Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Certain Slant of Light (Light, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Certain Slant of Light (Light, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Certain Slant of Light (Light #1)

by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  14,516 ratings  ·  1,607 reviews
In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen--terrified, but intrigued--is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challen
...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published September 21st 2005 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Certain Slant of Light, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Certain Slant of Light

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaNevermore by Kelly CreaghSaving Francesca by Melina MarchettaEverlost by Neal ShustermanJinx by Meg Cabot
Books You Wish More People Knew About
8th out of 11,866 books — 11,466 voters
City of Ashes by Cassandra ClareHush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickCity of Glass by Cassandra ClareClockwork Angel by Cassandra ClareMarked by P.C. Cast
Books That Should Be Made Into Movies
234th out of 18,184 books — 49,001 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Wendy Darling
4.5 stars Wow. Is this really being shelved in young adult fiction? Laura Whitcomb's writing is deliciously wordy, witty, and wonderful, and the story surprisingly complex with many mature themes. The author did a fantastic job of minding the formal speech and thought patterns of Helen's background and contrasting them with the jarring reality of present day, all while ruminating on human existence and forgiveness and the value of a life well-lived. This is an exceptionally intelligent YA book t...more
Emily May

This is a book I've had sitting on my shelf for over a year, I'd heard plenty of good things about it but still remained sceptical* about the whole ghosts + romance thing. Eh, really? Ghosts are somewhere down near zombies on the sexiness scale, could I really become invested in such a relationship? Apparently yes, but these ghosts have found a way around the whole touching predicament (and wasted no time getting back into it) by possessing the bodies of people whose souls have abandoned them.

I...more
Hannah
What a disappointing read this was. After seeing all the high ratings for this (including my own daughter's 4-star rating), I was eagerly anticipating a unique and touching ghost story. Sad to say, nothing in this story touched me in any way, and in fact it's one of the worst books I've read in 2011 so far, filled with ham-fisted stereotypes and unbelievable character actions.

Whitcomb actually had a fairly interesting premise starting out. Helen, a young woman dead for 150 years, makes her way o...more
Morgan F
I started this book the day the world ended. No, not in a literal 2012-tsunami-earthquake kinda way, but in a my-cell-phone-and-laptop-just-so-happened-to-break-on-the-same-day kinda way. And when you are a 17 year old girl, that is really, really bad. So while I was rolling around on the ground suffering from texting withdrawl, a thought occurred to me: Go read a book, you idjit! So I did. And in no time at all, I forgot the outside world existed.

To say I loved this book would be a severe unde...more
Buggy
Opening Line:"Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead."

This is one of the best books that I've read in a long time. And although it's being touted as YA this can absolutely be enjoyed by adults and as one I'll be recommending it to all my friends. It's just a beautiful story of fated romance no matter what your age.

A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT tells the story of a girl named Helen who's been dead for a 130 years. She is now a ghost or "light" as the author calls her existe...more
Tatiana
I don't think I would have read this book if it wasn't recommended to me. I am just not that into ghosts. However this book is so much more than that. It is about love and finding peace and happiness in your (after)life. The motives of forbidden and impossible love and "body snatching" reminded me strongly of certain Stephenie Meyer novels we all know, but SM's books seem to a be pile of mediocrity in comparison to A Certain Slant of Light. The depth of feeling SM failed to achieve in 3000 pages...more
Giselle
Well, if I had one word to describe this book it would be Weird. It is definitely weird and maybe a bit disturbing if you really thing about it. (view spoiler) But this is fiction so I'll take the disturbing and roll with it, and I still quite enjoyed the story.

It's hard to explain what the book is about without getting spoiler-y. So just quickly, it's about a ghost with no recollection of her death who clings to humans to...more
Catie
2 1/2 stars

One of my dearest friends once told me that she does not brush her teeth or do any other hygiene related activities in front of her husband because she wants to “preserve the mystery.” What mystery? That your teeth get dirty when you eat and they need to be cleaned? I like and respect this friend, but it’s little comments like that one which gradually led me to realize that we have completely different views on what is or isn’t romantic. I am more of a “warts and all” romance apprecia...more
Leslie
What a difficult, beautiful and fascinating book! It wasn't riveting or necessarily suspenseful, although it was filled with incredibly unique descriptions from a ghost's point of view, that if I didn't know any better, I would sincerely believe the author actually spent time as one.

Helen is a ghost and for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. Those eyes belong to a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. Helen is terrified and also unnerved by the fact that he can s...more
Jessica
TBR Reduction Challange #4 (Kirsten)

I have never read anything like this before!

I must admit that it took me some time to get used to the whole concept of body snatching and that I could never really shake the feeling that James and Helen were doing something wrong by inhabiting those "empty" bodies but nevertheless, after about 50 pages I was completely hooked. I remember going through a mass of different emotions while reading this. I loved seeing how James and Helen experienced how it is to b...more
rachel
For some reason, I feel as though to be able to review this book, I need to qualify whatever I'm going to say with the fact that I'm not really a romantic person. I believe in the possibility of establishing a human connection with someone after first meeting, and I believe in the possibility of lust at first sight. But I also believe that there is a giant difference between infatuation and lust, and actual love. And yes, to me infatuation and lust are more common but much lesser entities than t...more
Kristy
Ok, I can here you all shouting "We told you so, we told you so!!!" It was awesome, unlike any other book i've ever read. WOW, just WOW!!!!

