ARC BOOK REVIEW: A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

Publication Date:
 January 19, 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Format: ebook
Pages:  208
Genre: Magical Realism
Buy: Kindle | Audio | Paperback


The story begins: young lovers, anxious to connect, agree to a first date, thinking outside of the box.
At seventeen years old, James and Amelia can feel the rest of their lives beginning. They have got this summer and this summer alone to experience the extraordinary.
But they didn’t expect to find it in a house at the bottom of a lake.
The house is cold and dark, but it’s also their own.
Caution be damned, until being carefree becomes dangerous. For the teens must decide: swim deeper into the house—all the while falling deeper in love?
Whatever they do, they will never be able to turn their backs on what they discovered together. And what they learned:
Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home.


Imagine what it would feel like as a teenager to find a house at the bottom of a lake that no one else knows about. It would be like having your very own underwater club house. Which is what it is for James and Amelia who on their first date venture through a tunnel to find a 3rd lake with a house at the bottom.  But not only is there a house but the house is in perfect condition.  Not what you would expect for a house at the bottom of a lake. James and Amelia make a pact not to ask why or how. But when one of them starts to question things turn strange. 

Malerman brings us into that childhood wonder of first discovery.  Finding something magical that is only shared by two people until the spell is broken and things start to fall apart.  Is the house a metaphor for first love or should we take it at face value and become enchanted with the wonderment and eeriness of finding something so perfect at the bottom of a lake untouched by time or the laws of physics.  

This book has that awe and creep factor that keep you turning pages.  I know many people don't like the ending but I thought it was fitting. What happens when the magic disappears and you start to question how it is being done, do you see things through different lenses? Do you become jaded always hoping to find that magic again? I found this a fascinating book that I could see a book group having many a discussion about.  Thank you netgalley and the publisher for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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