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The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen

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It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.

As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose-petal lips and her entrancing glow. There’s just something about her that he can’t put his finger on, something faraway and otherworldly that compels him to fall even deeper. Annie’s from the city, and yet she seems just as out of place as Wes feels. Lost in the chaos of the busy city streets, she’s been searching for something—a missing ring. And now Annie is running out of time and needs Wes’s help. As they search together, Annie and Wes uncover secrets lurking around every corner, secrets that will reveal the truth of Annie’s dark past.

379 pages, Hardcover

First published September 15, 2015

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About the author

Katherine Howe

25 books2,262 followers
Katherine Howe is a #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer of historical fiction and nonfiction. Her best known books are The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, which debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2009 and was named one of USA Today's top ten books of the year, and Conversion, which received the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award in young adult literature. In 2014 she edited The Penguin Book of Witches for Penguin Classics, a primary source reader on the history of witchcraft in England and North America. She co-authored the #1 bestselling Vanderbilt: the Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty with CNN's Anderson Cooper, which came out in September 2021. Their next collaboration, Astor: the Rise and Fall of an American Fortune will release September 19, 2023. And her next novel, A True Account: Hannah Masury's Sojourn Amongst the Pyrates, Written by Herself will be out November 21. 2023. She holds a BA in art history and philosophy from Columbia and an MA in American and New England studies from Boston University, A native Houstonian, she lives in New England with her family. She also puts hot sauce on everything.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 356 reviews
Profile Image for Katherine Howe.
Author 25 books2,262 followers
June 25, 2015
Definitely the best ghost novel I have ever written.

Also the only ghost novel I've ever written.

So there's that.
Profile Image for Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe).
557 reviews464 followers
December 14, 2015


From the moment I picked up The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen I knew I was going to have a difficult time putting it down. Howe's writing alone was wonderful as she wove a story of heartbreak, love, and tragedy in a haunting ghost story.

Wes is starting his summer term at NYU and when he finds himself roped in to help a fellow friend film a séance, he meets a mysterious girl that he later learns is named Annie. But Annie is not like anyone he has ever met before, there is something different about her dark eyes, the outdated dress and her lingo. Why is she so hard to find?

The story was good. I really enjoyed it. This was more of an older YA novel as Wes himself is 19 years old and in college. He is a film student who finds himself fascinated with Annie and another girl in the book named Maddie. Maddie is a Goth girl he meets at the séance, who is also a squatter with an interesting past and becomes Wes' love interest. Throughout this book felt like it had a love triangle in it, once you get to know Annie, you kind of realize it really isn't.

Annie's tragic past is just that, it's tragic. It's an unfortunate mistake that was meant to be for the greater good but ended up costing. I liked how this story was told from both Wes' and Annie's side of the story because not only do we get to see what Wes sees and how he experiences the phenomena that's Annie, but we also get to see what Annie is experienced through her journey as well. I loved when all the pieces clicked together and painted the vivid picture of what was happening. Haunting and mysteries, the story was well done. If you are looking for something super scary, this is not, but if you love a ghost story, this might be right up your alley.

Thought I liked the characters and the bits of different mysteries about Annie's life and what had happened to cause everything to go wrong. I found myself not connecting with the romance part of the book. I didn't feel it, that doesn't mean I didn't like it, It just honestly the story could have done without it. I didn't understand the attraction of Maddie either. Thought a sweet girl, there really wasn't any spark between her and Wes, no tension, nothing.

I liked the mystery, thought it was simple and the big reveal that happens about Annie's family feels like something that was recently done in a book I just read, so it was a bit of eye rolling, but I liked how Howe weaved history into this story.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I really liked Annie. I liked the interesting take on ghosts by Howe and the writing was great.

"Go away!" I shout at the fog.
Still it inches ever closer.
"Go away, I don't want you! I want to stay here!" I shout.
A tendril of fog gently touches my toe, and I kick at it. The fog spreads and dissolves, but then re-forms itself and moves softly, smoothly over the top of my ft, sending a delicate finger up the hem of my dress

What about you? What ghost stories do you enjoy? Or which wicked read are you looking forward to this Halloween?

