Cover Image: The Haunting of Alejandra

The Haunting of Alejandra

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Member Reviews

The Haunting of Alejandra by V. Castro is a horror thriller.  Alejandra is in a deep depression. She has three young children and an awful husband.  She starts seeing figures and ends up goes to see a therapist. Her therapist, Melanie, is also Mexican American and identifies that Alejandra is being terrorized by a creature from Mexican folklore, perhaps La Llorona. They breakdown Alejandra’s past and find out that many women in her history their own tragedies.  
This book was not for me.  I just couldn't connect with any of the characters and it dragged on too long.  Please read other reviews because this is just my opinion.  Many thanks to NetGalley for a complimentary copy of the book. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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Thank you to Random House Publishing Group for the opportunity to read, rare and review this book which is out April 18,2023.

Oh this book was insidious. Not in a bad way but in a way many women can understand. I thoroughly enjoyed the culture aspects of this book, the La Llorona mythology, the trauma spanning generations. It was a keep me up at night read. I am buying this book:
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V. Castro puts a fresh spin on an old folktale that’s been passed through generation after generation in The Haunting of Alejandra. Reimagined and refreshed this important take on the retelling of the La Llorna was beautifully written and easy to read.  

Finding yourself, who you really are regardless or trauma and violence. Exploring where you came from even if it’s not how you were brought up are all important in our growth and depth as a person. 

Don’t skip this important story. It’s one I highly anticipated this year and do not regret one bit. It didn’t disappoint.  We’ll be taking this one on as a group for discussion with our book club in just two short months. I can’t wait to share! 

V. Castro puts a fresh spin on an old folktale that’s been passed through generation after generation in The Haunting of Alejandra. Reimagined and refreshed this important take on the retelling of the La Llorna was beautifully written and easy to read.  

Finding yourself, who you really are regardless or trauma and violence. Exploring where you came from even if it’s not how you were brought up are all important in our growth and depth as a person. 

Don’t skip this important story. It’s one I highly anticipated this year and do not regret one bit. It didn’t disappoint.  We’ll be taking this one on as a group for discussion with our book club in just two short months. I can’t wait to share! 

Thank you with all my heart to NetGalley and The Publisher for choosing me to read and review this ARC.
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This is an important book. 
Alejandra, a young mother of three young children, has always felt haunted. A voice inside her head, always present, tells her she is inadequate; a bad mother, a bad wife, a bad person. Dreams of a woman in white plague her and she wonders if she should end it all. After she and her family relocate to Philadelphia, where she feels even more isolated, these feelings grow with intensity and take new, threatening forms. 
I was thrilled to receive an advance copy of this book, and it did not disappoint. I had never heard the story of La Llorona until I moved to Los Angeles, where there is a lot of Mexican culture. It was also around that time that I became a fan of horror, so La Llorona really piqued my interest. 
Right off the bat, this book is incredibly dark. This is very much a story of isolation. Alejandra finds herself with no connections and an identity that is slowly fading into nothing. She is a wife and mother, nothing more. Her name is no longer her own, she has no family, no job. Her husband tells her what she should wear, how she should feel, and has no interest in the person she could be. 
She feels discounted from her culture. She was adopted by a Christian family, who gave her no opportunities to explore her roots. Her husband doesn’t see the point and belittles all of her attempts. 
The writing is beautiful and sad, but also full of hope. As the presence of La Llorona becomes more constant and more violent, she begins to draw on the strength of her ancestors and discovers who she really is. This is a slow, gothic burn full of tension and an interesting exploration of generational trauma. It shows the importance of breaking cycles and embracing identity and culture. While I may not have the same struggles, there was a lot I could identify with here. I must have highlighted something on just about every page! 
There is so much more I could say about this book, but I don’t want to spoil anything and honestly my head is still swirling.
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Unfortunately I don’t think the writing style is for me at this current time in my reading journey. I love that it’s a retelling of the Mexican folk demon and was so excited to read a horror book about it but it seems less like a horror book to me and more so dealing with depression and trauma and her crappy husband. It’s not a bad book, its good it’s just not for me!
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This is actually very “haunting”. Gasped so many times, wanted to hide under the blanket, and got heebie-jeebies. Couldn’t put this down.
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The Haunting of Alejandra by V. Castro

Alejandra is in a deep depression and feels like she can’t go on. She has three young children and a husband who is awful (if we’re being real) and everything is becoming too much. 

