Today we look at ghost stories in the Young Adult cannon – secrets, hauntings, and also love from past the grave…


Ruined: A Ghost Story by Paula Morris

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Publisher: allude (Scholastic)Publication Date: august 2009Hardcover: 304 pages

Summary: (from Amazon.com)Rebecca couldn’t feel an ext out of place in brand-new Orleans, wherein she concerns spend the year while she dad is traveling. She’s staying in a creepy old house with she aunt. And also at the snooty prepare school, the filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca favor she’s invisible. Only gorgeous, do not have Anton Grey appears to offer Rebecca the moment of day, but she marvels if he’s acquired a covert agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, secret Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and also to display her the nooks and crannies that the city. There’s simply one catch: Lisette is a ghost.

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A ghost through a deep, dark secret, and a severe score to settle.

As Rebecca learns an ext from she ghost girlfriend — and also as she gradually learns to to trust Anton Grey — she also uncovers startling truths around her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined past repair?

Review:

When Rebecca Brown floor in brand-new Orleans, she realizes that she is a long, long means from her main Park West apartment in brand-new York City. Rebecca and her father space inseparable – after the fatality of her mom when she to be a child, she and also her father room the only household each other has in the wide world. When her dad it s okay a job contract in China for 6 months, he has actually no selection but to send Rebecca off to Louisiana to remain with his great friend Claudia and also her daughter Aurelia, together they room the closest point to family the Browns have. Sixteen-year old Rebecca is no thrilled with being uprooted from her comfortable brand-new York life, having actually to leave her home, friends and also school in the center of the school year, however when she meets her Aunt Claudia and also cousin Aurelia because that the very first time in years, she’s even less enthusiastic around her brand-new home. Claudia functions as a tarot card reader/fortune novelist in the French Quarter, Aurelia is only twelve (though she is a sweet, excited girl)…and then she watch their residence – one overgrown, leaning ancient looking “shotgun” house, complete with voodoo decorations.

When Rebecca starts college at the prestigious, elitist, all-girls holy place Mead Academy, she knows her life has fully gone down the tubes. Complete of rich, snotty debutantes, Rebecca wants nothing to do with the school’s ridiculous society hierarchy. The one amazing thing about her brand-new home, however, is the it is across from the historical Lafayette Cemetery the Aunt Claudia has forbidden Rebecca from also entering. As soon as Rebecca sees few of the temple Mead teen royalty get in the graveyard one night, she decides come follow. And also then she meets a girl in a torn dress called Lisette – who happens to be a ghost. Together Lisette’s sad story unfolds, Rebecca learns the the old aristocratic households of brand-new Orleans space all implicated in an old curse – and now Rebecca is involved.

Ruined is the first book I’ve check out by Ms. Morris, and also it is a beautifully enforcement ghost story v Creole flair. This is a novel whose strongest suggest is its setting and Ms. Morris’s eye because that detail and also atmosphere. Collection in post-Katrina new Orleans, the city seen through Rebecca’s eyes is a gumbo of thick humidity and also crumbling historical buildings, the splendor of glowing parades and debutante balls collection against an era the rebuilding. Brand-new Orleans, especially the Garden District where Claudia, Aurelia and Rebecca live comes to life in Ruined, evoking pictures of manicured mansions juxtaposed beside overgrown cemeteries and an ext run-down buildings. Ms. Morris’s ability for explanation is solid in Ruined, and reading this book I felt immersed in brand-new Orleans – native the dusty, oddball clutter the Claudia’s ramshackle residence to the vivid sounds and smells of the French Quarter.

The world Rebecca enters is a much cry native her sophisticated city girl life – temple Mead Academy is as rooted in blue-blood together elitist colleges come, where the people revolves about whose dad is in i m sorry exclusive krewe and also whose debutante debut luncheon is set for the next weekend. Among my favourite conversations comes in between Rebecca and her younger cousin Aurelia, together the younger girl explains the power structure of the school:

“She’s simply a Pleb.”

“A what?”

“A Pleb. Short for pleb-ee-an. Us learned around them in Latin <…> we say Pleb because it rhymes through Deb, and also everyone is pretty much either a Pleb or a Deb.”

“What room you talking about?” Rebecca was confused.

Temple Mead is separation into a hierarchy of Plebs (commoners, wannabes), Debs (wannabe Patricians, higher than Plebs), and also Patricians (Temple Mead elite). It’s favor the standard social power structure of high school, taken to the extreme based upon a family’s historical standing and considerable wealth.

But past the excellent setting of the novel, Ruined is an old fashioned ghost story in ~ its heart. Lisette, a beautiful sixteen-year old girl in life i do not care a girlfriend to Rebecca, and also gradually share her own tragic story through the human being girl. Rebecca, in turn, i do not care a good friend to Lisette, picking to invest time v the ghost that no one else deserve to see. I think it is in the relationship in between these two characters, be separated by the thin veil of reality and from two different people that is the most appealing part of Ruined. The other personalities are sufficiently well-drawn, but my heart was through Lisette and Rebecca instead of the somewhat lackluster requisite love story through the attraction in between Rebecca and blue-blood Anton. One more thing this novel does fine is produce an setting of menace v the “villain” characters – perhaps it’s no the many original story through old families protecting each others’ dirty secrets, yet it’s an effective one.

