"[A] thoughtful reflection on how bigotry of the past informs the hauntings of the present."—STARRED review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (CCBC)
Ghosts aren’t the only thing that can haunt a house.
With her dad’s incarceration, escalating fights with her mom, and an overbearing stepdad she’s not sure she can trust, Asha is desperate for the fresh start promised by a move to the country. Her great aunt Aggie’s crumbling, pest-ridden house isn’t exactly what she had in mind, but the immediate connection she makes with her new neighbor Cole seems like a good sign. Soon, though, Asha’s optimism is shadowed by strange and disturbing occurrences within the old house’s walls: footsteps stalking the halls; a persistent chill; cold hands around her neck in the middle of the night . . .
Fearing for her loved ones’ safety—and her own—Asha seeks out the source of these terrifying incidents and uncovers secrets from the past that connect her and Cole’s families and reach into the present. But as tensions with her mom and stepdad rise and Cole withdraws, Asha is left alone to try and break the cycle of violence that holds them all in its haunting grip.
Trynne Delaney’s debut novel explores the insidious legacies of violence and oppression—and how Black, queer love and resistance can disrupt them.
About the author
TRYNNE DELANEY is a writer currently based in Tiohtià:ke (Montréal).They were born on the west coast and raised on the east coast in the place colonially known as Canada. the half-drowned, a poetic novella, will be published with Metatron Press in June 2022. Trynne has never seen a ghost, but they’ve been one.
- Joint winner, The List 2023, Toronto Public Library
Excerpt: A House Unsettled (by (author) Trynne Delaney)
It’s the first night in days that I don’t wake up gasping for breath. Instead, it’s Cole’s screaming that wakes me.
Cole is lying flat on her back with her palms up, shrieking with her eyes open wide. I don’t know if she’s awake or not. Her face is blank and open in terror. The covers are twisted around me; I must have stolen them from her in the night. They tie me to myself. In the panic of trying to get out of the knots of the sheets, I’m not able to follow Cole’s gaze. Whatever she’s seeing is still eclipsed for me. If she can see what it is. To me, it looks like darkness. Finally, she takes a hoarse breath, then starts shaking with uncontrollable sobs.
When I get loose, I rub her shoulder softly. I still can’t tell if she’s awake or not. I don’t know if you’re supposed to disturb someone who is stuck between dreaming and waking. My hands are trembling, clammy. I follow her gaze to the exact point on the ceiling where I watch Aggie before I fall asleep.
“Did you see her too?” I ask Cole.