Penguins Teen is also holding #TwitterGhostStory, the week-long event (taking place 10/26-10/31) in which you can write a spooky story in 140 characters or less using #TwitterGhostStory to  enter for the chance to win a prize pack of the featured titles. They also have two more Twitter chats taking place this Friday and next Friday at 4pm that are being hosted by @YAbookscentral and @mashreads, respectively. The authors participating are:


Peter Kujawinski (twitter.com/kujawinski) author of Nightfall
Jake Halpern (https://twitter.com/JakeHalpern) author of Nightfall
Kim Liggett (twitter.com/kim_liggett) author of Blood and Salt
April Genevieve Tucholke (https://twitter.com/apriltucholke) author of Slasher Girls & Monster Boys



Danielle Vega (twitter.com/dvegabooks) author of The Merciless and Survive the Night
Peter Kujawinski (twitter.com/kujawinski) author of Nightfall
Kim Liggett (twitter.com/kim_liggett) author of Blood and Salt
April Genevieve Tucholke (https://twitter.com/apriltucholke) author of Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
Carol Goodman (https://twitter.com/C_Goodmania) author of Blythewood series
Sally Green (https://twitter.com/Sa11eGreen) author of the Half Bad series

Other Wicked Reads Picks for Halloween

23346358 17572846 19364719 23846037 23845997This review was originally posted on Night Owl Book Café

Profile Image for Sheila.
953 reviews85 followers
May 19, 2016
3 stars ("I liked the book").

This is a ghost story that never uses the word "ghost." It's also a love song to New York--both its past, its present, and its image through various movies. It was a real page-turner for me, and I read it quickly.

Wes and his friends were painted clearly, I thought, and felt authentic. Even if I didn't necessarily like Wes (too much of a "good guy"; he even calls his ex a bitch), he felt like a real, breathing person. I mention this because I think this is an improvement over the last Howe novel I read.

However, Annie herself seemed less "real" to me (and not just because she's a ghost. HEH). I thought neither her actions nor her dialogue were historically accurate--I felt this book might have been less jarring if she'd been from the 1920s or some much later period. She's painted as not just impulsive, but almost imbalanced, and she doesn't seem bothered by the fact that (it's assumed at least)

But I'm quibbling over a book that I essentially liked. I especially enjoyed Maddy and the descriptions of movie making.
Profile Image for Magdalena.
181 reviews168 followers
September 15, 2017
I wanted to love that book, I really did. Ghost story, mystery, romance. All the things that I normally find interesting. And I read a couple of other books by Katherine Howe and I really enjoyed them. But somehow The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen just didn't quite hit the spot for me. Don't get me wrong, it is well written, it's got interesting characters but the actual story just doesn't deliver. It becomes obvious fairly quickly who Annie is and what had happened and from that point on the book dragged a bit for me. Overall, a book with a great premise that just fails to fully deliver
Profile Image for MaryannC. Fiendish Book freak.
487 reviews108 followers
December 1, 2015
Had to pick this one despite the fact that I have a ton of other books to finish up, the premise of this just had me intrigued. For me the beginning of the book was a bit slow concentrating on the character of Wes and his summer school project that ends up leading him to a beautiful girl named Annie Van Sinderen. Just as she seemed to appear from nowhere she also seems to disappear to nowhere. A girl full of mystery and oddness that Wes needs to find out about, the more he tries to learn the odder it gets. As I read this sometimes the time-travel Annie goes through felt like it could have been someone's bad drug trip. It grew more interesting as I went along and I had to find out more about Annie and Wes' burgeoning feelings for one another.
Profile Image for Tika .
149 reviews119 followers
September 13, 2015
Click here to read full review: fANGIRLconfessions - The Appearance Of Annie Van Sinderen Review

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

You know what pains me the most about doing non-spoiler reviews? The fact that I can't fully describe how I felt about a story.

