Tell Me I’m Worthless

Tor Nightfire. Jan. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9781250866233. pap. $17.99. HORROR
DEBUT Best friends Alice, Ila, and Hannah decided to celebrate their final days of university by spending a night in the local haunted house. Three years later, Alice and Ila are living apart and dealing with the consequences of that night, the physical and emotional scars, and their conflicting beliefs that the other one raped them. And there is the question of Hannah, who never made it out. Alice, a trans woman who is barely connected to the real world, is physically haunted by a poster on the wall of her flat, while Ila has turned her pain into a career as a “gender critical” activist. Meanwhile, the house looms over everything as it continues to stalk and terrify everyone. As Ila comes to realize that she loves and needs Alice, the two go back to the house to face their fears so that they can begin to live again.
VERDICT This debut is a fantastic and disorienting take on the haunted house trope, but it is also a compelling and emotional story about trauma, fascism, and the hard truth of living an openly trans life in the 21st century.
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