The plot of the book drags a little in the early chapters, however works up to a frenzied finale – complete with Mardi Gras beads, costumes, and also murder. Ns highly appreciated Ruined and certainly introduce it. I’ll certainly be checking earlier for much more from this talented author.

Rating: 7 really Good

A particular Slant the Light by Laura Whitcomb

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Publisher: GraphiaPublication Date: September 2005Paperback: 288 pages

Summary: (from Amazon.com)In the course of the high college English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes room looking in ~ her. Lock belong come a boy, a young who has not seemed exceptional until now. And Helen—terrified, however intrigued—is attracted to him. The truth that he is in a body and also she is not presents this unlikely pair with their an initial challenge. However as the lovers struggle to discover a method to it is in together, they start to uncover the secrets of their former lives and also of the young civilization they concerned possess.

Review:

A particular Slant of Light is a publication I’ve had on my TBR for a very long time. It’s a book that I’ve seen sitting there and dusted off to read only to put it earlier on the shelf. Later, I’d call myself. The time’s not right. What deserve to I say? I’m superstitious about these sorts of things. But, once I realized that both Ana and also I had actually a couple of ghost-themed titles to read, that was finally time come really give this book a read.

This is a different type of ghost story, as the protagonist is herself a ghost and the one doing the haunting. Helen, as she was recognized in life, is Light. She deserve to only remain totally free of she cold, watery an individual hell through cleaving it s her to a host, and also over the close to 200 years because her death, she’s clung to her different saviors, passing native one literary works lover to the next (the location of the novel, you may recognize, originates from one of her hosts). Her current host, Mr. Brown, is a young high institution english teacher through a enthusiasm for books and also for writing, and also Helen is content through being beside him and sharing in his life. The is, until one day once she’s in class with him and one that his students looks at her. The sees her. Helen cannot think it, because that as long as she has remained in her ghostly state she has never been viewed by a human, nor has she ever seen one of her own kind. The seventeen-year old boy, Benny, has remained in the class for the entirety year and has never ever been maybe to see her until that fateful job – and also he looks for out Helen, to talk to she to tell his story. Helen learns the the boy she sees, is no Benny at all, but a kindred spirit named James. James speak Helen that Benny recently had overdosed on drugs in the surrounding park that James provided to haunt. When Benny’s soul left, James watched in fear as other dark and also evil endangered to take over the empty body, and also he acted conveniently by throwing himself into Benny’s unconscious flesh. And also since then, James has seen various other ghosts but no one that has actually known they were dead – the is, no one like Helen.

The 2 are attracted together, together the just two of your kind. They autumn in love, they attach as 2 souls, and also when Helen has the possibility to accounting an empty body of she own, she seizes it. However gradually they realize the their steal flesh cannot critical forever, and also they inquiry their purpose and also their future as they learn much more about the bodies they have actually possessed.

A specific Slant of Light had actually me from the opened sentence. Composed in perfect prose telling Mary’s story in the 3rd person, Ms. Whitcomb creates a haunting, heart-wrenching tale around life after death, about love, fear, and also redemption. Unlike various other Young Adult novels that are so much into obsessive teenager love, the instant attraction and also the desperate method that James and also Helen cling come each other in A details Slant of Light in reality resonates true and works. Both characters are shed souls who have been achingly alone ~ their very own tragic deaths because that many, plenty of years – so as soon as they find each various other it important is prefer the proverbial life preserver in a churning ocean, or the oasis in the shimmering heat of a desert. James and also Helen uncover each other in the realm past their mortal lives and are provided a 2nd chance, fleeting together it may be, in borrowed bodies the only show up young. The method that they struggle with their very own deeply buried an individual devils and also find salvation with each various other is what makes their love story so poignant. Both characters are distinct, and also Ms. Whitcomb go a flawless job in making Helen and James believably old (Helen from a time before the auto was invented, and also James indigenous just before the end of WWI), as they to be in your twenties once they died and do naturally not think or speak like current teens, yet she additionally gives them an innocence when they are went back to the body of teenagers, struggling to fit into their steal lives.

And therein lies the rub – because though the souls have fled the two teenage body both Helen and James possess, there is no denying that these 2 creatures that Light have stolen their lives. This is a topic the both Helen and James must face – the very first of many thought-provoking inquiries that Ms. Whitcomb raises in this book.

A details Slant that Light is a spiritual book. And by that i don’t mean it’s “religious” – due to the fact that it’s not really. I admit that I song out when publications start talking around God (capital G), His will, etc in the Christian biblical sense – commonly this is since I obtain the emotion of being taught to, and also that does no sit well with me. But A specific Slant of Light manages to walk the line between being spiritual and being religious, never ever preachy or moralizing. The blog post of the novel isn’t one of biblical salvation – in fact, the body that Helen own is the kid of two overly-strict, zealous religious parents who have actually driven your daughter’s soul from she body by their inability come accept any kind of differences. Rather, this novel manages to convey a bittersweet story the redemption and love, and also being able to pardon oneself. And also that, dear readers, is a hell of one accomplishment.

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Another noteworthy read because that 2009, and also Ms. Whitcomb has now become an auto-buy for me. For sure recommended.