Here's my problem. The Appearance Of Annie Van Sinderen was such a spectacular read, that I want to yell to the skies above about every moment, every emotion, every DETAIL, of what I experienced. Buttttttt since I want my readers to go in with an open mind, (open mouth sounded way too pervy lol) I'll try to refrain from spilling too many beans . . .


The Appearance of Annie is one of those stories that completely flew over my head for the first 200 or so pages. I was so engrossed by the mysterious creepiness of the writing and characters, that I never bothered to stop and think, " why exactly is all of this even HAPPENING? " Every couple or so pages, I'm literally saying aloud, " WHAT IS GOING ON? " because I was so freaking lost, but in the best damn way. It reminded me of the time my step-sister and I were lost in New York. We didn't panic, or even care to be honest, because we were so in AWE of our surroundings, so swept up into the energy of the city, and if any experience could be compared to reading this book, this would definitely be it . . .
Profile Image for Maria.
622 reviews102 followers
October 7, 2015
I am in love with this book. It might have to do with my passion for film. It might have to do with the fact that I wrote to NYU back in the day and asked what I needed to study film there. It might also have something to do with the fact that Wes' Most reminded me of a documentary that I filmed on my last year of my BA. It might have been for one of those reasons, or all, or none in particular, but I fell in love with this book. There's magic in it, a soul, and the words convey it in such a beautiful way...

I laughed out loud, I got goose bumps and my heart hurt for Annie and her quest. It was quite an epic rollercoaster. A ghost novel that never mentions the word ghost. Why? I would go back to Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut for a theory - "All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist." As do the people who have lived in those moments, I believe.

I truly enjoyed how this book was put together. It felt... romantic, but not in the sense of two people falling in love. I am talking about the romance that comes from history, you know? It felt... immense. My favorite part was when they discussed memory and how it always remains true, even when it changes. Time carries on and every walk down memory lane is taken in different shoes that then mutate the path at every step, changing it forever. Oh, and the love for film... it's beyond contagious. I must confess I was rather afraid of how Annie's and Wes' storylines would intertwine. I was afraid it would affect everything by creating a permanent awkwardness... but I needed not to worry.

Katherine Howe wrote what is, in my opinion, a rather fantastic novel about seeing. Not just looking, but seeing. A seeing connected to all the other senses that then take part in the constant creation and recreation of our memory, of ourselves. Oh, and Katherine Howe didn't just write it, she wrote it beautifully. I honestly cannot wait for her next novel.

P.S. This book should come with some pizza vouchers. I could honestly smell the melting cheese...
September 14, 2015
Wes, an aspiring filmmaker, is spending his summer at NYU studying film. While on assignment with his roommate, he comes across a strange girl when filming. He can't stop thinking about her. When he tracks her down after the fact, he comes to find that her name is Annie and she lives in the city as well, but she's not your usual city girl. In fact, she is really different. Her hair is different, her clothes are different, her slang is different, you get the idea. As Wes spends more time with her, he learns that she's a ghost (but Wes never actually uses the word ghost!) and Annie needs his help. Why is she stuck here? Why can only Wes see her? Who really is Annie? The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Catherine Howe is an eerie and haunting ghost story perfect for the fall season.

Read the rest of my review here:
Profile Image for Jenny.
921 reviews180 followers
October 31, 2015
I read and loved Katherine Howe's book, Conversion, and I liked this one just as much! This one wasn't quite as creepy, but there were moments I definitely had goosebumps! The mystery in this one was really fun, too.
Profile Image for Holly’s Mom.
271 reviews245 followers
September 19, 2015
It was just very anticlimactic. I was very interested at first, but then it started to grow boring. It never really went anywhere and didn't seem to have much of a point. Wes' behavior made no sense, and Annie's behavior made no sense, and I'm not going to get into the implied reasoning behind their "love" for each other, which I guess was meant to make the two of them likable...which it didn't. Wes is a bit boring for me, and I liked Annie at first, but then I just didn't know what the heck she was doing/why she was doing it. She and Wes have no chemistry. And guys don't *always* have to slap each other on the back in a "manly" way while hugging. Be the exception. Be different.

