Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse

“Now, if three girls enter a house and only two leave, who is to blame? And if both girls tell a different story, but you read online that you have to BELIEVE WOMEN, what do you do? Do you decide one is woman and one isn’t, so you can believe one of them but not the other? Do you take the side of the woman who is most like you? Or the most intersectional one?” (Rumfitt 144).


Three years ago, three girls spent a night in a haunted house. Only two came back. Alice jumps from flat to flat, selling videos of herself online and going to parties when she would much rather stay in her room and sleep, hoping to avoid the man from the poster who haunts her and unable to shake her memories from the House. Ila has become a voice for the TERFs as the House calls her to come home. And Hannah disappeared. The memories of that night haunt and torment Alice and Ila, each with a different recollection of the trauma they endured, and when Ila proposes they go back to the House and try to rescue Alice, Alice agrees. They need to learn what happened that night, despite the risks.

I’ve wanted to read Tell Me I’m Worthless for years so when I happened upon an ARC at OLA I felt like the luckiest person in the world, a rarity for me. Even more lucky, this book was amazing and I have to say it again: Trans horror hits different!

Rumfitt has created a complicated horror story here. Both protagonists have their privileges and oppressions: Alice is white, rich, and trans while Ila is Asian, cis (?), lesbian, and a TERF (Rumfitt 144), each is sympathetic and unlikable in their own ways, and each have a similar trauma after spending that night in the House: that each was raped by the other which leaves readers wondering who to believe and what their choice in victim and perpetrator says about their own inward bias’. Rumfitt gives us a look into each of our survivors heads, Alice’s perspective is told in first person while Ila’s is in third, we see how the horror and trauma of their night in the House has affected their mental states, themselves, and their relationships with others. We also get a perspective from their friend who didn’t make it out of the House, Hannah, who was white, cis, and straight and see Alice and Ila prejudice’s around her Black boyfriend. And then we get to see what the House thinks, Albion, a perfect metaphor for white supremacy and a look at how fascism and terror spread. It’s a brilliant novel, dark and difficult to read at times for how dark it’s subject matter is, but amazingly written all the same

I think the pandemic offered the perfect breeding ground for haunted house novels and I’m happy to see the first of those emerging from Rumfitt. She offers an homage to Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, and a slew of other famous literary haunted houses. It feels claustrophobic at times which is how a haunted house book should make it’s reader’s feel.

I will say that I would have liked a little bit more from the House’s perspective. The House’s chapters were so evil, so eerie and disturbing. I understand why Rumfitt chose to focus more of Alice and Ila’s trauma from the house, it’s the heart of the story, but the House’s chapters were just so intriguing and atmospheric. I would have liked just a few more of those.

Tell Me I’m Worthless was well worth the wait to read. At times sickening, disturbing, and imprisoning, Rumfitt is an excellent horror writer and I can’t wait to see what more she has in store!

60784414Publication: October 28 2021
Publisher: Tor Nightfire
Pages: 263 pages (Paperback)
Source: ARC/OLA
Genre: Fiction, Horror, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤

Three years ago, Alice spent one night in an abandoned house with her friends, Ila and Hannah. Since then, Alice’s life has spiraled. She lives a haunted existence, selling videos of herself for money, going to parties she hates, drinking herself to sleep.
Memories of that night torment Alice, but when Ila asks her to return to the House, to go past the KEEP OUT sign and over the sick earth where teenagers dare each other to venture, Alice knows she must go.
Together, Alice and Ila must face the horrors that happened there, must pull themselves apart from the inside out, put their differences aside, and try to rescue Hannah, whom the House has chosen to make its own.

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