Cover Image: Who Haunts You

Who Haunts You

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Graduating Seniors Are Dying Just Before Graduation

Yunwen Lei, the #2 student at Claremont High School, is running straight through thick woods barefoot, in her pajamas, and without her phone. Rebecca “Bex” Koeltl, the #401 student, watches the feeds of various Forestry Service trail cameras, two of which showed her flying by on her way to sail off a cliff. Her hair is in disarray. Her eyes are wide, and her body is tense. Some say that it was a tragic accident. Some say that she committed suicide. From this death, this haunting novel starts.

Yunwen’s and subsequent deaths pique Bex’s interest, and she starts her investigation into their deaths. She sees signs and experiences that make her believe ghosts are chasing them. She has several obstacles facing her. First and foremost, she is on the autism spectrum. Her mother and adult sister watch her like a hawk. Bex also sees a therapist for her autism. All of them are worried that Bex is overstimulating herself, which could worsen her condition. They want Bex to rest and restrict her freedom and access to her phone and computer to calm her down. Her talking of ghosts only makes them more insistent with their restrictions. Bex narrates all the chapters, so there is good evidence of ghosts behind the deaths. All these aspects captured my interest and kept me reading to the novel's end.

Bex’s background is provided throughout the novel by Bex herself. As the narrator, her thoughts offer a rich source of information about her personality and someone suffering from autism. Her need for stimming was an aspect of autism that I did not understand before. This aspect of the novel increased my enjoyment of it.

The potential negative aspects are minimal in this novel. There are not any intimate scenes. Objectionable language is rude versus vulgar and not that frequent. Violence is present but not excessive. Last, in this category, the novel is a standalone, so the reader does not have to worry about missing events from previous novels. This novel should not be problematic for most readers, including young adults.

The only aspects that ruffled my feathers were needed to keep the novel flowing. Bex needed access to school records. She did this through the librarian’s computer account to which she had access. Bex is not the only one who has that access who should not. As I wrote above, seeing the world through an autistic eyes was interesting. There are no loose ends at the novel's end, even about the ghosts. This is the sixth novel by this author I have read. He is a Must-Read author for me. I enjoyed reading this novel and rated it with four stars.

I received this novel's free prepublication e-book version through NetGalley from Off Limits Press. My review is based solely on my own reading experience of this book. Thank you, Off Limits Press, for the opportunity to read and review this novel.

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READ:April 8-April 9
Netgalley ARC

Bex is a neurodivergent teen who finds patterns in everything. One of her classmates commits suicide and within a few weeks two more have died in accidents. But something isn’t right about this. And Bex herself is spiraling and seeing/hearing strange things. What’s going on?

I really really enjoyed the first 1/2 of this book. I remember thinking that I was impressed with the writing and how it didn’t feel “YA”. However I began to lose the plot a bit past the halfway point and it seemed that the plot and writing devolved from there.

I wish that there was a definite answer for what was going on and I wish that we could have seen more developments from Bex as I felt she got short shrift.

I would read more by this author.

FAVE QUOTE: “When you get fixated, your brain rewards you with dopamine hits for anything you ‘uncover’”

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"Who Haunts You" by Mark Wheaton is a chilling and deeply atmospheric novel that skillfully blends elements of horror, mystery, and psychological suspense. Wheaton takes readers on a gripping journey into the heart of fear, exploring the ghosts that haunt us both literally and metaphorically.

The story centers around a series of haunting events that disturb the tranquil life of a small community. As the narrative unfolds, Wheaton masterfully weaves together the lives of his characters, each of whom is grappling with their own personal demons and secrets. Through a series of eerie occurrences and unsettling discoveries, the characters are forced to confront the specters of their pasts and the dark truths that lurk beneath the surface of their seemingly peaceful town.

Wheaton's writing is evocative and immersive, with a keen eye for detail that brings the story's haunted settings to life. His ability to create a mood of creeping dread is exceptional, drawing readers into a world where the line between the real and the supernatural is blurred. The pacing of the story is expertly handled, with a slow build of tension that leads to a series of climactic revelations that are both shocking and satisfying.

