Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Synopsis: Both seventeen. Both afraid. But both saying yes.
It sounded like the perfect first date: canoeing across a chain of lakes, sandwiches and beers in the cooler. But teenagers Amelia and James discover something below the water’s surface that changes their lives forever.
It’s got two stories.
It’s got a garden.
And the front door is open.
It’s a house at the bottom of a lake.
For the teens there is only one rule: no questions. And yet, how could a place so spectacular come with no price tag? While the duo play house beneath the waves, one reality remains:
Just because a house seems empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.
I enjoyed Malerman’s Bird Box, so even though I’ve had mixed success with novellas, I requested A House at the Bottom of a Lake on NetGalley as soon it was offered. The main issue is that contrary to what the cover and synopsis imply, it’s not horror. Maybe magical realism with a touch of eeriness, but definitely not horror. I overcame my disappointment and actually did enjoy this little tale, but I don’t think it was one of Malerman’s best works. Amelia and James are likable enough and I did find myself connecting with them, although I was puzzled over their sudden expertise in scuba diving. There are a few plot holes like this and the fact that not one person questions where these two seventeen-year-olds are disappearing to for hours every day. The ambiguous ending was also much too rushed, but it did leave me pondering the book for several hours after I finished. Overall, A House at the Bottom of a Lake is an intriguing read full of symbolism and the exploration of first love. While I was left wanting more in the end, Malerman’s deft writing still pulled me in and I finished this in less than two hours. If you’re a fan of his and haven’t read it, I’d recommend you check it out.