Author: Kim Harrington
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 295 (ARC)
Source: Publisher For Review
A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.
Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.
Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?
I went into this book expecting an awesome haunted house tale and instead I am disappointed to admit that all I got was a generic ghost tale that wasn't that well executed. I requested this from the publisher due to my excitement from the synopsis, but the synopsis is ten times more exciting than the actual book.
My biggest problem with the book was the writing. It was very simplistic and choppy. I was reading a middle-grade book as I read this one, and I felt like this one is better marketed as a middle-grade because the writing style was so uncomplicated. There wasn't much detail and I didn't connect to the characters at all because of this.
Our main character was dry and our ghost was a narcissistic and inconsiderate in both life and death. Originally, I thought the usage of her journal entries at the end of every chapter to help unravel the mystery was cool, but as I realized that she referred to people in a numerical code because she cared so little to use their names, I was disgusted. Sure, it was easy to put a face to a number, but it wasn't right. She's referred to as a huge bully, but she simply believes that she can do whatever she wants. The only character I liked at all was Donovan, but hey, it's hard not to love the broken soul that has to slowly get pieced back together.
Another qualm of mine was the cliches when it evolved around Jade's family. Jade's Dad remarried after her mother passed due to cancer and then they had a little baby boy that is now the family golden child. The step-mom really cares about the child, but never listens to Jade, threatens her often, and is your typical "evil" step-mother. The Father is absent most of the time on business, so this puts very little importance on the family in the book because they're rarely ever around. This cliche is like a recipe for a disaster for books. Marie, the stepmother, had so many character flaws that enraged me. As a parent, you are there for your children and you listen to their concerns as ludicrous as they seem. You don't go and suddenly hate your child because she doesn't want to call you Mom since her real mother happened to pass away. You're a nurse, Marie! Ever think that perhaps having a second Mom literally within a few short years of her real Mom's death is too much for her to handle psychologically? You're demanding and inconsiderate and I really, truly hate parents that are portrayed this way.
For a murder mystery, I didn't see any clues to the real killer either. They pretty much revealed themselves before I had any clue who it was. I wish there was more foreshadowing pointing to the proper murderer instead of a potential decoy that was entirely accidental on the murderer's part. I liked Jade's original hunch about the murderer more than the actual murderer. I understand the motive, but it's not as awesome as I would have enjoyed. When the murder mystery that makes up a murder mystery novel falls flat, you know there's something wrong.
I really have nothing else to say about this one. I managed to get through it due to curiosity, but it was an overall let-down. I don't think this review can possibly put my thoughts into words properly. I'd recommend checking out my trusted friend Krista's review here because hers portrays our similar thoughts beautifully.