. Lucy was simple, happy, non-jewish and whole, everything the narrator wasn't at the time. Sharing her with anyone, would be difficult. But our narrator doesn't like Ernessa. She can't come to grips with the fact that teenage friendships are as fickle as the teenage girls themselves. Lucy is drifting away down a new path and the narrator can't cope. Through a series of unfortunate and unexplainable event in the school, the narrator starts to believe that Ernessa is a vampire. We read about her suspisions and eventual isolation from the rest of her school friends, who cannot tollerate her strange facinations and even blame her for Lucy's sudden death at the end of the story. Like in the movie Black Swan, we can never trust our narrator 100%. The question always remains: "Is the narrator telling the truth or are her thruths the result of a sick mind ?" After finishing the book we can clearly see enough signs of the latter. A good example of this is the forgotten conversation the narrator and a friend Dora have with Ernessa about being Jewish. She reports that she reread her journal and doesn't understand why she didn't write this down because she clearly remembers it. The strange conversatiosn with Ernessa are another example of the state of mind the narrator's in. I've read a few reviews that undermine the believebility of the book because of the way some girls talk. Dora's deep reflections about Nietzsche for instance, or the way Ernessa talks, I have to disagree on that. We all know them and have known them, the "smart" people in our school, job, university who flaunt and brag about the fact they've read Nietzsche, the poems of Emily Dickinson, Plato etc. They want to convey they are great thinkers and very intelligent so they start debates about politics at lunch and talk down to people who don't respond to their flaunts or are in fact as intelligent as they are and don't go bragging about it. The subplot about Mr Davies, I confess I don't see the point of. If he had been just a teacher who saw something was wrong with the narrator and tried to reach her, that would have been more convincing. Instead he grabs her boobs and kisses her out of nowhere. Like Black Swan, the story ends without a doubt of the instability of the narrator's mind. In that effect I prefer the ending of the movie version , where the main character just rides of in a police car. We can immagine she'll get into trouble but we don't know for sure. In the book it is stated that she was commited to a mental hospital and grew up to be the one thing she always stated her blond, airhead friends would be, a married mother, a grown-up with a life just like anyone else. Whick brings me to another problem. What is so wrong with growing up and having a family of your own? It's an expectation of sociaty yes, and I can see that people would want to avoid anything to do with mainstream society. But realy, does having a family mean you are a sell-out? A traitor to your big ideas and dreams you had when you were younger? I don't think so. Having a family doesn't mean an end to everything you ever were. But rather a next stage in your development as a person. I must congratulate the author on writing a vampire story that isn't Twilighty in this day and age. And most of all that this story shows a love intrest isn't neccesary for a good story. You can argue that Lucy is some sort of love intrest but the relationship between the narrator and her is much more complex than that. She needs Lucy but not in a romantic way. I love that there are hardley any boys ,or men for that matter in this book. There are far to little stories written entirely from a female point of view in a female world.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wynne Kontos

    I had this one on my shelf for a long time, having bought it and never read it. And let me tell you, it's a strange read. The nameless female narrator has found herself at boarding school for the past few years after the suicide of her father and mental breakdown of her mother. Slowly you realize (make that very slowly) that the story is set in the sixties, but I guess maybe I'm the slow one, since the boarding school allowed it's female students to indulge in a smoke break after lunch (good luc I had this one on my shelf for a long time, having bought it and never read it. And let me tell you, it's a strange read. The nameless female narrator has found herself at boarding school for the past few years after the suicide of her father and mental breakdown of her mother. Slowly you realize (make that very slowly) that the story is set in the sixties, but I guess maybe I'm the slow one, since the boarding school allowed it's female students to indulge in a smoke break after lunch (good luck floating that now.) Right away, I had a difficult time liking the narrator. Part of "the Moth Diaries" biggest plot points is that she is obsessed with her roommate, Lucy. But why?! For diary entry after entry we listen to her obsess over Lucy's whereabouts and behaviors, in a way that definitely speaks to the is she or isn't she insane piece, but is unpleasant to read. When Lucy begins to abandon the narrator in favor of the strange new boarder, Ernessa, who can blame her? Of course the narrator finds reasons to hate Ernessa right away, most of which indicate that Ernessa may be some type of supernatural creature, namely a vampire. She never eats at dinner, is often absent for class, her room is virtually empty and smells like "decay," and she appears and disappears in rooms. Even with these qualities, it's hard to fault Lucy for wanting to distance herself from her overprotective roommate. It isn't until other things, and then people, begin to die that the narrator believes something truly more sinister is going on with Ernessa, and her growing power over Lucy. Klein has a knack for powerful language, and blends what may be the narrators psychotic episodes with true experiences in a way that had me re-reading them in order to try and understand. But isn't that the point? Is Ernessa really a vampire? Using the other girl's budding sexuality as a way to prey on them for their blood? Or is our already unreliable narrator quickly losing grip with reality? Despite the these well written aspects, it's hard to stay connected to a challenging story when there's no real ally in your main character. The nameless young woman we're following is at no point very likable, especially when she wipes her own shit over Lucy's door in an attempt to dissuade any supernatural creatures, namely Ernessa, from entering the room. I have my own theories as to the book's conclusion, and you will certainly make yours. But this book read slowly, and overall, left a bad taste in my mouth. No pun intended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Kurtagich

