Cover Image: Beneath the Stairs

Beneath the Stairs

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Member Reviews

So many creeps and thrills! I enjoyed this book but was hoping for a little bit more. It got slow at moments but it kept me on the edge of my seat!

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Beneath the Stairs by Jennifer Fawcett is a haunting and suspenseful novel that explores the lingering effects of childhood trauma. Set in the small town of Sumner's Mills, upstate New York, the story revolves around the Octagon House, a long-abandoned mansion where a man killed his wife and two young daughters years ago.

The protagonist, Clare, is a woman haunted by her past, having lost her childhood friend Abby when they were teenagers. When she learns that Abby has attempted suicide at the Octagon House and is now in a coma, Clare returns to Sumner's Mills to uncover the truth behind her friend's accident.

Fawcett's writing is taut and atmospheric, creating a palpable sense of dread that permeates every page. The descriptions of the Octagon House are especially chilling, and the author does an excellent job of building tension as Clare delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Abby's condition.

At its heart, Beneath the Stairs is a story about the lasting impact of trauma and the ways in which it can shape our lives. Clare's own struggles with grief and loss are interwoven with the larger narrative, adding depth and nuance to her character.

Overall, Beneath the Stairs is a gripping and well-crafted thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Fawcett's skillful blend of horror and psychological suspense makes for an eerie and unforgettable reading experience.

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This one gave me serious heebie-jeebies. Dark basement, creepy doll, weird pull to the odd octagon-shaped house, strange shared dreams. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to yell "don't doooooo that" to the pages. It's been awhile since I've read something that gave me those anxious vibes, as I rarely get that from reading. But this gave me the willies for sure.

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Really enjoyed this Jennifer Fawcett novel. Creepy and dark for sure. Loved the characters as they kept me turning pages into the night.
Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book

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Beneath the Stars, by Jennifer Fawcett, is a creepy story, but not scary enough to really make me love it. There is a haunted house, a mystery, and the descriptions help me visualize the settings.  The overall storyline is good and I enjoyed reading it.  This one is more for the tame of heart. Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing me with an ARC ebook in exchange for my honest review.

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A hounted house always intrigueds me. I enjoy the book. The story takes me to a place where I can picture the surroundings. I enjoyed the base idea for the story. The eerie feeling throughout the book intreeged me. I thought some parts were rambling that didn't need to be in the book. Like a few side stories going on that didn't really work for me in the book. The non linner timeline didn't work the greatest with this story. I got lost a few time with what year the story was talking about.

I like to think netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the arc.

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Clare and Abby were the best of friends growing up until at the tender age of fourteen when the girls and a couple of other friends decided to visit the town's legendary haunted house, "The Octagon House". Abby really didn't want to go inside the house but she didn't have the courage to stand up to the other girls knowing they would think she was baby and that would hurt her feelings so she went inside against her better judgement. When one of the girls locked Abby in the basement she experienced a terror that permanently changed her and then her mental health just spiraled out of control. None of the girls understood or seemed to care except for Clare because now she felt so completely lost and alone without Abby and then suddenly Abby's family moved away leaving Clare with so many questions and losing the friend and family that she had loved and depended on through all her early years.

Twenty years later Abby's family reaches out to Clare to visit Abby since she almost died in a attempted suicide where she was found in the basement of the creepy " Octagon House". Since all of this doesn't make any sense, Clare rushes to the hospital to see Abby because she's now free to travel since she lost her job when she recently experienced a personal tragedy that led to her marriage ending as well as suffering depression and sleepless nights so she needs the distraction to help find out what can be behind this strange connection and pull that this old, dilapidated, seemingly haunted house has held over Abby through the years that would make her friend want to take her own life in that horrible and messed up "Octagon House" and also because Clare never admitted anything as a teenager but she also had heard and seen something that she couldn't make sense of at the time that has always troubled her so now she knows she must seek out this strange, spooky house again and find out all the history behind it if she is ever going to be able to help Abby and herself. If Abby and her family need her then Clare must go back to where it all started since she knows she was responsible for Abby getting trapped in that basement when they were just young girls!

This was a terrific coming of age story that I enjoyed very much, all while revolving around vulnerable teen girls and their insecurities and many secrets. The atmosphere concerning the "Octagon House" was eerie and creepy holding my interest while keeping the insidious secrets not to be revealed until the end of the book which really kept me intrigued. Jennifer Fawcett's writing captured the innocence and essence of youth and just how hard it is being young misunderstood teenagers who need extra love and support but they don't know how to verbalize their feelings to the adults into their lives who only want the best for their children only sometimes love is not enough.

Excellent storytelling! There were quite a few back stories concerning the who, what and why of the house becoming haunted with some tasty chills and thrills, so I felt this was a very original novel from start to finish. There were a few minor flaws but not enough to affect the goodness or the spookiness of an old fashioned haunted house story.