I read all of this long book and still have no idea who Wes is. What is up with him? I'm not sure I much care about the answer. Also, I got tired of reading "a young male voice" from both Annie and Wes' POVs.

Wes, toward the end of the book...is a mess. One moment he's all distraught and heartbroken, the next he's totally fine and moving on with his life as normal. He and as a couple makes no sense, and I guess I'm supposed to believe in their love for each other because of the aforementioned "implication" that is never outright stated, but I guess we're meant to assume it, and it's supposed to be subtle and mysterious but it's just annoying. Like how I'm writing this review. I'm saying things in a roundabout way that people will probably assume means one thing, but since I'm not actually saying anything, I'm probably REALLY annoying them too. Wes is just really hot and cold, and why the heck ...
Profile Image for Albert.
1,426 reviews32 followers
May 8, 2017
The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe is high on promise, but stumbles when it comes to delivery. I grant that this is a ghost story and my criteria for the genre is very high. For tension and general creepiness I leaned toward the The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and for terror and horror there is no equal to Ghost Story by Peter Straub. So with these two as my guide, the pace and telling of The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen comes about as a strong premise with weak execution.

While helping out a classmate, aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman is shooting a film during a seance in the East Village in New York. Here through the lense he spots a beautiful girl dressed in a turn of the century dress. He is immediately drawn to this beautiful young woman, but when he tries to speak with her later on, she disappears. When Wes finds her again, she is strange and distracted. As he spends more time with her he begins to notice different aspects about her character, the most alarming is that it seems that he is one of the few people that can actually see her. Her name is Annie and she has been dead for over a hundred years.

Annie van Sinderen is caught in a loop. From her time to the present. She continually flips back and forth. In her time the Erie canal is just being created and her father is prominent in its execution. But she also learns that there are forces that do not want this canal made. Anarchists who threaten her father and her family with death. But what has Annie flipping back and forth is a ring, given to her by her paramour, who happens to be one of the Anarchists who wants to kill her family. Wes quickly falls for Annie and is determined to help her find the ring, though he doesn't understand its meaning.

What is incredible and hard to understand about this tale is that the whole point of Annie's foray into the future is to find the ring, but as time passes its importance just doesn't make sense. She comes back for a ring, from a boyfriend she is in love with, but has no issue sleeping with Wes and falling for him. As much as she can sleep with him. Then there is the whole point of the death of her family, which for her grand ideals of social reformation, she not only seems to accept but plays a hand in. Her parents are greedy and rich and therefore deserve to burn to death on a barge. So do her little sister and little brother because they are rich and spoiled and annoying. Not like her boyfriend who works hard for his meager wages.

Then there is Wes, a horribly geeky kind of guy who stumbles his way through speaking with the opposite sex, whether they be dead or alive. But now finds himself with the attention of two women, girls actually, who find him irresistible and by the way, they happen to be related to one another. Granted one is dead and the other is alive and they are separated by over a hundred years, but hey, a date is a date.

There are supporting cast, but you could have cut them out of any other book and pasted them in. Socialite mother who only cares about her riches and standing. Business minded father who only cares about money. Best friend and roommate who works in upscale boutique and knows all about dressing girls because, you know, he's gay.

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen is a good premise but poorly executed in storytelling and character development. The moral of this tale is pretty simple, if you make money and are rich you are evil and need to die. You and your whole family and the person who should have a hand in killing you is your own child. Because there is a hunky hard working boyfriend or a geeky filmmaker in the future and well, because you're rich.

I have read several of Katherine Howe's books and each one has digressed in story and plot and perhaps...this is simply where I need to cut the cord.

Profile Image for Olivia (Stories For Coffee).
594 reviews5,606 followers
October 28, 2015
I expected this story to be full of horror scenes from the cryptic summary the book had, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this story wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I found the story’s mystery to be incredibly interesting and it wasn’t confusing at all like other mystery novels are. It was well paced and unfolded in a way that wasn’t predictable to me. I especially loved the dual POVs that showed the reader all angles of Wes and Annie’s story that eventually wove together to create this mystical story that I would highly recommend.