She starts seeing figures and creatures and ends up going to see a therapist about her issues. Her therapist, Melanie, is also Mexican American and identifies that Alejandra is being terrorized by a creature from Mexican folklore, perhaps La Llorona. They breakdown Alejandra’s past and find out that many women in her bloodline felt the same way and they each had their own tragedies. 

This book was not for me. It isn’t very long, but it took me forever to get through. It wasn’t very engaging and sometimes it felt like I was lost or had missed something. 

I appreciated the retelling of the La Llorna tale, I am only a little familiar with it, and the references to Mexican culture that I may have not known much about. I also liked the chapters told from the ancestors points of view. 

It’s touted as a horror, but I didn’t think it was very scary the way it was written. I could see it being a jumping off point for a movie, though. 

2.5/5
Thank you to Net Galley and Del Rey/Random House for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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The story of La Llorona is reimagined. This time it asks, what if the iconic archetype wasn’t sure about wanting children to begin with? To be married or in love? The Haunting of Alejandra is a unique retelling of a story that has been shared countless times through generations. 

V. Castro excels in giving readers a new perspective on the ghoulish character. It is a brutally honest look into the cruel side of motherhood and the real life work it takes to break a curse.

The protagonist and main character, Alejandra, is a wife and mother and the latest in a long line of women battling internal and otherworldly demons. Generational trauma can manifest in many ways, but none as frightening as the entity Alejandra must face down to end the curse on her bloodline once and for all.

The flow of the story is easy to read and the author is able to paint a strong picture. Parts of the book felt rushed and repetitive but that may come down to personal taste. Other parts read like notes/an outline and I was hoping for more. Regardless, I do recommend this book as it's an important story and a fresh take.

(3.5)
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The Haunting of Alejandra is sold as a horror story about the curse of La Llorona. And while it is a story about a woman dealing with a generational curse, it's not really a true horror story.

Alejandra is an overwhelmed mother of 3, with a useless husband, dealing with what appears to be depression and suicidal thoughts. Over the course of this very short novel, we learn Alejandra is the newest in a long line of women cursed to deal with a literal soul sucking demon who thrives on despair and discontent. This book does a lot of telling, and not showing, and it never truly felt scary to me at any point. The demon is a narrator at various points, explaining its motivations and desires. There's no real suspense or mystery.

This book read quickly, and I enjoyed the characters presented. But the writing was lacking, and definitely detracted from my overall enjoyment of this book. I rated it 3 stars, but truly this is 2.5 stars for me.

Thank you to Random House Ballantine and NetGalley for the electronic ARC of this novel for review.
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I received an eArc in exchange for my honest and fair review. Thank you to NetGalley, Random House, and V. Castro. 

I would say to check the trigger warnings prior to picking this book up! 

Alejandra is nearly at a mental breakdown when we meet her. Her children, she had young and with little support are the center of her world. She is experience darkness and severe depression when she is visited by a shadow of a woman in white much like the Mexican folklore of La Llorona.  
 
She is the only one who can protect her children but how can she stop this evil and ever present spirit?

I really enjoyed the storytelling of how generational trauma can be overwhelming. I also enjoyed the use of therapy in the book. Such an important message, beyond a haunting. The haunting from trauma as well. 

I do feel as though the story was a bit hard to engage with through some of the book. You want to root for Alejandra but I never got a connection with her. It’s listed as horror but i felt as though I was reading someone dealing with depression and trauma. I’m not sure that would be considered a horror and may throw a reader off. 

Overall, there were parts I enjoyed and would love to read more by this author. Especially works enriched in Mexican cultures and traditions!!
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I think the lore and history featured in The Haunting of Alejandra is super interesting. I found myself much more engaged in the flashbacks to other times and the lore elements than the MC's story throughout the book. 

