Review: Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

Just Like HomeJust Like Home by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Coming back to her childhood home is a very difficult decision for Vera Crowder. There’s a lot of hurdles mentally to overcome. As she stands before it, ready to enter for the first time in 12-years, she’s filled with doubts.

Her mother, Daphne, is extremely ill and in her final days she seems to want Vera by her side; odd considering she never showed interest in Vera before.

In fact, their relationship has been hostile for years, not your typical mother-daughter relationship, but Vera’s whole family history is complicated. That can happen when your father is an infamous serial killer.

Making matters worse is the fact that Vera’s mother has a tenant living on the property, some sort of artist whose interest in the house makes Vera very uncomfortable.

Regardless of his annoying presence, being back in the home definitely stirs up a lot of unresolved issues for Vera. She feels things in the house, it’s unsettling. She’s remembering things she had forgotten.

Through past and present perspectives the Reader is filled in on the truth behind the Crowder house, Vera’s family and unconventional upbringing.

Just Like Home was a highly anticipated release for me. I knew with Sarah Gailey’s impressive writing skills and imagination this would be a memorable story.

It absolutely was. I was drawn in from the very first paragraph. It feels morose, Vera is not necessarily a happy camper. There’s not a lot to be happy about in this situation, but it was absolutely captivating in its quiet intensity.

The way Gailey weaved this story together was so good. There’s a lot of balls in the air, as the Reader you are learning so much in every moment. There are no chapters wasted.

I loved being in Vera’s head as she reflected on her life and the past timeline was so gripping to watch play out. In some ways it felt like a simple story, like the way it unfolded, but when you take the time to think about it, there are so many layers.

Most interesting to me was the relationship that Vera had with her father. An assumption may be that because he was a killer, he would be a harsh and dominating force in her life, but that’s not quite the case.

Additionally, to see the tension between her and her mother, it almost seemed upside-down from what you would expect. And then there was the whole dynamic between the mother and father, which was equally as interesting.

One of the most important aspects for me in any story is atmosphere. I need a strong atmosphere to truly be swept up into a story. I want to feel it, smell it, taste it and generally, be unsettled by it.

Gailey nailed the atmosphere here. This house, oh my word, make no mistake, the house has soul, the house has energy. I always love when the sense of place is this thick in a story. A great example would be The Overlook Hotel in The Shining; where the place is as impactful as any of the characters.

I really had to think about this one after I finished it in order to decide on a rating. Initially, I was thinking it started too slow, but looking back, I feel it was appropriately done.

It is a bit of a slow burn, but the payoff is so over-the-top, vivid and immersive, that it just makes sense this way. Gailey crushed this. It was so freaking weird and creative in such an incredible way.

Thank you so very much to the publisher, Tor and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I will remember this one for a long time to come!

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