    This book is a completely, and I mean completely subjective read. As for me, I loved, loved, loved every page. The minutia of the main character’s life was so real and charming, told in a voice so authentic, that I careened through the entire novel in a little over a day. Every character feels real and alive, even through the medium of a diary, and I applaud Klein on that count. There is nothing grandiose in the opening diary entry—it reads like one of my own school-time journals—and this kind of This book is a completely, and I mean completely subjective read. As for me, I loved, loved, loved every page. The minutia of the main character’s life was so real and charming, told in a voice so authentic, that I careened through the entire novel in a little over a day. Every character feels real and alive, even through the medium of a diary, and I applaud Klein on that count. There is nothing grandiose in the opening diary entry—it reads like one of my own school-time journals—and this kind of honesty is charming. The first clues we, as readers, get that this is going to be more than just an account of friendships, bitchiness, sex and dr ugs, is this following line on page 14: “There is something strange about the new girl. Or else she’s totally out of it.” One thing I will say is that the book is tragic in an epic sense. When you get so absorbed in the minute details of their world—you get drawn into what is happening, who said what to whom, who did what and when—it is impossible not to feel frustrated with what is going on around the diarist. And when, despite what she has been trying to say and do, the worst happens, it is heart-crushing. The main character certainly has some screws loose—she does some pretty gross things—you cannot help but wonder about the reliability of our narrator. And the ending is also intentionally ambiguous, and I still haven’t completely decided—was she crazy to have thought what she did? Or was Ernessa really a vampire . . ? I guess you guys will have to read it yourselves and tell me what you all think about it. Review Source:http://dawnkurtagich.blogspot.com/201...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    Rachel Klein’s The Moth Diaries is a gripping, beautifully-written novel of female adolescence. The unreliable narrator—whose name the reader never learns—is a young woman who grows increasingly obsessed with her friend, Lucy, and new girl Ernessa at their boarding school. The novel draws in the reader from the offset; Klein weaves a masterful web with her debut, until the reader becomes convinced, alongside the narrator, that there is something strange about Ernessa. The characters of The Moth D Rachel Klein’s The Moth Diaries is a gripping, beautifully-written novel of female adolescence. The unreliable narrator—whose name the reader never learns—is a young woman who grows increasingly obsessed with her friend, Lucy, and new girl Ernessa at their boarding school. The novel draws in the reader from the offset; Klein weaves a masterful web with her debut, until the reader becomes convinced, alongside the narrator, that there is something strange about Ernessa. The characters of The Moth Diaries are well-written, vibrant girls, though none are exactly strong role-models for readers of young-adult literature. From the mouse-like Beth to the insatiably drug-hungry Charley, the girls spring to life for the reader, offering their own stories, many of which become deeply interwoven with the tales told by the narrator. Life and death shadow every move that the characters make; the balance between sanity and insanity is tenuous for these girls at best; and at the end of the novel, the reader is left sated but curious – and somewhat left to fill in their own interpretations for the events of Klein’s novel. I would recommend this novel to anyone with even a vague, passing interest in well-written literature: the narrator and entire cast of characters may not always be likeable, but the novel is made twice as enjoyable for their myriad of flaws.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Juushika