I found the beginning of the book a little hard to get into because of the monotony of the narrator's inner dialog. I think what makes my favorite characters my favorite is when they are dynamic and have characteristics that vary and almost contradict each other at times. For me the MC's voice fell flat in the first half of the book. I recognize that the version I received may not be fully edited and tightened up so this may be contributing to some issues. 

The story was unique and I appreciated the author's intention of showcasing how uneven child rearing is and how people can end up feeling very stuck in their lives. I found the scary moments very creepy but it almost felt like after they happened the tension dissipated quickly so I never read the book with urgency-- to be fair I'm not a fan of slow burns and maybe that's what the style of the book is here. 
Overall I think the book is enjoyable but not my favorite by V. Castro.
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3.5 stars. This was interesting and has some very gruesome imagery. The multi-generational POVs was confusing but added to the heaviness of the curse. Alejandra is not a great character to read. She's boring and her constant inner-monologue is really depressing. In fact, a lot of this is depressing rather than scary. I admired the bravery portrayed by some of these women. All in all, a unique story that has haunting and disturbing moments. Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC
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This book was more difficult to get into than the other books I have read from V. Castro.  It was hard because I got the impression that the mothers wanted their children gone and the anger was so real.  Once the whole picture came into view I was able to dive into the book.  Love all the discussions that include what  women end up dealing with compared to men.  Did not have children myself and part of that decision was because I saw how much work they were through babysitting as a teen.  Also maybe subconsciously realized women take on the brunt of upbringing.

Since this was not a completely edited copy I hope some of the story is tightened up in some areas.  Otherwise another brilliant story from V. Castro.  Will continue delving into her world of books!
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The Haunting of Alejandra is available for preorder with a release date of April 18th. Attempting no spoilers but some plot discussed. With that out of the way, the last few months have been difficult and on my healing journey this book, this piece of work is instrumental with the amount of emotion and discussion of being stuck, generational curses, and understanding the women in your family. Plus the spooky because where there is light there is dark, and sometimes shadows. Alejandra's feelings of being stuck and having made herself into who her husband wants her to be and her that she has no choices stuck to me because had just gone through all of that, and her determination to come out the other side and heal is where I am now. I have family who never wanted the children they have and love them and hate themselves for ever feeling ill towards them, I have cried hoping I was not going to have to make decisions for my life based off of someone else’s choice of “whether we should keep it” (all negative in the end) as someone who has to deal with reproductive issues. 
There are things I will never understand like being a Mexican American woman, because that is not my background or culture, but coming from an Italian-Greek matriarchal family of strong women, there is something I can resonate with in that respect. Also shout out from Philly! #netgalleyreviews #vcastro #thehauntingofalejandra
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Alejandra is a stay at home mom whose mental health is deteriorating. She has a difficult relationship with her husband, and although she loves her children she’s starting to feel like she isn’t strong enough to take care of them anymore. When she starts to see visions of the Mexican demon La Llorona she finally finds a therapist and begins to learn more about the dark secrets that run through her family history. 

I love this concept. I liked that there were different points of view showing what happened to all of the women who came before Alejandra. That’s all I liked about this book. 

The author’s writing style felt dry and distant. For a horror novel to feel “horrifying” in any way it needs to feel uncomfortably real. A story about a woman who is facing the extreme level of confusion and despair that Alejandra is should make she and her family feel real enough for me to empathize with her. But reading The Haunting of Alejandra felt similar to reading a clinical case report. The sentences never flowed together and they felt too blunt. The dialogue and relationships never felt natural. The characters spoke to each other in sentences that felt stuff and formal no matter what the scenario was or how intimate the relationship was supposed to be between the two characters. I think this book might have been too short. Maybe if it had been longer there would have been more space to make the characters and their experiences feel more realistic. 

