“An orphan is not weak because reality makes them stronger than a beast” —Remon Rakibul

Grief and mourning are shrouds that can be worn in whatever way a person fashions them, but whether it adorns the sleeves or is tucked away beneath the collar, it is there all the same. Grief recognizes grief, or at least that’s what the protagonist of our latest read believes when she arrives at a remote estate to become the ward of a wealthy family.

The Companion by Katie Alender

After surviving a horrific accident that killed the rest of her family, Margot finds herself in a position she never expected to be in as an orphan. At 16 her life has been thrown completely upside down as she has no family, no personal belongings and as she’s recently discovered, no friends. After being shuttled around to the homes of different friends, she finds that her trauma- fueled nightmares make her a difficult teen to handle. But everyone seems to think she’s lucky because she didn’t die. Margot finds herself at a home for teen girls when out of the blue a wealthy family decides to pluck her from the home and make her their ward so she can be the companion of their ill daughter. When Margot arrives at the massive estate without cell service, Wi-Fi, or any link to the outside world she decides to try to make the best of it ... even if she has to share a room with Agatha, the Sutton family’s semi-catatonic daughter. As Margot tries to settle into her new life with the Suttons, she can’t escape a nagging fear that something is wrong at this richly attired home and when she wakes up to find messages telling her to go on the wall, she finds herself growing uneasy. It seems there’s something more than Margot’s past haunting the house.

“The Companion” is a chilling YA gothic tale that will leave readers unsettled as they travel through the great house with Margot. Even though Agatha and Margot are unable to verbally communicate, the two form a connection through the odd occurrences at the house. Katie Alender crafts a thrilling mystery as Margot tries to piece together the secrets in the house and what exactly it is that makes her so willing to please her new matriarch.

From the book jacket…

The other orphans say Margot is lucky.

Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.

Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.

And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.

But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha—and getting to know her handsome older brother—seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons...and herself.

Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha — but the real nightmare has just begun.

If you enjoy…

Readers who are looking for more YA chills and thrills might enjoy Karen M. McManus’s curious tales like “One of Us Is Lying” and its sequel “One of Us Is Next,” which follow the cyber bullying and murder of students at a small school.