What do you think?
Rate this book
312 pages, Paperback
First published May 6, 2014
#1 Sparrow Hill Road ★★★★★
#2 The Girl in the Green Silk Gown ???
One in three hitchhikers on the North American road died long before anyone offered them a ride, and for the most part, we’re pretty friendly.
O Lord who art probably not in Heaven, deliver me from men who’ve killed me once and would kill me again, if I gave them the chance. O Lady, hallowed be thy name, get me the hell out of here.
And she looked at him, and she said, so sadly that it just about broke his heart, “No. I’ve never killed anyone. I just want to make sure that somebody’s there to see that they make it all the way home.”
I have never wanted to punch a highway in the face as badly as I do right now.
No one works the night shift in a diner for long without learning that the world is bigger, and bleaker, than they ever dreamed.
I’m the phantom prom date, the woman at the diner, the girl in the green silk gown, and the walking girl of Route 42. But most of all, I’m the ghost of Sparrow Hill Road. Rosie Marshall. Just one more girl who raced and lost in the hand of the forest, the shade of the hill, on the hairpin curves of that damned deadly hill.
People call me a lot of things these days. You can call me Rose.
Now come with me.
Rose Marshall grew up in Buckley Township, Michigan, just after the depression. School and life was hard for Rose with her second-hand and patched clothes. The only good thing in her life was her boyfriend Gary Daniels. And on the night of her prom, the year 1952, Rose was the target of a man named Bobby Cross who had sold his soul for immortality and Rose was his next victim, his next payment due when he ran her off the road. And so, Rose Marshall died when she was just sixteen years old, and she’s been running from Bobby Cross ever since.
I’ve been in the dark a lot longer than I was in the light, and while I still regret the way that I died, I’ve given up on trying to fight my way back. All I want to do now is find a way to stop the man who condemned me to this twilight wandering—the one who would have done a lot worse, if I’d given him the chance.
Now Rose travels all over the country, helping travelers either to their unavoidable deaths, making sure they don’t end up lost and in danger once they’re dead, taking them where they need to go, or helping those she can to avoid their deaths. Most see her as a guardian angel and her story has been told so many times in so many different variations. She’s accumulated so many different names: the Girl in the Diner, The Phantom Prom Date, The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. But all Rose wants to do is get revenge on the monster who killed her, who still kills, and who is determined to claim Rose for always.
There are as many kinds of ghost as there are ways to die, but death starts the same way for everyone. One moment we’re alive, and the next, we’re not. It’s that simple. The blink of an eye, the final beat of a broken heart, and everything changes.
Everything changes forever.
I can’t explain in words how hauntingly beautiful Seanan McGuire writes, and how utterly she broke my heart in this book. It was devastating to read about Rose, and the more we got to see of her past before and after her death, the more my heart broke for this young girl who was never allowed to grow old, and who for over sixty years has been surviving in her sixteen year old body. Rose is tough and she’s learned to survive as she is, to find enjoyment in the little things. I loved how hard she fought for the people who were about to die and who she tried to save, and for those she couldn’t save, and who she made sure didn’t die alone.
The plot was so captivating and dark at times, and so interesting with the different type of ghosts, the ghostroads and how they were used to travel, how Rose could only become solid when a living person offered her their coat, and how she could only enjoy and taste food when one of them bought it for her. Then there was the monster Bobby Cross, a truly evil fucker that I just wanted Rose to defeat and wipe off the earth forever. HE NEEDS TO BURN IN HELL FOREVER.
“I went and died on the boy I loved, and that can’t have been good for him.”
Of course being the romance addict that I am, all I kept wondering was what happened to Rose’s boyfriend Gary, and when we finally got our answer near the end, my heart broke completely. Gary the wonderful seventeen year old who didn’t really realise how much he truly loved Rose until she was gone. His love for her was the embodiment of true love, so complete and beautiful.
I cried so much while reading this book, my eyes and heart actually felt bruised. Seanan McGuire always knows just how to completely wreck me with her beautiful writing, and this book was no exception. Her imagination and talent is amazing and if you like horror stories with a side of heartache and a gripping storyline, then this is the book for you. Keep tissues nearby, though. Highly recommended.
Rose Marshall is a "hitcher": a ghost who died in a car accident in 1956 and is forever tied to riding the roads of North America. Legends about "the phantom prom date" in a green dress abound. But Rose doesn't really care about that. She keeps herself busy trying to save drivers destined for accidents, guiding those who can't be saved, keeping clear of the man whose deal with darkness cost Rose her life but made his everlasting, and remembering the boy she loved, the one she never got to dance with at the prom.This is a hard book to describe, because it's a series of short stories rather than a novel, although there is a plot of sorts that joins everything up. That serial nature made it a bit of a slow read for me, as a lot of information in the stories is repetitive, and by the end of the book they all felt a little same-y because of that, even as each story had its own distinct flavor. There was just no through-tension to keep me flipping the pages once I'd finished a story.