Review: Still Waters

November 17, 2012 Review 2 ★★★

Review: Still Waters
Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 240
Release Date: December 20th 2011
Genres: Adolescence, General, Love & Romance, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Social Issues, Young Adult
Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He’s leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they’ll never forget. But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn’t seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin’s dark side, and her own safety. Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.


I usually have pretty strong opinions when finishing a book, (cue agreeable scoffs) but this one made my mind pretty jumbled. Did I like this? Was this gold or a horrendously underdeveloped story of nonsense with plot holes? It took me about an hour of the above before I came to this brilliant conclusion: it’s both. Kinda. And so the endless cycle resumes.

STILL WATERS reminded me of Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories: you are thrown seemingly into the middle of the story with little to no background, scary stuff goes down, and you are left with an ending that doesn’t make sense and all your questions are still unanswered. For Poe, this method is gold. I love his novels. The length is what also reminded of this, it is pretty short at around two hundred pages and doesn’t tell a lot of story.

This novel is even set up weird, Hannah’s boyfriend takes her up to the attic to see the view of the town and she finds a picture of a house and map. She steals the map and doesn’t tell her boyfriend where they are headed. Their “romantic” weekend isn’t sweet, it’s creepy. Basically Hannah wants an opportunity to finally tell her boyfriend that she loves him. Spoiler alert! At the end, she does! Yay. It’s almost as if I wanted to tell the story just for the, “I love you” but wanted to throw in some spice  (the scary parts) but the scary parts end up being irrelevant, etc.

It is like having a great idea for a specific part in a plot but not knowing how to get there. As a writer, I am quite aware of this problem (fellow NANOWRIMO participants-you know what I mean!) but there has to be a backbone otherwise your great idea is a flimsy as a head without a spine.This could have gone somewhere. This could have been so much bigger.

Disappearing/not caring parents are plentiful in this novel; not only is it extremely easy for a eighteen (seventeen?) year old to create a sketchy web of lies to fool a parent, but four of them. Her mom, her friend’s dad, and her boyfriend’s parents somehow forget their children are barely legal adults and don’t even check up to see where they are going. This is explained away by her friend’s dad not being in the story and her boyfriend’s parents being alcoholics. How convenient.

I loved the story at first, I thought I was in for a real treat at some parts, I had expected there to be some twist but it never came. In fact, the resolution was pretty dull, it’s like telling the reader, “It’s okay, nothing happened, everything can be explained in an logical, non-paranormal manner, no need to fear.” I want to fear! I want there to be an unexplainable mystery that keeps me up at night!

This is one to summarize and tell around the campfire, but not for a full-fledged novel.

Three stars because I enjoyed the mystery and scary parts (until I found out it was a sham.)  This is one to summarize and tell around the campfire, but not for a full-fledged novel.

If you are looking for something to send a chill up your spine, fall back on Poe and Stephen King.
Rating Report
Overall: 3

2 Responses to “Review: Still Waters”

  1. sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    Your header and background are the cutest! Love it so much.

    This one has been on my TBR for awhile now. I didn’t realize it was so short, which is definitely not a bad thing as long as it all comes together. After reading your review I am not so sure I will like this as much as I thought but I might give it a try still someday. :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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