Delilah and Gavin’s new love is threatened by a force uncomfortably close to home in this haunting novel from New York Times bestselling duo Christina Lauren, authors of Beautiful Bastard.
His shirt is black, jeans are black, and shaggy black hair falls into his eyes. And when Gavin looks up at Delilah, the dark eyes shadowed with bluish circles seem to flicker to life.
He lives in that house, the one at the edge of town. Spooky and maybe haunted. Something worse than haunted. And Gavin is trapped by its secrets.
Delilah and Gavin can’t resist each other. But staying together will exact a price beyond their imagining.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.00(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Christina Lauren is the combined penname of longtime writing partners/best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 International bestselling authors of The Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Dating You/Hating You, Roomies, Love and Other Words, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and the critically acclaimed Autoboyography. You can find them online at ChristinaLaurenBooks.com, Facebook.com/ChristinaLaurenBooks, or @ChristinaLauren on Twitter.
Read an Excerpt
Places with boys always seem so dirty.
As soon as Delilah had the thought, she hated herself for it because it was exactly what her mother would think. Girls were just as dirty after all, with thick, sticky makeup and every flavor of perfume clouding the locker rooms. The public high school seemed to have a dim film layered over the lockers and floor, walls and windows. It was the first day back after the winter, so Delilah assumed that everything had been cleaned vigorously over the break, but maybe the fog of girl and boy hormones mixing together had permanently dulled every surface.
All around, students pressed past her and lockers slammed near her head, and she struggled to appear unaffected by the public-school chaos. Delilah looked down to the piece of paper clutched in her hand. Before she’d even been dressed and fed this morning, her mother had already begun highlighting all of the important information for her: locker number, locker combination, class schedule, teacher names.
“I should have printed a map for you,” Belinda Blue had said as the highlighter squeaked across the page. Delilah had looked away to the neat rows on the carpet left by the vacuum cleaner, had waved politely to her father as he’d walked into the kitchen wearing his standard outfit of tan pants, a short-sleeved white collar shirt, and a red tie. Even though he wasn’t going to work and maybe didn’t even have a job interview today, she couldn’t fault him for dressing the part. She, too, was still more comfortable in clothes that resembled her private-school uniform than she was with having this new freedom to wear whatever she wanted.
“Mom, it’s only two main buildings. I can handle it. Saint Ben’s had seven.”
Morton City High was smaller than Saint Benedict’s Academy in pretty much every way possible, from the size of the classrooms and number of buildings, to the minds of the student body. Whereas—perhaps unexpectedly—imagination had been embraced and nurtured in her beautiful Catholic school, there had always been a single way of thinking in her small Kansas hometown, a tendency to embrace normal and disregard anything else in hopes that it might simply go away.
It was what had happened to Delilah six years ago, after all. Her parents had tolerated her strangeness with shared looks of exasperation and long-suffering sighs, but then had shipped her off to Massachusetts as soon as an excuse presented itself.
“Still, you’re used to calm. This school is so big and loud.”
Delilah smiled. When her mother said “loud” she really meant “full of boys.” “I’m pretty sure I’ll make it out alive.”
Her mother had given her the look Delilah had seen countless times over winter break—the look that said, I’m sorry you can’t finish your senior year in a fancy school. Please don’t tell anyone your father lost his job and your nonna’s money is all tied up in her nursing care.
The look also said, Be careful of the boys. They have thoughts.
Delilah had thoughts too. She had a lot of them, about boys and their arms and smiles and how their throats looked when they swallowed. She had infrequent contact with these things, having been sequestered away for the past several years at an all-girls boarding school, but she certainly had thoughts about them. Unfortunately, the schedule in her hand didn’t mention a thing about boys, and instead read: English, Phys Ed, Biology, Organic Chemistry, World Studies, AP French, AP Calculus.
She felt her enthusiasm wilt a little before the day had even started. Who wants to have PE so early in the day? She’d be a sweaty mop and would never factor into any thoughts anyway.
Delilah successfully negotiated her locker combination, stowed some books, and headed to English. The only empty seat in the room—Room 104, Mr. Harrington, highlighted in yellow, thank you, Mother—was of course in the middle, up front. Delilah was a bull’s-eye for the teacher and for the fellow students. But even if she sat in the back of the room, it wouldn’t have made a difference: She was a target anyway.
Delilah Blue was back from the fancy East Coast boarding school.
Delilah Blue had come home to go slumming.