I thought this book was disappointing. It wasn’t terrible, but it was disappointing. So I don’t really recommend it.
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I’m going to be entirely honest here and say on one hand, this book is sort of a disaster: it repeats, there are multiple places where the chronology is borked, the characters have very little depth in terms of being PEOPLE vs archetypes, and  I think it would be just fine at novella length BUT all of that said, I read it in two days, I loved the set up, the take on generational curses, and Alejandra’s journey of self acceptance and growth. I know that books often go through several rounds of additional revisions after ARCs are sent out so I’d be curious to look at a final edition and see what gets sorted and smoothed.
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I was VERY excited to be approved for this ARC, but unfortunately this book has not lived up to my expectations and I had to DNF at 35%. 

The writing is extremely stiff, awkward, and bland- there is no voice in this book. No personality to our characters! We experience multiple POVs in this book- Alejandra's and her ancestors. However- they all feel the same. Like cardboard cutouts of one another with absolutely no way to differentiate between them save for their names. 

The relationship between Alejandra and her husband felt like you could play a game of bingo with all the misogynistic drivel he spouted. I know we are supposed to hate him, but like he was really saying the most stereotypical things at all times. 

Overall, this book frustrated the hell out of me and put me in a bad mood.
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The concept of this book is extremely interesting—a generational trauma begins far down the main character’s lineage and continues until she finds the strength both  within herself and her ancestors to fight it. 

However, while an interesting plot, the dialogue was unnatural and unbelievable for many parts of the story and often distracted from the story line. I found myself at times rolling my eyes or shaking my head at the characters for their impromptu monologues that felt out of place in the story. 

Overall, the story is a compelling read but could definitely benefit from some more editing.
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This was a lot to read, both subject matter and trying to get through it because I will be honest, I was not very entertained. I did not find anything scary and thought a lot of stuff was being thrown at you for shock value.
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TW: Cheating, gaslighting, toxic parent relationship, language, death of children, depression, cutting

*****SPOILERS*****
About the book:Alejandra no longer knows who she is. To her husband, she is a wife, and to her children, a mother. To her own adoptive mother, she is a daughter. But they cannot see who Alejandra has become: a woman struggling with a darkness that threatens to consume her.Nor can they see what Alejandra sees. In times of despair, a ghostly vision appears to her, the apparition of a crying woman in a ragged white gown.When Alejandra visits a therapist, she begins exploring her family’s history, starting with the biological mother she never knew. As she goes deeper into the lives of the women in her family, she learns that heartbreak and tragedy are not the only things she has in common with her ancestors.Because the crying woman was with them, too. She is La Llorona, the vengeful and murderous mother of Mexican legend. And she will not leave until Alejandra follows her mother, her grandmother, and all the women who came before her into the darkness.But Alejandra has inherited more than just pain. She has inherited the strength and the courage of her foremothers—and she will have to summon everything they have given her to banish La Llorona forever.
Release Date: April 18th, 2023
Genre: Horror
Pages: 272
Rating: ⭐

What I Liked:
1. I love the concept of the book
2. Scary tones

What I Didn't Like:
1. Some parts feel dry
2. Boring

Overall Thoughts:
“Alejandra, it’s dinnertime. Are you coming down to cook? The kids are hungry.”
It was in this moment I knew I hated her husband.


Once you hear La Llorona. wondered if she was going to drown her kids (guess I'll never know)

How many hours I clocked on my Peloton to give me this figure I couldn’t even enjoy because I chose the wrong partners time and time again, because I gave away my body like cheap Halloween candy.
What a great line!

I get that this book is about how sad and miserable Alejandra is but she just complains and complains so much that it makes reading this book feel like a chore. I'm exhausted from hearing how nothing makes her happy. Page after page it's her saying her husband sucks, her kids drive her insane, and this isn't the life she wanted. How am I supposed to enjoy reading this book?

Final Thoughts:
In the end I dnfed this book at the 50% mark. I just couldn't keep reading. It's too dry and too boring. It's a short book (under 300 pages) but I felt as though it was a struggle to get through and even care about the characters. So much doesn't happen that it just feels as though you're just pushing through the story hoping SOMETHING happens. I've read 136 pages of Alejandra complain about her life, kids, and family. I agree her husband sucks but doesn't mean that's all I want to read about.

I've enjoyed other stuff from this author but this one missed for me.

Recommend For:
• Women who hate their lives
• Horror stories
• Short books
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