The Family Upstairs

The Family Upstairs

Book - 2019
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Bestselling author of "Watching You" introduces us to Libby Jones, orphaned at six months old. Now twenty-five, she's astounded to learn of an inheritance that will change her life. As Libby investigates the story of her birth parents and the dark legacy of her new home, Clemency and Lucy are headed her way to uncover, and possibly protect, secrets of their own.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, ♭2019.
ISBN: 9781982136208
Characteristics: 340 pages ;,24 cm.


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Jan 04, 2021

I really enjoyed this book, it kept in tune with some of her other writing. Creepy and twisted just enough to keep you hooked but not so much that I had to put it down.

Dec 08, 2020

The Publisher's Weekly review says it all. Very enjoyable.

Dec 03, 2020

I found this to be a fairly dark book. You don’t really see much happiness or lightheartedness at all; perhaps, some degree in the end. It’s a hippie-communal type setting and deals with control, submission and revenge. Again, because of its non-ending downward spiral, I would not recommend.

Nov 23, 2020

Love the book. Interesting twist ending. However it did start kinda slow so be patient

Nov 22, 2020

A very strange and rather dark story, but it did keep you reading!

Nov 03, 2020

I love it when I love the book, couldn't put it down.

Nov 02, 2020

couldn't put it down. It had my pulse quickening several times. First book by this author and I will be reading more.

Oct 27, 2020

This book was a good read and I love the last statement. Leave's the reader wondering who is the evil one. However after reading Lisa's book "I found You" recently, it was too similar: Multiple view points, lost memories or unknown history happening when characters were young, and mysterious death or missing people. I liked it better than I found you but I wished I only had read this book or waited a couple of years before reading this one.

Sep 21, 2020

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! Delicious chills and family horror!

Sep 14, 2020

Interesting, but falls short of thrilling!

Reviewed in the United States on August 31, 2020

I have mixed feelings about THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS.

This book would seem to have everything necessary to catapult it into an "edge of your seat", "can't put it down" thriller status. Unfortunately it never really gets there.

Plot is king. As a concept, Lisa Jewell's idea is absolutely chilling.. It is plausible in the way something slow and insidious takes over your life. It is similar to a battered wife or a victim of Stockholm Syndrome or somebody who gets absorbed into a cult. They end up controlled, subdued and shells of their former selves. In this case it is a family that gets absorbed by the insidious evil. In reality it is the parents, while the narrator, a young boy, Henry, who looks on, becomes increasingly distressed at the breakdown of his family. Henry is never taken in by the charismatic personalities that render his parents compliant, mindless victims, who appear to have no free will.

The decent into household madness takes place over a period of five years changing the lives of a dozen people, in harmful ways.

Jewell is an excellent writer, and her central female characters come to life as three dimensional, empathetic people. Her male narrator and every other important male in the book is a hard sell when it comes to plausibility. They all have some interesting character traits, but those traits are exaggerated and stereotypical. "Evil budding psychopath; taciturn, stoic & resigned; alcoholic wife beater; charismatic manipulator; rejected suitor; spiteful resentful child, etc..

The children are the focus of the story, but the reasons for their predicament is never explored beyond what the children know and see. They never understand exactly what is going on and our understanding is limited by their narrow view of the world. The adults who are responsible for their abuse, and the adults who stand by and let it happen, never really are explained to the reader. We hardly get to know them at all. This is convenient for the author but feels a bit lazy for the reader. Motivation is key to developing a thrilling plot, but, if you are going to make your characters act in ways that are not normal or natural, i want to know why. By showing us only a childs view, the adults never have to explain themselves, which strains the credibility of the story. Even when Henry directly asks an adult to explain the odd things, the answers are cryptic (if they answer at all), and the question never gets answered at all -- not then or later.

The book is interesting but the pacing feels off and the climaxes fall short of thrilling. It isn"t boring but it doesn't have the urgency of a thriller, either.

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