Although she spent some of each summer back in Morton, being at school here was different. Delilah had forgotten how many teenagers could come out of the woodwork, and all around her they were yelling, throwing notes, whispering across aisles. Was this how they always behaved while waiting for the teacher? When your time is yours, use it to create something, Father John had always told them. A picture, some words, anything. Don’t rot your brain with gossip.
Having seen only her best friend, Dhaval, with any sort of regularity—and maybe a handful of her classmates around town during breaks—Delilah’s memories were an old stack of pictures of her eleven-year-old peers. She struggled to place the faces she remembered from six years ago with the reality of the faces now.
Rebecca Lewis, her best friend from kindergarten. Kelsey Stiles, her archnemesis in third grade. Both were looking at Delilah as if she’d kicked a puppy before class. Rebecca probably glared at her because Delilah had left Morton so successfully. Kelsey probably glared at Delilah for having the gall to come back.
Not everyone had been hostile when they recognized Delilah; some girls had greeted her in front of the school with hugs and high-pitched welcomes, and Delilah knew that she had a completely blank slate there. She could be anyone she wanted to be. She didn’t have to be the girl whose nervous parents sent her away when she was only eleven for getting into a fistfight defending her unrequited first crush.
Delilah took her seat next to Tanner Jones, the only person to ever have beaten her at tetherball in sixth grade, her last year of public school.
“Hi, Delilah,” he said, eyes on her legs and then chest and then mouth. Six years ago he’d been looking at her pigtails and skinned knees.
She smiled to hide her surprise. Delilah hadn’t expected the first boy to speak to her to also have thoughts. “Hi, Tanner.”
“I heard you had to move back because your dad lost his job at the plant.”
She kept her smile and stayed quiet, thinking of her mother’s innocent-at-best, naive-at-worst hope that people would assume Delilah came home for a single semester for educational purposes, and not because Nonna’s well of money had dried up. Clearly the town knew better.
Your business is only yours until you share it, Father John had always told them.
Just as Mr. Harrington was closing the classroom door, a boy slipped in, mumbling an apology and staring with determination at the floor.
Delilah’s breath grew trapped in her throat, and the old protective fire flickered to life between her ribs.
He was the same, but not. His shirt was black, jeans were black, and shaggy black hair fell into his eyes. He was so tall he must have been pulled like taffy. When he looked up at Delilah as he passed, the same eyes she remembered from all those years ago—dark and stormy and shadowed with bluish circles—seemed to flicker to life for a moment.
Just long enough for her to lose her breath.
He looked like he knew every one of her secrets. Who would have guessed that after six years Gavin Timothy would still seem so perfectly dangerous?
Apparently, Delilah was still smitten.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When the teapot and her chipped cup of a son and the candelabra dance and sing while taking care of the cursed prince in the Disney animated version of Beauty & the Beast, we all thought it was cute, funny, and sweet. However the...sentience of the House is dark and vastly more alarming. Delilah has been away from home at Catholic boarding school, banished at 11 from public school due to fighting off those who were bullying her crush, the enigmatic-even-at-eleven Gavin. Now she's back in public high school and her former obsession looks even better to her rather macabre POV. But when he returns her interest and takes her home to meet his unorthodox "family," things take a turn for the surreal. Both sinister and romantic, The House features a quirky and romantic couple who couldn't be more perfect for each other, and a living, breathing house acting as a jealous and possessive parent who not only disapproves of the girlfriend, but is willing and - capable - of doing anything to get rid of her. Quietly creepy, this story will have you checking out each creaky floorboard noise before you can fall asleep.
I really liked this horror story. Had a good pace and was not like anything I've read before. The author did a great job.
Romantic with a creepy twist. Loved the perspectives. Maybe it was just me but the ending scene was a little confusing with the house.
Such a great original story. I couldnt put it down
Good quick read
I love it
I could not enjoy this book. It wasn't creepy at all, and I despised the characters. They act much younger than 17, and it's all very juvenile. It feels like the writing of someone who knows nothing about teenagers which is unfortunate because I LOVED their other YA book, Sublime. The writing is decent but nothing particularly beautiful. Sadly disappointed.
Iike the tie of it but bi dont have the money to buy it andi wanna read it so bad and so does my friend
He reads a book.
Walks in wearing nothing but polka dot underwear and high heeled cowboy boots. "HELLO COMRADES! JUST REMEMBER, PANCAKES ARE DELICIOUS WHEN NOT DRUNK ON WEDNESDAYS AND ALSO NEVER EAT PURPLE CHEESE IN AN ELEVATOR! HAVE FUN!" He smiles, hands them a piece of bacon, tranforms into nyan cat and flies away.