One of my favorite aspects of the story was Wes’ POV which was humorous thanks to his awkward and unsure behavior around Annie. Reading his internal monologue added a comic relief to the dark story. He was such a fun character to read about when he was interacting with others because of his sarcasm and descriptions of the city that brought the setting to life. I didn’t enjoy Annie’s POV as much as Wes’ because it was a bit drier and not as open to the reader as Wes was. At points I found certain descriptions of her sections of the story to be a bit bland, but that was the only portion of the story that I didn’t fully enjoy. Other than that, I also really liked Annie’s character that was a bit naive and sweet.

The descriptions of the city were accurate and lovely to read about (which I really appreciated since I live minutes from NYC). I also enjoyed reading about all the supporting characters in this story that all provided help to Wes and Annie during their journey to find what Annie needed most. This book began and ended smoothly without any rushed scenes or plot holes. I did wish that the ending chapters were fleshed out a bit more to describe how Wes felt once the mystery was solved. But it did not ruin the book in anyway. This is a great Halloween/autumnal book to read that I would recommend to everyone considering it isn’t that horrifying to read.
39 reviews1 follower
November 25, 2015
I have to say, starting out, this book wasn't flipping any of my switches. But suddenly--BAMM! It subtly changed, and I fell in love. I found the premise that ghosts can come back for a limited time to fix their mistakes to be very heartwarming. I loved the growing triangle between Annie, Wes & Maddie. Their interactions were very real and so were their characters. in essence, while the story line starts off being about Annie figuring out what is happening to her and why, it also is about the age old battle of young adults struggling to make a life of their own away from parents, it's also about being the change you want to see in the world. I didn't find this book scary at all, I loved the rolling pace to find out Annie's mystery along with Wes's journey to grab his dream. It truly is a great read, and I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Sandra.
622 reviews94 followers
April 23, 2020
3.5 stars

This is rather unusual take on a ghost story, so I wasn't sure how to rate this. Over all I enjoyed this though. Also I love this cover.
Profile Image for Ricki Treleaven.
479 reviews12 followers
August 1, 2017
Happy Literary Friday! I read the best YA book this week: The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe. But before I go any further, I must disclose that Howe is one of my favorite writers, and The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is one of my all-time favorite books. You can read my review of The House of Velvet and Glass here on Goodreads or on my blog.

I don't know how Katherine Howe managed to combine these genres: historical fiction, romance, paranormal, and contemporary urban fantasy so seamlessly, but she did. The Apperance of Annie Van Sinderen is definitely a ghost story, but the word "ghost" is never once mentioned in the book.

Wes Aukerman is a midwestern college student attending NYU's summer school film workshop. If he produces a superlative documentary over the summer it could be his ticket for admission into NYU's prestigious Tisch School of the Fine Arts. While helping one of his friends in the workshop film a séance in the East Village, Wes meets a beautiful girl named Annie. They form a friendship, but she tends to ditch Tyler at the most inopportune moments. In spite of her flighty disposition, Tyler agrees to help Annie find her missing cameo ring.

Annie is a lost ball in high weeds. She calls herself a "Rip Van Winkle" because she thinks she's fallen asleep and awakened years later. Only a few people in New York City seem to acknowledge her existence: Wes, his roommate Eastlin, his filmmaker fiend, Tyler, and Maddie, a girl Wes has dated a couple of times. Annie keeps slipping in and out of time, reliving a specific week in her life one moment only to be thrown into twenty-first century NYC the next. Annie isn't sure about much these days, but she is certain she must find her missing cameo ring her boyfriend gave her, and she also suspects that her time is limited.

There is so much to love about this book, but I'll only share a few examples with you. The book is divided into three sections: Annie, Wes, and Wes and Annie. In the third section, Howe's head hopping (changing points of view between Annie and Wes) is perfectly written. I hate reading romances where this is done poorly. Not only are Wes's and Annie's characters well-developed, but so are their friends' characters. New York City is a star in this book. Howe magically depicts her change and growth over the centuries. Truly, it's incredible. I can only imagine the amount of research it must have taken to describe early nineteenth-century New York. I also enjoyed the pace of the plot and the sense of urgency as Annie's week progresses. Oh! Also, there is a VERY SPECIAL cameo appearance at the end of the book that had me giggling out loud.