At its core, "Who Haunts You" is a meditation on the nature of haunting itself. Wheaton explores the ways in which the past can linger in the present, manifesting as guilt, regret, or unresolved trauma. The supernatural elements of the story serve as a metaphor for these psychological hauntings, giving the novel a depth that goes beyond the typical horror narrative.

The characters in "Who Haunts You" are well-drawn and complex, each adding a different layer to the story's exploration of haunting. Through their struggles, Wheaton examines themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the possibility of moving beyond the ghosts that haunt us. This emotional resonance is one of the novel's strengths, making it not just a tale of horror, but a poignant story about the human condition.

In conclusion, "Who Haunts You" by Mark Wheaton is a compelling and thought-provoking novel that stands out in the horror genre. With its blend of suspense, psychological depth, and supernatural intrigue, it offers a fresh and engaging take on the theme of haunting. Wheaton's skillful storytelling and atmospheric writing make this a must-read for fans of horror and suspense, as well as anyone interested in the deeper questions of what it means to be haunted.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for an advanced copy to review for my honest opinion.

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Rebecca uses the nickname Bex . She is in her senior year in high school. She is planning on keeping herself together so she can graduate, but being autistic has made it difficult. Bex has a family that helps and supports her with her autistic struggles in life and school. Bex sees a therapist to learn how to handle her autism with coping mechanisms. The coping mechanisms do help her when she becomes overwhelmed. Bex is sad when she learns one of her classmates has died but when two more classmates dies, she becomes suspicious . To her, they somehow appear to her as murders rather than accidental deaths. She decides to investigate. Ghosts of long dead relatives are seen by the individuals causing that person to not know if he/she is going insane. As Bex goes investigating the deaths, she remembers her therapist telling her about an experiment that caused people to see their “ghosts” even hough they are not truly being real. The experiment was cancelled due to the potential for the subjects to die. Will Bex be able to solve the deaths/murders?

The author has written a tightly written, fast paced mystery. The ending is satisfying except I always want more. The characters are well developed. I enjoyed Bex’s personality with her dry humor. I thought it was great how the author wrote a positive autism representation.
It’s a mystery that was enjoyable and had me wondering why these students were dead.

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Thank you Netgalley, Off Limits Press & Mark Wheaton for the ARC of this book

From the very start I was totally gripped. It was spooky and I loved the pace of the book. It was twisty and contained some really clever ways to make you question what's real life and what's super natural!

I loved the development of our main character and the representation of a neuro-divergent protagonist

The ending was excellent and I loved that it was left open!!

Overall an enjoyable YA horror/thriller.

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Rebecca is a high school senior trying to make it to graduation. She is also autistic and I loved to read from her point of view and understand how many things in life that seem so simple to us, might be challenging for an autistic person. The author also acknowledges that there are different types of autism so it is very different depending on the person and type of autism.

A student dies in what looks like an accident but Rebecca has her doubts. After more students die in mysterious circumstances, Rebecca will start an investigation and will soon realize that all the deaths seem to be connected.

Something is targeting students, something supernatural and she needs to figure out why in order to stop it before she is the next victim.

This book was a quick and entertaining read. I really enjoyed Rebecca as a character and loved to see her come out of her shell.

This is a paranormal horror with some creepy moments but it does read like a lower YA.

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Who Haunts You is a YA suspense/horror. Bex, the main character is investigating the odd deaths of her classmates. I enjoyed the first person narration, see it through Bex;s eyes was an interesting perspective. The suspense/mystery element was solid but I thought the ending was lacking, I wanted more from the story.

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A thrilling young adult book that explores the dark and mysterious realm of hauntings and family secrets is "Who Haunts You." I was gripped from start to finish as Bex dug further into the mystery behind the killings and the evil forces at work thanks to Mark Wheaton's deft interweaving of suspense and intrigue. A captivating protagonist, a gloomy and eerie environment, and Mark Wheaton's skill at building tension and anxiety make "Who Haunts You" an engrossing and eerie story. Until the very end, it had me wondering and interested.

