Read advance reader review of The September House by Carissa Orlando

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

The September House

by Carissa Orlando

The September House by Carissa Orlando X
The September House by Carissa Orlando
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published Sep 2023
    352 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this book


Page 1 of 4
There are currently 24 member reviews
for The September House
Order Reviews by:
  • Ann B. (Kernville, CA)
    Brilliant haunted house novel with excellently twisted humor
    It's "a house with heavy bones," a place where Margaret can sink her roots into the ground. The gorgeous Victorian with cobalt paint, neat white trim, and a wrap-around porch is going for a price so low, she and Hal triple-check it. So what if, once they move in, they realize the walls bleed and prankster ghosts wreak havoc on the place every September? After the fourth September, Hal has had enough, and off he goes, disappearing. No matter, Margaret is home, and she's not one to run from horror. She remembers The Exorcist as being enjoyable and fairly entertaining. She has learned, after raising a daughter, and especially over the course of her marriage to Hal, that "every situation, no matter how unusual, has rules. They might be strange rules, and they might be difficult to figure out, but once they are learned, they can be followed. And everything works out."
    And what a ride it is to watch how things work out in this supernatural psychological horror novel that takes its cues from classic haunted house literature and movies. There's bits and bobs from Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, The Exorcist, Get Out. It's no wonder that debut novelist Carissa Orlando has a doctorate in clinical-community psychology. Like all great horror writers, she uses this novel to address themes of trauma -- in this case, due to violence and things we don't talk about in families. Great horror novels set up a safe space for us to explore emotions of pain, to help us face our fears, and to find meaning in even our darkest experiences. This is a great horror novel. If you like haunted house stories with generous helpings of dark, twisted humor and emotional resonance, run like you're being chased to The September House.
  • Peggy H. (North East, PA)
    A Dandy and Thought-Provoking Read
    I must begin by admitting that I am a fan of the horror genre, so this is a book that I would normally gravitate towards. The September House, however, intrigues and titillates while fulfilling two criteria of a superior horror read. First, the characters have believable motivations for what might otherwise be unthinkable actions (why stay in a house that is harming you?...why stay in a relationship where you are being beaten?). Second, there is a reasonable backstory for the house itself. The scariest tales are those that we can believe are possible. After all, what force is stronger than the love of a mother for her child?
  • Regina G. (Groveland, FL)
    Wow. Just WOW.
    I don't always jostle a few books at a time, but it was the case here. I had a book to read for my book club, another for a presentation I'm preparing, one more for another event, and of course, The September House. The one I couldn't wait to get back to each time was The September House.

    I absolutely loved this book. I enjoyed the world-building and felt the main characters were fully fleshed out and vivid. The two main female characters were not perfect, but you understood their motivations through their thoughts and actions. The story came about organically, and I particularly enjoyed the little secrets and extra story details that came out slowly and surprisingly at different points as Margaret was sharing her story. ("Wait. What? Did I just read that? That changes things.") For instance, Hal - there was a building of his character that felt real, and then you come to realize it's a very different scenario that is happening in this marriage than you initially thought.

    At many points in the book, I was scared. Some characters are very troubling, and as you learn more about them, you start to understand the truly terrifying situation Margaret and Hal are in (and later, Katherine). There are questions you have, such as "Why don't they just leave every September and come back in October?" that are answered quite convincingly.

    The book was so good that I was worried about how it would end. Would it be satisfying? A million times yes. I finished the book at 3 am - not a particularly great time to finish a horror novel but I couldn't put it down. Although I didn't want the characters to end in the situation they were in, it was bittersweet, it was exhausting, it was awful, it was surprising, and it was satisfying.

    The description of the book includes this line: "Margaret is not like most people." This is an understatement, and I'm happy to have made her acquaintance. I hope you enjoy this gem of a horror novel, and the story the talented author has crafted.
  • Carolyn B
    Horror Thriller
    I really enjoyed this book. I found myself looking forward to reading it just to find out what was going to happen next. Margaret and Hal find the house of their dreams, but the house is haunted by a wide variety of characters. The characters are well developed and interesting. September is the haunting month and all the characters have their own method of expressing themselves. The house bleeds and of course, there is a basement that has its own horror.
  • Liz B.
    Great Horror Story
    Wow, it’s been a while since I read a horror story and this one did not disappoint! I could not read it fast enough, wondering how the end would turn out. There’s a great deal of the supernatural involved here and I felt it added quite nicely to the story. I found myself rooting for Margaret, even when I wasn’t sure which direction the book would take. Favorite character must be Fredricka.
  • JHSiess
    An Impressive, Genre-Melding Debut
    Debut author Carissa Orlando holds a doctorate in clinical-community psychology and specializes in working with children and adolescents. She is committed to improving the quality of and access to mental health care for children and their families. Orlando says she has written creatively in some form since she was a child and studied creative writing in college. She has long been an avid horror fan so the merger of her knowledge of the workings of the human psyche and love for storytelling was probably inevitable and, with The September House, is demonstrably seamless.

    The September House proceeds at a rapid pace as details emerge. A gory, dramatic confrontation tests both Margaret and Katherine, and reveals that Orlando’s story is a clever, multi-layered, allegorical examination of destructive power imbalances in relationships, abuse, family secrets, and the psychological and emotional effects of trauma. It is also an illustration of resilience, resolve, and the freeing and healing power of the truth. Orlando wisely gives readers respites from the deep and relentless emotional intensity of the story with slyly comedic moments. But as utterly ridiculous and outrageous as many of the characters’ actions are, Orlando never allows the story to lose focus, delivering clues at well-timed junctures about how Margaret’s decisions and choices landed her in the middle of a horror story. The September House is an impressive and promising debut.

    Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
  • Sarah B. (Streamwood, IL)
    A fun horror story
    Horror is not typically my genre. I'm a scaredy cat but I read this in giant pieces because it was so good. Scary-ish at times, though humor was mixed in. The motivations make sense for the characters and because of this, the characters are pretty well rounded, and reading that the author is a psychologist makes all the sense in the world.

More Information


Join BookBrowse

for a year of great reading
about exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Prince and the Coyote
    The Prince and the Coyote
    by David Bowles
    At fifteen, Crown Prince Acolmiztli is preparing to enter the calmecac, the temple school that will ...
  • Book Jacket: North Woods
    North Woods
    by Daniel Mason
    "History haunts him who does not honor it." This incidental line from Daniel Mason's North Woods ...
  • Book Jacket
    One Puzzling Afternoon
    by Emily Critchley
    While British author Emily Critchley's graceful novel One Puzzling Afternoon is about cognitive ...
  • Book Jacket: A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens
    A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens
    by Raul Palma
    Raul Palma's debut novel A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens introduces Hugo Contreras, who came to the ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Lucy by the Sea
by Elizabeth Strout
A poignant, pitch-perfect novel from Pulitzer Prize–winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Witches at the End of the World
    by Chelsea Iversen

    Two sisters find themselves at odds in this historical fantasy set during a dark Norwegian winter.

  • Book Jacket

    The Roaring Days of Zora Lily
    by Noelle Salazar

    A glittering novel of family, love, ambition, and self discovery by the bestselling author of The Flight Girls.

Who Said...

People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.