This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count
: 288

CW: suicidal ideation, depression, mental health decline, grief

When I hear the phrase “this is not a ghost story”, my mind immediately goes to the latest installment of the Haunting series – Bly Manor. So, it came as no surprise when this book was recommended to me as the perfect complimentary read. However, once I started I more and more got Hill House vibes from it (a menacing house working against you, rapidly declining mental health). Then again, it doesn’t seem like either one and yet would fit into the series really well … that is, if you were focusing on just one 17-year-old girl instead of a large ensemble cast. But I digress.

This Is Not a Ghost Story is written in a stream of consciousness/inner monologue style that immediately made Daffodil (the main character and our narrator) endearing to me. She is chaotic, daydreaming, binges conspiracy theory documentaries on Netflix all day and manages to not move from her bed unless strictly necessary. Human contact? Who needs that!?
While I adored her voice, because it helped lighten some of the creepier scenes with a tinge of humour, I could also see a couple people struggling with it. The way I see it is that it’s one of those things that’s either totally your thing or not at all.

As you all well know, I don’t really do horror. OR I mostly only do horror light, so, this worked really well for me. The title already says it, it is not a ghost story. It sure feels like one at times, but there’s a lot more to it that just keeps unraveling and tricking you. This book is for all the people who hear a creepy noise and deliberately ignore it until no longer possible. It’s for all of us who will try to explain away the most illogical and impossible things like there is any kind of rationale to it.

The only thing I am kind of grapple with is the end. It’s not that it doesn’t make sense. It really does, but I am not sure if it feels right? Some have described it as lackluster, which isn’t even my issue with it. I am just uncertain about the involvement of a certain someone in getting Daffodil into this situation in the first place. It just does not sit right with me entirely, but maybe … maybe that is just not for me to understand. As Daffodil said, there’s not yet words for some things you want to say.

In the end, I did pick up a horror-esque book on purpose and … I enjoyed myself! A LOT! I have really ventured out of my comfort zone a little bit this year and I am really proud of that. Maybe this book isn’t perfect, but I am basing this rating on how much it entertained me and I more or less inhaled This Is Not a Ghost Story.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Still trying to come to terms with the ending, but overall I really enjoyed this!


What are we thinking? Would you pick up this book? Let’s talk in the comments!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #44 (Spooky Edition)

Look, I know what I always say. I keep telling you all that I don’t watch horror, yet here we are today. I did a whole freaking horror binge and will now talk to you about it! (also, I am not going to do the whole “for fans of”-part … cause it would be for fans of horror and the cast for all of those? This is a very specific round up of things I’ve watched …)

The Haunting of Bly Manor

Why did I start with Bly Manor? I don’t really know.

I just saw a bunch of people talking about the sapphic vibes and how it wasn’t as scary as Hill House and … I caved? I always knew I liked the cast they got for this series (as well as the previous one), but I am an utter scaredy cat and I don’t enjoy feeling scared. (I honestly still don’t understand why anyone would.) Bly Manor really wasn’t that bad in that regard. Yes, dolls and people without faces are inherently creepy, but except for maybe two jump scares, this was rather tame.

The kids weren’t really my cup of tea and you will have to endure some elements of repeitiveness, but I think it makes sense in the overall picture (the repeating of things, not the kids being annoying).

In the show itself, they say how it is more of a love story than a ghost story, or how there sometimes is no difference and I liked that. I enjoyed that this was more about existential dread of being forgotten albeit having loved so much. How you can fail at protecting those you care about most, or succeed at it, depending on how you look at it. There was something thought provoking about it, but not anything that left me too terrified … although I will jump at anything moving in my mirrors.

Here’s another one of my original drawings, portraying Victoria Perdetti (a goddess) as Dani Clayton

The Haunting of Hill House

I already knew that much of the cast from Bly Manor had already worked together in Hill House and I wasn’t quite ready to let them go. In a way, a lot of horror-fans weren’t too pumped about Bly Manor, but I just have to give it credit, because it paved the way for people like me to check out Hill House. And yes, it is far more scary. I did not enjoy those ghosts or entities or screams or foreboding signs a lot, but I did live for the family dynamic.

The casting was so well done (again, I had a feeling that would be the case), but I especially loved the kids. I wanted to hold them and protect them and get them as far away from that cursed house as possible. Seeing their grown up counterparts was also such a joy and their fights cut deep even without any paranormal occurrences.

Overall, I think I liked Bly Manor a bit more, because I had troubles with Hill House after dark, but it was still amazing.

Helstrom (Season 1) 

This was marketed as a Marvel horror show. And it is Marvel, in the sense that it is based on the material from Marvel, but it is not, in fact, part of the MCU. And I don’t know if it’s really horror either. Do you think gross demons (that really only do anything gross every other episode) is horror? I don’t know. It’s a tough call, but I think it would have sufficed to advertise it as an edgier and darker show

Anyway, I binged through this pretty quickly and yes, it had a lot to do with my love for Tom Austen and missing him on my screen. It is a fairly slow show and needs time until about the halfway point to pick up. The strong suit are definitely the various relationships the characters have with each other. And even though I would have preferred not to have a romantic plotline, when there is a fantastic sibling relationsihp to explore RIGHT THERE, I will concede to it being important in the grand scheme of things.

I liked the occasional weird humour, but I can see it being hit or miss with a lot of people. All in all, I think it had a really intriguing set up for a potential next season (which I am not sure they will get).

Not my best work, but here you go anyway

The Invisible Man

If you haven’t noticed a certain pattern here … I will spell it out for you! I apparently am into a very specific type of man aka Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Tom Austen kind of men. Oliver was in this one as well, pair it with Elisabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge and you have my freaking attention. Once again, the cast was 100% the reason I watched this.

The lingering shots of just looking at nothing were so unsettling. The lack of sound and then very cleverly used sound – brilliant! You knew he was there, but you couldn’t see him. No one could and the way that gaslit poor Cecilia, I cannot even. It’s one of my worst nightmares that everyone will think that I have gone insane even though I am stating plain facts. That, in itself, is horror to me.

It was a tad long maybe, because we were like halfway through the thing and had had some pretty major confrontations already, but other than that … creepy. Definitely creepy.


Technically I also watched Ready or Not, but I only wanted to talk about spoiler stuff when it came to that one. The conclusion of this is that I still don’t like *most* horror. I will tolerate some? It’s really all down to the cast. What do you think?