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I ran through this one quickly because I did not want to put it down. It gave me the creeps at times but also kept me guessing. I could not guess how this one was going to end.

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I understand the premise of this book at it's base was to be a thriller, but overall I found myself feeling very blah after finishing it. Part of me feels as though the ending of the book was rushed, as the main plot felt that it had some potential. It's a pity because I do enjoy this genre and I am always looking for books of the same nature to recommend, but I don't think that we'll be adding this one to our collection.

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This was a good story. It was creepy and at times I felt anxious and overstimulated right along with Rebecca. The horror of it felt very real and it was easy to imagine myself in her place. I wasn't a fan of the interactions with Dr. Tamar. I really did not care for her character. The ending of the story also felt a bit abrupt and made the story feel incomplete. Still, I did enjoy it for the most part and would recommend it to others.

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I got this book for free from NetGalley. I enjoyed this book until it was near the end. The descriptions of the scenes caused me to get chills and feel scared. The story was fast-paced, and it wasn't skipping interesting parts. I would have rather the ending go the other way (why is it 4 stars), but I won't say anymore. It's worth reading if you like books that make you feel uneasy and on edge.

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Thank you Netgalley and Off Limits Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!

"Who Haunts You" by Mark Wheaton is a rollercoaster of psychological suspense and horror that defies expectations, weaving a unique and engrossing narrative that leaves readers both captivated and unnerved.

The story revolves around a psychological experiment that takes an unexpected turn, conditioning already anxious young minds in a terrifying manner. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book before that focused on this specific twist with the paranormal haunting. It reminded me a little of “It Follows,” and I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the supernatural/mystery in the book, especially when we got some backstory of the experiment.

The atmospheric vibes in the book are both creepy and disturbing, perfect for a haunting story. The writing was very descriptive and the plot itself was fast-paced, allowing me to finish the book in just a few hours.

Bex's character shines in the narrative, with the author, Mark Wheaton, skillfully portraying her autism. Her relatability and likability make you empathize with her as she navigates the complexities of her peers' deaths. The author's exploration of Bex's unique perspective adds depth to the psychological suspense, making the story all the more compelling. Neurodivergent readers may be able to connect to Bex’s character, and I really liked how open Wheaton was about Bex’s autism throughout the book, including her perspective and those around her.

The ending/epilogue was quite fast-paced as well and left at a point that could lead to a sequel, which I would definitely read. The end of the book, however, made me feel pretty sad about Bex and the events that transpired around her; the book definitely doesn’t have a happily-ever-after ending, though this kind of ending is similar to many horror movie endings. Again, it reminded me of the “It Follows” movie.

"Who Haunts You" is a standout YA psychological suspense/horror that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Mark Wheaton's exploration of neurodivergence, coupled with a gripping mystery and atmospheric vibes, makes this book a compelling and unique addition to the genre. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Wheaton’s next book, especially if there is a sequel.

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3.5 rounded up to 4 stars.

this was a very short, fun read! i adored bex deeply. as someone who’s autistic, reading about a character who i can relate to means a lot to me. the author was very careful in his portrayal and you can really see that showing in his work, which i appreciate a lot.

i was very pulled into the story. i wanted to keep going well after i should have gone to bed. and i was left thinking about it when i couldn’t read it and wondered what was going to happen to bex.

my only gripe with who haunts you is how short it is. i wish it had been a little longer, as the ending felt very abrupt. i honestly had a feeling regarding the twist ending, so i wish it had been drawn out more, rather than tossed in within the last 5%.

overall, i enjoyed my time with this and i’d like for more stories like this in the future!

thanks to netgalley and off limits press for the earc in exchange for an honest review!

