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Reviewed by Amy Powers for Readers' Favorite
The Upside Down of Nora Gaines by Cathrina Constantine is perfect for teen readers who enjoy both spooky ghost stories and romance. Following her parents’ divorce, Nora Gaines and her mother move away from the city into an old farmhouse in a small town. They quickly learn about the horrible past of the house, including the unsolved murders of an entire family and its alleged hauntings. When Nora finds an old diary that magically reveals its owner’s words little by little, Nora begins to uncover the truth about what really happened in her new home. As she forms a friendship – and maybe even more – with a local boy, the two of them become more and more invested in the house’s history. Nora must decide if, and how, she can help to stop the house's tragic history from repeating itself.
Cathrina Constantine has masterfully merged multiple stories into one, as we not only follow Nora during The Upside Down of Nora Gaines but also Neveah’s historical tale from decades prior. The stories of the ghosts haunting the house and of Nora’s new friends are also woven into the complex plot with good pacing. There are many unexpected frights, perfect for the horror genre, and The Upside Down of Nora Gaines had me on the edge of my seat, gasping in shock at some of the unanticipated scares. Although the horror elements were easily my favorite parts of the book, Nora’s budding romance also takes center stage and helps progress the plot at a steady pace. With a mixture of genres, many readers are sure to find something to enjoy in this highly engaging novel.