Two things made this book extra fun. First was the way the stories, each told by the ghost of a different child or teenager, are linked by the structu...moreTwo things made this book extra fun. First was the way the stories, each told by the ghost of a different child or teenager, are linked by the structure. A teen ends up at a graveyard at night, under mysterious circumstances, and ends up hearing the stories of all these ghosts. Each story is distinct, with it's own type of mystery or creepiness, but the stories flow from one to the next in a way that makes sense - Fleming clearly put thought into ordering and structuring her stories to create a sense of build-up.
The other extra fun thing was the fantastic level of historical detail, and the way Fleming combines this with the ghost story element. While some historical settings were familiar, Fleming always did something fresh with them, and the variety of times added to the sense of richness in the collection.
Overall, it's a great blend of light horror, mystery and historical fiction. Recommended to fans of any of these genres.
This is a modern retelling of The Turn of the Screw - although, pathetically, I can't comment on it because I've never read The Turn of the Screw. I h...moreThis is a modern retelling of The Turn of the Screw - although, pathetically, I can't comment on it because I've never read The Turn of the Screw. I have seen a film version from which I remember the gist of the story - enough to recognize the retelling - but that's not enough to comment on what Griffin chose to change, apart from the obvious time period and setting. And I'm assuming James' heroine wasn't popping pills.
On its own merits, it works as a suspenseful, often creepy story, the kind that's an easy sell to teens who've grew up on Mary Downing Hahn and want something edgier but not horror. Jamie isn't exactly a likeable heroine, but I did feel sympathy for her. It's obvious from the start that she's not quite reliable - she's frank about being hooked on pills and feeling depressed. The whole "is she really seeing ghosts and also crazy, or just crazy?" question plays out plausibly, with either option feeling believable.
The pacing is pretty good and it's a fairly quick read, which is refreshing in a world of bloated books. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to teens looking for a suspenseful ghost story.
One irritating detail - the housekeeper's lisp was about to drive me BONKERS. (less)
Here's a nicely creepy blend of a ghost story, a high school outsider story, and a graphic novel. I loved that Anya as a character doesn't feel like s...moreHere's a nicely creepy blend of a ghost story, a high school outsider story, and a graphic novel. I loved that Anya as a character doesn't feel like someone you've already met in a young adult book. Her family came to the US from Russia when she was young, and as she puts it, she "served her time in ESL." She lost the accent but she still feels like an outsider. Things get stirred up when she falls down an old well and meets the ghost of a girl who died there in 1918 - and this ghost is a tricksy character. Emily is lonely and wants out of the well, but she's tied to her bones - a problem she solves when Anya accidentally removes a tiny bone during her rescue. Emily sets out to prove she's useful, but her interfering ends up forcing Anya to take a good hard look at who she is and what she values.
Recommended to any high school readers (or adults) who enjoy stories about outsiders with a side of creepy. The story works wonderfully in the graphic format, with facial expressions and settings quickly adding a lot of information that would otherwise slow a story down. Anya - and Emily - ring true as teenagers (I particularly liked Anya's description of why she doesn't like going to church with Russians). (less)
Although the structure of this book felt very different from that of The Time Traveler's Wife, both books brought out a similar feeling in me - a simu...moreAlthough the structure of this book felt very different from that of The Time Traveler's Wife, both books brought out a similar feeling in me - a simultaneous fascination and eye-roll. Fascination because you want to find out how these characters will react to their circumstances as well as where on earth the story is headed, and an eye-roll because things are a little over the top. Here, the over the top comes from the twin-ishness of the twins and a certain plot point that I never quite bought (but won't spoil). Otherwise, the world of the story is wonderfully described - the apartments and cemetery both feel tangible - and many of the characters are complex and quirky (without being too quirky). It's a good novel to sink into when you're in the mood to suspend your disbelief and go along for the ride, when you want an absorbing story, a hint of the supernatural, and some atmosphere.(less)