Catherine House, by Elisabeth Thomas

tessalitwish's review

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Loved the creepy, sinister atmosphere of this book. However, took me a while to care about the characters. There's some great dialogue here, but needed more to get me invested. I did love all the names. Best part of this book were descriptions of the campus (and also the food) but I think the plot was too holey for me- it felt like the START of something that could have been excellent.

I appreciated the representation of depression, and the commentary on how marginalized people are seen as expendable from society.

soavezefiretto's review

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Disappointing. The author wanted to create a mood of oppressive and alluring mystery, but she only succeeds in creating a sensation of detachment, boredom and confusion. The "big reveal" is extremely unsatifying, none of the characters stays with you, and the protagonist is so passive you sometimes wonders how she musters the energy to breathe. She wonders too.

elipep's review

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mysterious sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


camsara99's review

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Although I didn’t hate this, I found it was a waste of my time. The premise had a lot of promise and I was very excited about it, but the book didn’t live up to this. The plot has no real progression, climax, or ending. The entire story felt very static. There was nothing making me want to root for the protagonist or really any other character. The environment built was interesting, but then not fully explored. And there were many interesting things touched on, but not explored in depth, which left a lot of unsatisfying questions and plot holes.

That said, the diversity in the book was great and done very naturally, at no point did anyone feel like a token character. This something I wish other writers would do as well.

Ultimately this book would have benefitted from being much shorter. If it were done in 200 pages or less the plot may have felt more dramatic and actually added some gravity to the story.

ellareads's review

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“You are in the house and the house is in the woods.
You are in the house and the house is in you.”
Catherine House was undeniably really anticlimactic. I was so interested in the premise for this book, I have seen it a lot on YouTube, and most of my favorite reviewers have liked so I thought I would give it a try. I was sure I was going to like it, but It did not feel like a thriller and I found myself more bored than anything counting the pages left to finish it. The characters were ok nothing that great about them. I enjoyed the beginning solely based on the fact that it sounded really interesting, a school with an elite selection program and a long list of famous and inspiring past students, the fact that the rest of the book was filled with a whole bunch of nothing was extremally upsetting.

goldenbeebookshop's review

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This is a hard one to rate because I found myself reading it as three different versions of myself: The present me who holds a sometimes rose-colored nostalgia for my college years and the life I lived while on a secluded campus, the 19-year-old me who held the kind of wonder and sense of invincibility that belongs to that age, and 17-year-old me who would have absolutely adored the strange and melancholy setting and introspection about happiness and belonging.

I hate to admit that there are plenty of books that I read to "get to the point"- to find the "who" in the whodunnit, the lesson in the moral exploration, the satisfaction of true character growth. But there's something about the tone of this book and perhaps the state of the main character that it made my brain quiet and I was just along for the odd ride.

Every reader brings their own experiences to the table when they dive into a book, and I found myself wondering about how many characters in this book were depressed. I felt by the end the way that Ines was imagining her future and the way she talked about her past and present that she wasn't broken but depressed, and it's only because I've found ways to minimize my own depression that I always want the same for others-even fictional young women.

velvetlibrary's review

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Possibly a 4.5 rounded up to a 5...

I was utterly absorbed into and captivated by the world of Catherine House. Elisabeth Thomas is an exceptional wordsmith, and I thoroughly enjoyed this look at a secluded, elite private college like no other.

flickerrfade's review

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dark mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


natalieirene's review

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I rarely see where books are going to go but I called this entire plot from the first 5 pages.

loreofthebooks's review

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This just ended up really not being for me. The plot was interesting at first, but then it just petered out. The writing was so good which is why I finished it, and the atmosphere was good, the characters were fine, but I felt it lacked something for me.

It just...for me, didn't work.