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Twisted psychological mystery that will have you question what is real. Having the main character, Bex, be autistic gives great insight into the way an autistic mind works. Bex sees things that seem tangential and insignificant, but she manages to strip layers of myth to find truth. With each new death, the only thing that is certain is the terror. Are these accidents, psychotic breaks, ghosts come to life, or could there be a person behind all of this? I enjoyed Bex as a main character, and got caught up in the story. The intensity builds as Bex becomes a target, and the conclusion is certainly not what I expected. As for the very end, I didn't actually get it - so it is going to stick with me as I try to figure it out. The story would make a haunting horror movie!

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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Wow so I did not realize that this was so short… it’s almost a shame that it wasn’t longer because it was good. I’m not usually into paranormal / horror but this cover and blurb did it for me, I just had to! And boy I was not wrong, it was so compelling, I think if this genre is up your alley you should definitely dive in!

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Bex, a senior in high school usually keeps to herself and has few friends. Students in her senior class begin dying in strange circumstances. Before their deaths they all seem to be haunted by relatives their family swears never existed. Soon, Bex begins seeing an aunt that she believes wasn’t real, but everyone in her family says she was. They prove this with family pictures and an obituary from her untimely death in the 60s. Bex starts digging into the families of her now passed classmates to find connections and stop what happened to them to continue.

This was a great read! Bex’s struggle with autism felt very authentic and the mystery kept me so engaged that I finished this book in two sittings. It was very well written and the story line was complicated but in a good way. I had put some thought into what was actually happening at the end otherwise it might not make any sense. With it being a young adult book, the deaths were gory and it wasn’t over the top scary by any means.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Off Limits Press for this ARC (although I’m reading it post release!)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was thrilling with a touch of supernatural. It was short but jam packed. I appreciated the way in which the author wrote about the FMC’s experience as a person with Autism.
Overall - a great book!

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I wish I would have knew about this book when it first came out.....It's a great spooky page turner......I hope to read more books from this author!!!! This is definitely a quick read but it's a book I can see myself reading again and again!!!!! I think I'll read it in the Fall under the covers with a hot cocoa!!!!

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I received an ARC of this title through Netgalley. These are my thoughts.

I have a bad habit of thinking early on I can predict my eventual star rating. So much can happen between that first impression and the end. Stories can stumble, or find their footing, and endings can elevate or cast the story down into the bowels of ... somewhere.

I spent a lot of this story thinking it was for sure at least 4 stories. I found a misspelled word here or a misused word there, but -- overall -- it read really nicely and I was invested. I wanted an explanation for various intriguing developments and so the pages turned themselves.

The main character was very likeable and provided autism representation. I welcomed that choice and also thought it added to the story in terms of her having to deal with biases. We had a plot where she was always under the best of circumstances going to be unable to provide evidence for things she knew to be true, and that's before adding people mistrusting her ability to perceive events correctly. I felt that was an honest way to go.

Unfortunately, the ending didn't hold up or satisfy or, really, work. It's quite possible the author could explain it in a way that would make it hold together, but I don't see how. In the end, at least two conflicting things have to be true, and that makes no sense -- severe cognitive dissonance. The alternative is that both these things are false, and with a main character with autism, I'm not liking the implications.

After I read this book, and felt a general dissatisfaction and sense that the ending didn't hold together, I took a bath and thought about it. And I kept remembering what felt like inconsistencies or a dropped plot line. This is a short book, a novella, and while I like that length that doesn't mean I always think it works. I think this story needed more pages, and so when it feels like there are dropped plot points I think that's wasted real estate.

Anyhow, I'm thinking about all this, and even though I'm in the tub I think about the rabbit hole of the TV Tropes page, and the trope called Fridge Logic. It's basically where the you finish a story, go about your life, and all of a sudden a thought pops up into your head about how something you accepted in the story makes no sense.

I think the ending only works at all, a little, if you don't think about it. And if you can reconcile it all, that holds a creepy message. This is disappointing considering I was so very into this story most of the way, to the point of discussing with my husband how I couldn't wait to find out what was going on.

That this is a 3 star book for me after the ending is a testament to how much pleasure I took in most of it. And how disappointed I was in the end/ending. I would love to read more by the author, but I think I'd read reviews first to make sure the story holds all the way through.

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