Possible Trigger: Suicide, Depression, Miscarriage, Death of a parent, Violence, Murder, Abuse.

I want to thank the publisher "Atria Books" and Net galley for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel and any thoughts or opinions expressed are unbiased and mine alone!

I given this book a rating of 4 CREEPY AND EMOTIONAL 🌟🌟🌟🌟 STARS!!

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this is a slow burn mystery thriller about an octagon shape house with a haunting past. and no, this is not the Amityville horror movies but the flashbacks from 1965 definitely has some inspiration from it. This is a build up thriller, which are never as fun to me when you already figure out how it ends. But it’s well written and the characters are for the most part intriguing but I found myself wanting just a little more development to on the characters stories from the past. Overall, an okay and easy thriller to read through

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I love thriller books with a paranormal twist and this one was IT! I couldn’t put the book down; I finished it in less than 24 hours. The plot centered on Clare, a woman who returns home when her childhood best friend attempts suicide in the local haunted house – a place that played an important role in their adolescence and is now threatening the lives and minds of more than one person. The book for me was perfectly paced, I really enjoyed the multiple POV’s and different timelines. I became so intrigued with the Octagon House and couldn’t wait to learn more as I continued. I found this book to remind me a lot of Haunting of Hill House which I also loved. Overall, this was an awesome read and I will be eagerly anticipating whatever Fawcett does next!

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When Claire gets the email that Abby is once again in the hospital she has nothing to lose so she leaves what she does have behind and heads to slumbers Mills the sleepy little town she grew up in. This all has to do with the octagon house that her and her best friends visited when they were teenagers and although Laura and Monica had no second thoughts something haunted Abby and Claire swore she saw it as well. No the only difference was Abby kept being called back to the home no matter how far away she went. When Claire arrives in town she reunite with her friend Laura into Laura stepdaughter in the old man that owns the Home slowly but surely she will unravel the real story and at the same time grapple with the reasons she didn’t mind leaving Chicago to begin with. I really like this book it had a Gothic deal but a thriller vibe throughout and I couldn’t put it down. I really wanted Claire to end up with Mitchell but that’s neither here nor there it’s a very good book and if you love thrillers with a little para normal action you’ll love Beneath The Stairs by Jennifer Fossett I totally did. I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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Special thank you to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster, and Atria books for sharing a digital reviewer copy with me for my opinions!

'Beneath The Stairs' is a great blend of paranormal mystery mixed with real life situations.

From the moment we meet Claire it's clear that she's dealing with issues involving past and present issues, and they all stem from one fateful summer when we discover the Octagon House. Every good haunted house story needs a house with a creepy name and description, and the Octagon House and its basement deliver heavily! You're filled with dread about the house from the prologue and that dread doesn't ease up until the end of the book!

We dive through Claire's story with the assistance of flashbacks to that summer in the Octagon House as well as flashes back to the man who build the house, and the only other family to live inside the house. These flashes really helped to drive the nefarious entity of the house further than just a myth that's passed from generation to generation.

I would have loved to see some of the loose ends that were hastily tied up have some more time and explanation. Several of the older characters in the book that give some of the strongest plot details to Claire are somewhat bulldozed over in the last 3 chapters or briefly mentioned.

Overall this was a very solid read! Genre fans will love it, and others who are drawn to it by the gorgeous cover and eerie description will not be disappointed!

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YES! YES! YES! THIS is exactly what I want in a story about childhood friends having a dark scary thing from the past come back to haunt them. So many of these types of stories fail either in developing the past or the present so the reader isn't invested in the whole. Not Beneath the Stairs. I felt for Clare, the protagonist immediately and was just as engrossed in her memories of the events from her childhood that set the stage for the confrontation she'd have as an adult. The pacing was great and I especially liked the chapters from other POVs in different times that set up more clues and further established the Octagon House as a malevolent force.

I'll definitely read more from this author.

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Beneath the Stairs was creepier than my usual choice for a thriller read - enough so that I made sure to only read it during daylight! Luckily I survived without any crazy dreams/nightmares, unlike most characters in the book.
The plot centers around a hidden, abandoned house in the shape of an octagon. Clare and Abby visit the house as kids and have an experience that causes Abby's family to move out of town. Clare leaves the town for college and rarely returns. The effects of their visit continue to haunt them through adulthood. Over 20 years after first visiting, Abby has returned to the house and ended up in a medically induced coma. Clare comes back to their hometown to try to figure out what happened to Abby.
I enjoyed that while the scenes at the house were creepy, this book wasn't scary enough for me to need to put in the freezer (one of my favorite Friends jokes). The pacing felt inconsistent - sometimes I would have trouble staying intrigued but other times I was racing through the pages. This could have been due in part to me reading it while on vacation!
Thanks to Atria and NetGalley for access to the book in exchange for my honest opinion. If you enjoy spooky reads and creepy houses, this one is right up your alley!