This is a story of a Spirit, Light as named in the book. The Spirit of Helen, who has shadowed people for over 100 years. Helen who finally meets someone who can see her, James. James who is also a 'spirit', but he has inhabited a person's body, someone who seemed to have no spirit left. Helen is amazed. She finds her 'body'. A girl named Jenny. We follow Hel...more
Heidi
Oh my, this book was good. I only meant to read it during my lunch hour, but I found myself engrossed. Needless to say, I didn't get much work done yesterday.

It's a ghost story, but not a scary one. Helen has been dead for 130 years and remembers only that she was a woman who had been married. She finds herself stuck between earth and hell, knowing that something about how she died is keeping her from heaven. She attaches to "hosts" who don't know she's there but still feel her influence somehow...more
Bonnie
Nov 13, 2012 Bonnie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bonnie by: Wendy Darling
Shelves: fantasy, ghosties, ya, romance
'That I am your heart's secret fills me with song. I wish I could sing of you here in my cage. You are my heart's hidden poem. I reread you, memorize you every moment we're apart.'

This was a real shocker for me that I enjoyed it as much as I did. For one, this has been on and off my TBR shelf several times as I would occasionally decide that this is simply not for me and I have no plans to read it. But go figure a few months later it pops up on my Goodreads timeline, I take another glance and de...more
ivana18
There's so much to say about this book that I fear that my words will not be good enough. A Certain Slant of Light is unconventional in so many ways.

First of all it is labeled as a YA but it is not a YA book.
The main character is 27 year old Helen who died 130 years ago and she's been haunting people ever since. She wants to go to Heaven, wants to cross over, but something mysterious and painfully terrifying is keeping her in between worlds. So in order to keep the pain at bay she clings to peo...more
Penny
Sep 23, 2009 Penny rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to read a
Recommended to Penny by: Reviewer X (blog)
I was told it is a modern ghost story. But really, it is so much more then just a ghost story. Yes, the main character, Helen, is dead. And yes, I will admit Helen haunts people, or rather, attaches herself to certain people. But the people she "haunts" are, for the most part, unaware of her presence. She doesn't go around scaring people. So I want to make it clear, this isn't a spooky ghost story. When all is said and done, this story is about love, self-discovery and forgiveness.

Laura Whitcom...more
Rachel
Jul 15, 2010 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rachel by: Tatiana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat (Le Pauvre Cœur)
Helen had been dead for over 130 years, moving between human 'hosts' who she follows around and lives with. If one dies, she must find another host or be dragging into a dark, frightening hell-like existence underground. She is on her fifth host, an English teacher named Mr. Brown. Up until recently, no one has been able to see or hear her, except a boy in Mr. Brown's class.
The boy's name is Billy, but he tells her his real name is James. He is also dead, and he had found an 'empty' human body t...more
Keertana
A Certain Slant of Light is both a pleasant surprise and...not. On one hand, I am incredibly impressed with Whitcomb's story. It is a paranormal love story, but of a very different nature than most. Helen and James, the couple in question, are ghosts left behind in the Light, having been dead for nearly 130 years. Thus, when they find each other and take over two teenage bodies to be together, their relationship is an adult one - only in a teenage body. Needless to say, this brings up quite a fe...more
Angela
There are a few reasons why I decided to give this novel a 5 star rating. They are as follows:

1. I cried at the end. I cannot say that about many books.
2. It's just different. The story is unique. The characters are as well. Overall, I've never read anything like it.
3. I adore the main character (Helen) and her James.
4. I enjoy Ms. Whitcomb's writing style. It's poetic and lovely to read.
5. I couldn't put this book down. At one point I was reading it while waiting at a red light. Yeah.... Not su...more
Karla

5 Haunting Stars!

It took a few pages before the book grabbed me and then it didn't let go. A very emotional read and so different from anything I've read. To summarize it without giving anything away I would say it was about two souls saving two souls. Loved it!
Maya
This is very close to 4 stars.

I'm a bit shocked that all quotes listed on goodreads from this novel only concern the romance side of the story, because it has much more to offer.

This is the story of two ghosts who have been haunting people and places for decades, alone, without knowing why they were stuck on earth. When they finally meet, they fall in love and try to find their way, to find happiness.

