A Place for Vanishing / Ann Fraistat / Book Review


Libby's family needs a fresh start, and she can't help but blame herself. She's the reason they're moving, after all. She needs a fresh start more than anyone. But when they arrive at her mom's childhood home, Libby can't help but feel like this move isn't going to be as fresh as they hope.

Overrun by insects despite the assurances of the exterminators, their new home is creepy and unsettling. Not only do the floorboards creak under the weight of the vermin, but bugs haunt these halls in other ways, too--from the stained glass murals to the garden teeming with impossibly blue (and highly infested) roses. Libby can't sleep at night, not with the scurrying and scuttling in the attic as loud as it is. Especially not when she finds out about the decades of disappearances, the history of séances this house holds.

Libby's mom refuses to hear anything negative about thier new home, their new town, their new life. Libby knows better than to bring anything up, but she's not a fool. This house contains secrets, and secrets can turn deadly if left unattended... And with the beetle mask on her window calling out to her, Libby can't help but take up the call.



You know, I really wasn't digging this one for about 80% of the book. But I guess I shouldn't have doubted Ann Fraistat's horror abilities. Because that last 20% upped the ante on every page. The creep, the ick, and skin-crawling-ness all came together to stick the landing... and make everything that came before worth it. This book takes a long time to set itself up, but the payoff is spectacular. What a way to kick off the New Year!


Creepy, Creepy Bugs If insect infestations make your skin crawl, this book probably won't be for you... unless that's what you're looking for! I didn't know I was looking for it, but I am so glad I got it. This book is tinged with spiritualist history, undergirded by a relentlessly unhinged energy, and absolutely brimming with scurrying, scuttling, and rot. Ethereal is perhaps a good word to describe this book... but only if ethereal comes with a healthy dose of damp and mold. 

Graphic Body Gore It won't be for everyone, so squeamish readers beware! But Ann Fraistat really knows how to embrace body horror--and not just in a way that's blood and guts. As I said above, the payoff here is absolutely worth it. I knew what Fraistat could do after What We Harvest, but that book feels like nothing compared to this one. This book pulls out all the stops. It will make you cringe. It will disgust you. And that's just what you want in horror.

Foreboding The balance here between "something's not right" and "it's too late" is absolutely perfect. I think it can be hard to lay that sort of foreboding groundwork. Readers need to feel that something's going to go wrong without that foreboding feeling dragging--or without being shocked when something does go absolutely wrong. And this book nails it. You get the tantalizing feeling that these choices might not be the right one, but you're not left with a lot of time to linger. Things go wrong so fast, so quickly, so irredemably that you can't really blame the characters. You might beg the characters to slow down before committing, but at the same time, you recognize that you, too, would get caught in the exact same trap. It's a rock-and-a-hard-place situation.


As much as I think the payoff made this book work it, it does take a long time to get there. Others might not be as patient as me (to their detriment). I found this book pretty uninspiring for way over half of it, and many readers just won't give it the chance it deserves. It's worth it, but you've got to commit to it to get there. Slow Build

I know this is part of the family conflict, but I still found it really, really irritating. It was hard to read Libby's mom dismissing her negative thoughts and feelings. Feeling or experiencing something negative isn't bad. And dismissing and ignoring all negative emotions really isn't the way to help somebody going through (or coming out of) a mental health crisis. So that was really hard to read, even if that was kind of the point. Toxic Positivity

The one really big issue I had here was with the villain. I think this book is really good... with this one exception. No spoilers, no naming names (I really do think you should read this book!). But it just felt like one of the Big Bads here didn't have the motivation to really make their story compelling. I needed a why, and I didn't get one. Confusing Villain



Fans of Liselle Sambury's Delicious Monsters will enjoy this new rotting corpse of a house full of layers of unresolved family trauma. Anyone who adores Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House will love the twists and turns in this historical home.


Publisher: Delacorte Press
Date: January 16, 2024
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. A creepy house combined with a skin-crawling bug infestation sounds perfect for a horror novel. I'll have to remember this one when I'm in the mood for a creepy read. :D

  2. I'm glad it ended up being good. But bugs and a creepy house would make me move. lol

  3. I really admire your ability to stick with it (I would have given up before 80%), but hey, it paid off.

  4. I'd be out of that place in 5 minutes. I'd probably have a nightmare. But... I want to know now!

  5. Wonderful review but I don’t think this one is for me.

  6. You have me curious and I have read some truly creepy. icky, bugged out things.

  7. Bugs freak me out! Happy to hear the last 20% made the read worth it.

  8. Insect infestations, oh no thank you. They do make my skin crawl!

  9. I would never have read till 80% you know so I am in awe!

  10. While I am not squeamish regarding blood and gore the skin crawling part has me a little worried. Thanks for sharing.

  11. live with bugs is scary for me.....
    nice book to read..... thank you for sharing your review

  12. This does sound like an interesting book with a creepy bug-infested house. I don't mind slow-building books if the ending is worth it, so I may have to check this one out!

  13. Not quite my thing. I am not one for dark or creepy, but I give you a lot of credit for sticking it out so long. Glad it paid off


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