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Actual rating: 3.5 stars

I enjoyed this overall and thought it had some good creepy moments. I wasn’t sure what to expect aside from a potentially haunted house, so I liked seeing where this went and felt like it had some surprises! The pacing was pretty good overall with lots of fast paced, tension filled moments, but there were also some slower moments (in a good way) that helped to establish background information. I really liked the setting of this bizarre house with an incredibly creepy basement. This element was particularly well done!. I also enjoyed the structure of the book with going back and forth between present, recent past, and more distant past as it weaved storylines together in a very interesting way. We do have some sad moments here certainly, especially since it deals with people who have been wronged or not believed in some way.

The main character Clare was pretty sympathetic overall, and I enjoyed following her. She’s had some tragedy in her past with her mother dying of cancer, and she made some dumb choices as a teen that affect her relationships with friends. I felt bad for her, especially since she’s carrying a lot of guilt (which in some ways is fair but also, she was just an impulsive teen so I kinda think it’s just an unfortunate accident). She’s motivated to help Abby who has gone back to this house after events from years ago, and she uncovers the history of the house. Clare is nice, caring, and empathetic overall. I appreciated how she tries to help her friend’s daughter who’s drawn to this house as well. Abby seems a little unstable, but I liked getting to see her journey a bit. We don’t get to see her a ton (she’s mostly in the recent past timeline). Some of the other side characters are creepy or just very wary/unhelpful to others. Overall, I liked the interactions between everyone, as well as the romance that develops. I felt the connection between the characters and didn’t feel like this romance overpowered the main story.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with this and would recommend it! I’d be interested in reading more from this author.

Content warnings for miscarriage and murder.

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Oh my goodness guys, if you want a great book to bring some creepiness to your life you will definitely find it in Beneath the Stairs by Jennifer Fawcett. The Octagon House has got to be one of the creepiest settings I've had in a book this year and the mystery surrounding it really added to the suspense of the story. Multiple timelines always make my heart happy, and I thought Fawcett's decision to move between not only different viewpoints, but different timelines as well was an excellent one. There is a heavy supernatural element to the book that I personally loved and sometimes I feel like there is unexplored potential when it comes to this, but I thought what was included was perfect for the story told in these pages. This is a debut, and I was really impressed with the way Fawcett was able to expertly weave together all that was going on in a way that made sense and created such a wonderful atmosphere.

This is definitely a slow burn, and for that my friends I offer you the audiobook! Ok, I’m not giving it to you, but it is coming highly recommended by me so there’s that. Despite having more than one viewpoint, one of which is a man, there is only one narrator for the audio, and I have to give props to Carolina Hoyos for what a nice job she did. I had no issues with her doing everything and I would gladly listen to the audio over and over again. I hope she has a lot more audiobooks in her future, and I think it would be hard to find anything not to like with her performance here. I don’t know that I had any issues with the length of this book despite what others have said, and I thought there were some pretty realistic things that Fawcett covers as well which was nice. I really need more books from her ASAP, and I hope I don’t have to wait too long for her sophomore novel.

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Oooo yes! I have been waiting for a read like this. All the creepy suspenseful haunted house, keep me scared and up all night reading vibes. I really enjoyed this, and I will be looking over my shoulder for a few weeks. So good!

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The synopsis of this book had me so pumped, but the book itself just didn't hold my attention. I started to get into it at around chapter five, but by chapter 15 I found myself skimming a lot. Also, I think I expected this to be more of a ghosty-horror story, but it just didn't land for me.

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Not a traditional thriller, which made it all the more interesting; it incorporates family drama and processing trauma and grief, all while quietly twisting in a (possibly) haunted house. A good mix of creepy ghost story, childhood friendships forged and forgiveness.

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I really really really wanted to love this book. It sounded so creepy and the first few chapters really sucked me in, but I am sad to say I didn't really like it. It felt very long and I thought this was a horror novel? There wasn't very much horror involved in my opinion. Nothing was surprising or really all that interesting. It felt bland. I'm sad to say it wasn't for me

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3.75 stars!

Thank you to Netgalley and Atria Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Deep in the woods in the Octagon House, a man killed his wife and two young daughters. One summer night, an emboldened fourteen-year-old Clare and her best friend, Abby, ventured into the Octagon House. Clare came out, but a piece of Abby never did. Twenty years later, an adult Clare receives word that Abby has attempted suicide at the Octagon House and now lies in a coma. With little to lose and still grieving after a personal tragedy, Clare returns to her roots to uncover the darkness responsible for Abby’s accident.

I was genuinely kinda freaked out by this book. Especially with the prologue, I feel like there was definitely a chilly atmosphere that had me intrigued by the entire book. I think my biggest problem was the addition of one of the POVs which I didn't feel added anything at all to the story, and I was a little confused by the ending. Besides that I thought this was a solid horror novel!

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