Mendenhall echoes with the footsteps of the last home-bound students heading off for Thanksgiving break, and Robin Stone swears she can feel the creepy, hundred-year old residence hall breathe a sigh of relief for its long-awaited solitude. Or perhaps it's only gathering itself for the coming weekend.
As a massive storm dumps rain on the isolated campus, four other lonely students reveal themselves: Patrick, a handsome jock; Lisa, a manipulative tease; Cain, a brooding musician; and finally Martin, a scholarly eccentric. Each has forsaken a long weekend at home for their own secret reasons.
The five unlikely companions establish a tentative rapport, but they soon become aware of a sixth presence disturbing the ominous silence that pervades the building. Are they victims of a simple college prank taken way too far, or is the unusual energy evidence of something genuine—and intent on using the five students for its own terrifying ends? It's only Thursday afternoon, and they have three long days and dark nights before the rest of the world returns to find out what's become of them. But for now it's just the darkness keeping company with five students nobody wants—and no one will miss.
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"The Harrowing is a real page-turner, a first novel of unusual promise."
—Ira Levin, author of Rosemary's Baby
"The Harrowing is a find: fast, original, and genuinely creepy."
—F. Paul Wilson, author of Midnight Mass
"Alexandra Sokoloff conjures up a demon older than time and humanity and yet rooted in modern psychology. She brings all her skills as a screenwriter to a tale of supernatural terror as swift as a film."
—Ramsey Campbell, author of The Overnight
"Sokoloff's debut novel is a furiously paced, deftly plotted joy, bursting at the seams with disquieting imagery and carrying a disturbingly dark undercurrent. It gave me a nightmare... and that's rare."
—Tim Lebbon, author of Dusk
"Absolutely gripping...It is easy to imagine this as a film...Once started, you won't want to stop reading."
"Sokoloff's debut novel is an eerie ghost story that captivates readers from page one. The author creates an element of suspense that builds until the chillingly believable conclusion. Four stars."
"Poltergeist meets The Breakfast Club as five college students tangle with an ancient evil presence. Plenty of sexual tension... quick pace and engaging plot."
"The Harrowing is more than an impressive debut novel; it is an impressive work, period... the book gave me nightmares for two nights running. Highly recommended."
"With strong characterization, chilling description and realistic dialog, Sokoloff weaves a harrowing ghost story that has both elements of classic hauntings, yet plenty of unique twists and turns that make it a fresh, new tale of terror."
—Curled Up With a Good Book
"Sokoloff's screenplay training pays off with this economical and very scary tale of five alienated teens who get caught up in forces far, far beyond their control, but she scores extra points for the biblical twist that really ratchets up the tension."
"Sokoloff uses the setting, the storm, the fears and strife of the characters to unleash a horrific tale. A stellar book, an excellent debut."
—Reviewing the Evidence
"Deliciously woven with elements of Jungian psychology... this engrossing, hard-to-put-down novel will give you a fair amount of chills and shivers on those dark rainy days."
"New twists on the traditional and a fresh style of writing make a great ghost-suspense. The book's non-stop pacing grabs the reader's interest and refuses to let go."
—Genrefluent, Teen Page
"Sex, drugs, alcohol and ghost. Seems like a pretty banging party, right? Wrong. In Alexandra Sokoloff's The Harrowing, these key party elements are combined with religion, fear and even death to create an amazing story full of friendship and hope. She accomplishes the perfect mix of history and preternatural happenings, making the novel one of the best ghost stories written in quite some time."
"Alexandra Sokoloff made the characters of The Harrowing believable and easy for young people like myself to relate to."
"...her totally cool characters gave the story a realistic and yet still fantastical feel. Great read!"
"Finally a story that can truly capture and keep my attention—not an easy task for a book."
"I wish I could meet a chick like Robin Stone in real life. I would so ask her out!"
"I sure didn't see it coming that (SPOILER DELETED) would betray them."
"As a debut novelist, Sokoloff does a magnificent job in portraying young people and the problems that we face. She included just enough drama, suspense and action to make this book impossible to put down."
St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, August 2006, ISBN: 9780312357481
St. Martin's Paperbacks, Mass Market Paperback, October 2007, ISBN: 9780312357498