Thursday, January 8

Belinda Frisch - Better Left Buried

A spirit board, a murder, and a cold case that refuses to stay hidden. 

Harmony Wolcott's already difficult life is about to get harder when her recurring nightmare takes a paranormal twist. Haunted, terrified, and questioning her sanity, Harmony must relive an event she refuses to remember, even if it costs her life. 

What starts as a message from beyond the grave turns into something dangerous that won't be ignored. The only way to stop it is to understand who it is and what they want. Together with her best friend, Brea, Harmony investigates her childhood, starting with the mysterious street address someone or something has given her. 

The dilapidated home seems like something from another lifetime, a place of mixed memories where Harmony and Brea's friendship had started, and where their families' lives had intersected years earlier. What happened there might well be the town of Reston's best kept secret. 

A tragic discovery threatens to unravel Harmony's patched together life, bringing those she loves down with her and proving with devastating consequences that sometimes the past is better left buried. 

Digital copy was provided through Netgalley for an honest review.

First off let me clarify that despite Better Left Buried is categorised as horror on Goodreads I don't think that's appropriate. While there was a ghost in the book and there were some scary(ish) parts I think this is more of a mystery thriller than anything else. That said I wasn't satisfied with the mystery, it fell flat and wasn't exciting at all. Next to that it was predictable and at some parts simply boring. It was annoying to know all the answers before the main characters did. 

I love deep friendships in YA, like the one Sloane and Emily had in Since You've Been Gone so I was really looking forward to these two best friends solving a mystery together. I was sad to see that the friendship of Harmony and Brea was unhealthy on pretty much every level. It's one thing when your friend is bossy or pushy but when she forces you to do things you really don't want to do, or are afraid to do that's not okay, and no book should tell me this is okay: 

"Please? I'll get you back in time, I promise. I don't know how much longer I have left before they send me away. I skipped out on my appointment with Bennett and they're looking for me. "
"All right. One hour, but that's it." Brea regretted it as soon as she said it. 

Harmony went as far as throwing a fit when she realised who Brea's boyfriend is. She pretty much judged him without trying to get to know him or hear Brea out. Their friendship didn't feel real, it felt forced and clingy. It was interesting how quickly Brea could forget about Harmony and move on with her life.

I wasn't completely satisfied with the characters and on more than one occasion I found them completely unrealistic. Brea was probably my favorite from the cast. She was pretty much a normal shy girl who despite her problems had to deal with her best friend's problems too. I felt for her on many occasions but I still couldn't connect to her at all. The thing about Harmony was that even though I could understand some of the things she did I still found all the characteristics in her that I usually hate. However, I thought she was realistically screwed up, which sounds strange but was oh-so-true and you'll understand it if you read the book. 

The guys were an entirely different category. Jaxon was pretty much the popular guy who was tamed by a shy and nice girl so yeah, he was a cliché. But next to being the biggest cliché in the book he was extremely kind and patient with Brea and he supported her even when his friends wanted him to dump her. Adam was a wonderful character, he was supportive, patient, with just the right amount of protectiveness. Unfortunately, after a while his character took a turn into another direction, he became controlling with a violent strike. I'm sad to say that he wasn't well-written enough to pull off an enormous character change like that. 

Brea's mom despised Harmony and would have done anything to make Brea hate her too. What I don't get is why she didn't try to help. She wasn't such a horrible person and it wouldn't have costed her anything to be kind to Harmony and simply be a parental figure in her life who she could look up to. Maybe things would have turned out completely differently if she only had cared enough to do something. 

After all of that I really don't know who I'd recommend the book. I'll only say: read it if you're intrigued by the synopsis and then come back and share with me your thoughts. 

The story idea: 3/5
The realization of the story: 2/5
The characters: 3/5
The cover: 3/5
Enjoy factor: 3/5

Who's your favorite friend duo? 


  1. Nothing worst than when a mystery novel goes wrong.... Sometimes I do wanna guess what the hell is going on but I like to speculate and then, I love that when the mystery is resolved I guessed it right, but I can stand when it's 'in your face' kinda obvious.
    About your questions... I'll have to go with Harry/Ron or Harry/Hermione because they were awesome! And also I like Juliette/Kenji from Shatter Me because Kenji is the best friend one could ask for!

    1. Yeah, so disappointing. Harry Potter friendships are THE BEST. Maybe the reason for hating books with badly written friendship is that I read about so many amazing ones when I was younger. I've yet to read Shatter Me but I plan to, and now here's another thing I can look forward to. :)

  2. Gah, I hate misleading synopsis's because that's what this sounds like. This sounds like it could have been great, but too bad the execution wasn't good. I don't think I'll be trying this one out, because honestly, it seems like it would be a little too frustrating! It would have been a plus point if the friendship was dynamic, but meh. Great review! <3

    1. Yeah, it sounded like a mysterious ghost story and it was neither on of those things. When I read the synopsis I could particularly saw the mysterious house and thought that the ghost will be an exciting plotline but it fell flat, and the description of the house was rather boring.
      Thanks! :))


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