    Rebecca is eager to begin a new year at boarding school with her best friend as a roommate, but the strange student who moves in across the hall threatens to destroy everything. The Moth Diaries has been adapted into an atmospheric but sometimes unsuccessful film, which is how I discovered it; as it turns out, the film was a faithful adaptation but the story works better as a novel. What makes it succeed is its subjectivity: as a diarist, Rebecca is beautifully characterized--an erudite, bitterl Rebecca is eager to begin a new year at boarding school with her best friend as a roommate, but the strange student who moves in across the hall threatens to destroy everything. The Moth Diaries has been adapted into an atmospheric but sometimes unsuccessful film, which is how I discovered it; as it turns out, the film was a faithful adaptation but the story works better as a novel. What makes it succeed is its subjectivity: as a diarist, Rebecca is beautifully characterized--an erudite, bitterly selfish, sympathetic, and distinctly teenage young woman--and a consummate unreliable narrator; the war between her certainty and her strange, unsubstantiated experiences creates sense of unease which is foiled by the school's beguiling, isolated atmosphere. The Moth Diaries is romantic but unromanticized, with a littering of literary references, frequently unlikable narrator, and dreamlike atmosphere which overlays a school rendered in both enchanting and banal detail. I found it to be an unqualified success, and if the premise appeals then I recommend it enthusiastically.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Madi

    This book has to be my favourite book ever, i loved it, couldn't put it down and empathised with the protagonist to the point of crying in anger on her behalf numerous times. This book evokes strong emotions and portrays the confusion of teenage life along with a descent into madness. The moth diaries can be considered a modern Gothic novel, but it is not just your typical "vampire" novel, with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my chair this book is a must read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    I really liked this book, which combines two of my favorite things: a journal format and a boarding-school setting. I also really like the (possibly) supernatural elements. At its heart, this book is about what it's like to be a teenage girl. It seems to use vampirism as a metaphor for (view spoiler)[eating disorders (hide spoiler)] (at least in my opinion), much like Angela Carter used lycnathropy as a symbol for (view spoiler)[menarche (hide spoiler)] in "The Company of Wolves."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I really enjoyed this. Some places I have seen it class it as a vampire novel but that didn't have much to do with it. It was more about lonliness and dealing with grief, aswell as the selfishness of teenage girls. Sometimes diary style books can get boring but I didn't find that with this book. It reminded me a bit of The Bell Jar. Great book!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I just couldn't get into this writing style. Very slow moving, too.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    "I looked into that circle of annoyed faces. They have no idea that something terrible is about to happen. Or they already know. They are willing to sacrifice Lucy to protect themselves."

  28. 4 out of 5

    Plum-crazy

    Is Ernessa really a vampire? Is the narrator trapped in her own fevered imagination? Who knows? Who cares? Not me.....

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)

    I loved the sound of Rachel Klein’s The Moth Diaries as soon as I heard about it. I’m a fan of books set in boarding schools and I also like reading about the paranormal, especially vampires. This books is about boarding school and vampires, but it’s completely not what I expected. I got something very unique, and something that I’m still quite uncertain about. This is definitely a book to read if you want something that is different from your usual young adult paranormal novel. The most effectiv I loved the sound of Rachel Klein’s The Moth Diaries as soon as I heard about it. I’m a fan of books set in boarding schools and I also like reading about the paranormal, especially vampires. This books is about boarding school and vampires, but it’s completely not what I expected. I got something very unique, and something that I’m still quite uncertain about. This is definitely a book to read if you want something that is different from your usual young adult paranormal novel. The most effective parts of this book, for me, were the foreword and afterword - claiming that this book was based on a journal kept as a teen by our narrator, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, depression and psychosis by her psychiatric doctor. These sections are vital to the story and make it very interesting. Can our narrator really trust her thoughts, or is her mental health making her delusional? The main section of this book is written as a series of diary entries by an unnamed narrator. It did feel somewhat personal, as usual teen issues including concerns over body image and friendship rifts were discussed. However, I found it very difficult to connect with our narrator. She didn't lack emotion, and what she did show, she expressed in quite a philosophical manner or through literary references. I think that the main reason why I didn't connect with the narrator was because I found her to be a little selfish and I thought her relationships with others felt a little immature. A lot of the friendships in this book seemed to be quite manipulative. Our protagonist has a quite obsessive relationship with her best friend, Lucy, and seems to be possessive of her. When Lucy befriends the new girl, Ernessa, the narrator gets extremely concerned. Ernessa is later shown to have some strange habits, which, teamed with the strange goings on around her (including deaths and illnesses), our narrator single handedly decides that she must be a vampire. Ernessa seems to be very controlling, which creates her dark persona. I just didn't feel as though any of the friendships in this book were very healthy. There are a lot of quite dark and disturbing issues mentioned in this book. Although there wasn't any particularly horrific graphic accounts of things, I did feel uncomfortable throughout the whole of the book. As I've said, I felt unsure of a lot of aspects in this book, but it did add to the dark undertone of the story. For the most part of this book, the narrator is battling with her thoughts about Ernessa being a vampire. It is an interesting idea - the reader is always questioning whether the protagonist is sensing real, strange habits, or whether it is a case of over thinking, a figment of her imagination. The setting was gothic and it fitted well with the tone, but the world building could have been better - the setting felt victorian yet modern at the same time and firmer foundations could've been formed. I didn't really know what time period I was in, and I was constantly waiting for something big to happen. There were some deaths, but they didn't feel like shocking events. A lot of this book felt confusing, not because of what happens, but due to the thought processes behind the diary. I thought that this was definitely interesting, especially the story behind it. Personally, it was a little too difficult for me to get into and a bit too ambiguous, but I would certainly recommend this to others who are interested in both mental health and in the paranormal. I think that Klein obviously has a lot of talent and it is shown in this book - I would love to see more from her.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leanna (daisychainbooks)