The love story is touching and beautifully told, both characters are very likeable. It just make...more
Beca "oNe-C"
So I have nothing bad to say about this book except that I wish I found out for sure what happened to Mr. Brown, but that does not even matter because I HEARTED this book! I mean I can only guess that things turned out okay for him too with the way things ended. A Certain Slant of Light was just not what I thought it was going to be at all and I was pleasantly surprised by the plot of this story, so full of twist and turns. Just wish the book was longer just to find out if the real Billy and Je...more
Miss Spookyverse [¬º-°]¬
Inhalt
Helen ist ein Geist, ein so genanntes „Licht”. Seit 130 Jahren begleitet sie verschiedene Menschen auf der Erde bis sie eines Tages einem gleichgesinnten Licht namens James begegnet. James hat es geschafft den Körper eines Menschen zu übernehmen, er kann wieder riechen, schmecken und fühlen. Um sich näher sein zu können, suchen die beiden auch einen „Wirtskörper“ für Helen. Als sie diesen in Form des Mädchens Jenny finden, scheint vorerst alles gut zu sein. Allerdings hat Helen nicht bedac...more
Megan
”…When you are Light, it is not the breeze of your rushing past a flower that makes it tremble. Nor it is the brush of your skirts that starts a drape fluttering. When you are Light, it is only your emotions that can send a ripple into the tangible world. A flash of frustration when your host closes a novel he is reading too soon might stir his hair and cause him to check the window for a draft. A sigh of mourning at the beauty of a rose you cannot smell might startle a bee away. Or a silent lau...more
NewMoonGirl (Hazel)
This was an amazing read & brilliantly written. I just loved every part of it and I thought the end was beautifully done. A great romance with a difference!
Arlene
I finished a Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb last night, and I'd just like to say that I loved the story. I did the audio version, which was phenomenal. This reader is wicked good because she made the story come to life. I never thought I'd enjoy a ghost-type story, and I've never read one before for that matter (I don't count The Book Thief since "death" really isn't a ghost), so this book reminded me to never say never. The characters were well developed, and there was so much emotion...more
~Tina~
Mar 24, 2010 ~Tina~ rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to ~Tina~ by: Arlene
This was an absolutely drop dead gorgeous read.

I'm going to sound like a huge gushy sap, but I don't care. I'm still raw and in awe of this breathtaking story.
A Certain Slant of Light is like no book I ever read. It's hard to believe how fast I fell in love with Helen and James and I totally blame the cover for not picking this up sooner. I thought this was a horror novel, but nothing could be further from the truth. This was one of the most beautiful love stories I've ever read.
Truthfully at...more
Laura
Oct 06, 2008 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Li & Colleen, especially Li
Recommended to Laura by: Mom, kind of. I don't think she really liked it.
Where to start. First, this is a bizarre book, conceptually, for what I would call fairly mainstream fiction. It's a ghost story through and through, but the premise that people can leave their bodies and they remain vacant, but still completely functional, and that a "Light" (ghost) can enter the body and take it over, with no memories of the former occupent... Just really strange.

The book could have easily been doubled in length and probably would have been better if the author had done so. Th...more
Joy (joyous reads)
This copy was a little hard to find. I had to order and then wait at least three weeks for Amazon to ship my copy. I've never read a book in this format before. The font used was a little old-fashioned and the paper - a little on the thin side. It almost felt like a Bible (bear with me, there is a point to this rambling). This format was a good complement to Laura Whitcomb's writing.

Her prose was classical that suited well with the ages of our ghosts. Helen had been around for more than a hundr...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The China Garden
  • Seers of Light (Light, #1)
  • Keturah and Lord Death
  • The Dust of 100 Dogs
  • The Pace (The Pace, #1)
  • The Everafter
  • A Crack in the Line (Withern Rise, #1)
  • Tamsin
  • Saltwater Vampires
  • Give Up the Ghost
  • Light Beneath Ferns
  • Ruined (Ruined, #1)
  • Bleeding Violet
  • Kiss of Life (Generation Dead, #2)
  • Skin Hunger (A Resurrection of Magic, #1)
  • Intrinsical (The Yara Silva Trilogy, #1)
  • Preloved
  • Lips Touch: Three Times
87534
Laura Whitcomb grew up in Pasadena, California in a mildly haunted house. She received her English degree at California State University at Northridge in 1993. She has taught Language Arts in California and Hawaii. She has won three Kay Snow Awards and was once runner up in the Bulwer-Lytton writing contest for the best first sentence of the worst Science Fiction novel never written. In her spare...more
More about Laura Whitcomb...
The Fetch Under the Light (Light, #2) Novel Shortcuts: Ten Techniques That Ensure a Great First Draft The Fetch Your First Novel: A Published Author and a Top Agent Share the Keys to Achieving Your Dream

Share This Book

“The library smells like old books — a thousand leather doorways into other worlds. I hear silence, like the mind of God. I feel a presence in the empty chair beside me. The librarian watches me suspiciously. But the library is a sacred place, and I sit with the patron saint of readers. Pulsing goddess light moves through me for one moment like a glimpse of eternity instantly forgotten. She is gone. I smell mold, I hear the clock ticking, I see an empty chair. Ask me now and I'll say this is just a place where you can't play music or eat. She's gone. The library sucks.” 116 likes
“I couldn't take my eyes off him. Like a desert wanderer afraid of mirages, I gazed at my oasis, but he was real.” 82 likes
More quotes…