Author: Lee Nichols
Published: Bloomsbury, June 8 2010
Cover score: A
Overall Grade: A
When Emma Vaile's parents disappear on a mysterious business trip, everything seems to go downhill from there. Emma's friendless, guardianless, and the scary visions from her childhood are coming back. But when Emma's only friend notifies social services that Emma is on her own, it's her older brother's former best friend, Bennett Stern, who comes to her rescue, whisking her off to Massachusetts to enroll in an old-fashioned prep school. However, Emma's haunting visions are getting worse, and she's constantly having flashbacks to the past. She learns that, like Bennett, she's a ghostkeeper, who can communicate with ghosts. She must come face to face with dark secrets, her past, and the truth behinds her parents' disappearance--but she doesn't know who to trust. And when a series of "otherworldly" murders start popping up, Emma must put her skills to the test.
My thoughts: Wow. Can I just say that I absolutely adored this book? It was intriguing, fast paced, and unique.
I loved the creative concept of ghostkeeping: it's never been done before, and Ms. Nichols clearly put a lot of time and effort into creating Emma's world. It really showed in the writing, which was rich with detail and history and action.
The book was definitely not one to read before bed--it was spooky, creepy, and haunting. I couldn't get it out of my mind! It was definitely a quick read. The mystery, intrigue, and suspense had me madly flipping pages. I really couldn't put it down, and finished it in a day.
The characters themselves were well developed and truly lovable. At the start, I was wary of the vague descriptions of Emma's acquaintances and family, but as the story moved along, they became better developed. Emma was an awesome protagonist. I felt like I could relate to her, and her narration was spot-on. I would've liked to have seen a little more information on Bennett's character, but I guess that's what makes him so mysterious. (:
I'd also like to point out that Bloomsbury has had such a strong slew of wonderfully written paranormal books lately. Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles, Michelle Rowen's Demon Princess...Deception is the icing on the cake. Keep 'em coming, guys!
The sad, cliff-hanger ending made me want more--I can't wait for book two, Betrayal (coming out March 2011)!
Must-read! Check it out Don't Bother