    When I first heard of The Moth Diaries I thought it sounded like my perfect book - It’s billed as a vampire story set in an exclusive boarding school and told through the diary entries of a troubled teenage girl. It can be all that, if you want it to be, but I perceived the book to be very different from my usual vampire fare. In the end, I considered that the book may not actually be vampire fiction at all, but instead a study of the psychological torment and mental disintegration of a teenage When I first heard of The Moth Diaries I thought it sounded like my perfect book - It’s billed as a vampire story set in an exclusive boarding school and told through the diary entries of a troubled teenage girl. It can be all that, if you want it to be, but I perceived the book to be very different from my usual vampire fare. In the end, I considered that the book may not actually be vampire fiction at all, but instead a study of the psychological torment and mental disintegration of a teenage girl as she tries to come to terms with the suicide of her father. If you like books where the ending is neatly wrapped up and everything is explained, then this one isn’t for you. If, on the other hand, you like books that will stay on your mind for days after you’ve finished them, let you draw your own conclusions to almost every plot point, and leave you with a lot of unanswered questions, then pick this one up. We are introduced to our narrator as an adult, and from the first pages we know that she has suffered from borderline personality disorder, depression and psychosis. From the prologue, we are then taken back thirty years previously, and to her diary entries where we can sense her isolation at her all-girls boarding school. She seems unhappy and unpopular, but would have the reader think otherwise. Her diary entries are inconsistent with how she seems to be perceived by the people around her, and so from the start, we mark her as an unreliable narrator. She is somewhat obsessed with her roommate Lucy, and extremely jealous of the mysterious new girl at school, Ernessa, who becomes close to Lucy. Our narrator tells us that almost all the girls in her group are suspicious of Ernessa - she is different to them, in both her appearance and her behaviour. Strange things start happening at the school, deaths occur, and Lucy falls prey to a serious illness, which seemingly nobody can diagnose, apart from our narrator who decides that Ernessa is a vampire, and is sucking the life out of Lucy. Indeed, when Lucy is away from Ernessa she appears to recover. When she is near Ernessa, her symptoms appear again. But, how much of the story is true? It’s up to you to draw your own conclusions. It’s also hinted that Lucy may be anorexic, and an obsession with food is a constant theme throughout the book.. Is there any evidence that Ernessa is really a vampire? The lines between fantasy and reality are often blurred in the book - certain passages take place in nightmares and dreamscapes. It’s difficult to know whether the narrator is telling you the truth. At one point, I suspected that Ernessa might be entirely a figment of the narrator’s imagination. In addition, the narrator’s suspicions are fuelled by drugs and by the fact that she, herself is reading vampire fiction. While I found that a lot of the passages in the book dragged, and while I didn’t like the narrator, I must say that this one is a very interesting read. It’s one that requires discussion, and maybe even a second reading. It’s also spooky. I don’t often get spooked by books, but this one is very gothic, chilling and haunting. If anyone else has read this book, I’d love to know your thoughts on it. While reading the book, I found myself thinking that it would make a great movie, and then I discovered that there is actually a movie adaptation in the works, helmed by American Psycho director Mary Harron, and starring Sarah Bolger, Lily Cole and Scott Speedman. It’s certainly a movie I’m looking forward to seeing!

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