Thursday, April 7, 2022

Review: The Stars Forgot Us by RJ Gracia

by RJ Garcia
Midnight Tide Publishing
YA Paranormal / Thriller
298 pages

Fifteen-year-old Jacob Kelly would love to go back to simpler times. Before his parents’ divorce and the onset of his brother’s Schizophrenia. But when he returns to his hometown, things feel off. After a series of strange occurrences, Jacob fears his new house is haunted or worse yet, he is losing his mind.

To his surprise, Jacob discovers a mysterious teenage runaway, Sanctuary Daniels, living in the house. She reveals she has been kept by a figure known only as Mother, in a place where downstairs children are languishing prisoners, and upstairs children do Mother’s bidding.

Jacob’s investigation into Sanctuary’s allegations, along with their budding romance, are cut short when she is reclaimed by evil beings. Beings who unleash terror upon Jacob and his family. Now he must journey to a real haunted house to save his first love and fight for his very life.


Tension builds with a inviting promise of chills and thrills with every turn of the page.

Jacob isn't convinced that his mother's decision to return with him and his brother to the town where they spent their younger, childhood years was a good idea after her divorce from his father. It doesn't help that his older brother has some mental issues, and that the house they move into screams 'haunted'. When him and his brother hear a girl's voice and find writing on their closet walls, the officially begin to freak. That's when Jacob discovers Sanctuary hiding in their house. She'd been a classmate of his during the 4th grade, and now, she claims she's been horribly mistreated by her foster parents. But the more Jacob tries to help her, the more he starts to like her...and the closer the danger comes.

This one is all about spooks and thrills, and it builds with each scene, bringing the darkness up one tiny notch at a time. Jacob comes across as a little prickly, at first, but as the reader gets to know his family situation and dive a little deeper into his personality, this becomes understandable. Actually, I sometimes wondered, why he wasn't more stubborn than he was. There is a lot of creepiness built in, and Jacob, while unsure and frightened, still works with the situations (when I would have run.) His kindness is hard to miss, and his determination to help others also slowly wins over until it's impossible not to root for him and hope he makes it through.

The author has woven an intriguing tale, which hits hard topics like child abuse, divorce, and mental illness, and yet, these glide right along into the suspenseful plot and add to the building tension. Even the romance, while adding a dab of sweetness, has so many unanswered questions in the background that it leaves a little doubt. It slowly becomes clear that something horrific is taking place, but it's not clear as to what's going on. This keeps the reader guessing almost all the way through, and really lets the tension hit full steam as the ending unfolds. 

It's an original read, which takes unexpected turns. Paranormal and spook fans are going to enjoy this one quite a bit.

And here she is...

R.J. Garcia is a wife and proud mom. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short-stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!

1 comment:

Giselle said...

Thanks for being on the tour! Glad you liked it! :)