The ending isn't quite what I thought it would be. I thought that because it was {partly} a romance that the ending would be a bit more tidy, but I have several unanswered questions even after having read the epilogue numerous times. But memory and history are tricky things, are they not?

I recommend this book to all older teens and adults. It is a fantastic ghost story just in time for Halloween!
Profile Image for Bree Hill.
792 reviews571 followers
November 2, 2015
This is the first book I have read by Katherine Howe. As a history lover I have really wanted to venture into historical fiction and constantly see her name when looking up authors to check out.

After reading this book I have already purchased another by her physically and have one on standby on my Kindle, The Penguin Book of Witches.

I really enjoyed the cast of characters in this story and their diversity. I mean you can't help but appreciate the diversity in this story and how at the end they all come together in the end. There was no drama in this story between characters and honestly their Could have been. The author puts a situation into the story where it's like okay here comes the drama and then *insert twist* and Poof there's no drama then *insert even bigger twist* and Poof still none! Things just work themselves out in this story which I appreciated because it's like come on, there are bigger things the cast of characters need to focus on rather than where the story could have lead.

I love the atmosphere in this story--New York City dealing with 20 somethings. Our main character Wes is such a good guy, comes from the Midwest and is possibly only in the city temporarily unless things go a certain way. At times he doesn't stick up for himself where he should have, at times he really does seem like a push over and we start to see him beat himself over what he should've said or done. I appreciated seeing his character development the most.

We know what Annie is, I mean eventually we do. Another reason I like this story is because 'what' she is, is never said. Just like my love for horror films where the 'what' is never seen but still creeps you the hell out, same with this story. The word is never seen. We see the world as she does in some moments and it a complete whirl wind and confusing at times because that's how it is for her.

Annie came into this story on a mission and although it leads you to believe okay maybe this is what's going to happen, she sticks with her mission. I love how she remains true to her truest love and how regardless of where and when it still remains and is what she will go looking for.

Lastly, when it comes to Annie, she learns of a terrible secret involving her own family and she stands up for what is right and fights to go back and make sure people know what her family is plotting to do! It was so bold and so fierce of her and I loved it. At times her point of view could be a little dull, she wasn't always the part I looked forward to reading but when the heat got kicked up in the story, it was from her point of view and I enjoyed it. Highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Sara Strand.
1,151 reviews33 followers
August 31, 2015
I don't know that I've had a contemporary romance in awhile but that's exactly what this is. Also, I am a Katherine Howe virgin and I am so glad this is the book that popped the cherry because it is stunning!

The book centers around Wes, young and girl dumb, aspiring filmmaker and new to big city life. At the beginning of the story he finds himself helping a friend with the sound for his film in a seance where he spies a variety of characters but there's a girl who stands out. He tries so hard to get her attention, talk to her, but she seemingly vanishes. He sees her again outside a few days later and again, he's stricken by her beauty and this inexpiable need to help her, talk to her, something. But again, she vanishes. Then she appears to him, in his room no less, asking for help and he's sold. He's all in. But also he has Maddie, who doesn't disappear quite like Annie but she's peculiar- a self described fregan and squatter, he doesn't know why but he feels drawn to her too.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Annie is a ghost but Wes doesn't totally get it. But to his defense, I mean, would you really come to that as your first conclusion when a weird girl who seems kind of out of it keeps popping up and disappearing? The story does flip between Wes in modern times, and then Annie in the past shortly before her untimely death. While she's trying to figure out what happened to her, because she does seem especially confused on how she died, she realizes she only has so much time in order to figure this out. Meanwhile, Wes finds himself falling in love with Annie and I think we know how totally impractical that is going to be. And even still.. we have Maddie. Maddie never leaves us and I don't know why, but I kind of love her because she's funky and a little bit odd, and Wes is absolutely the perfect clueless boy who has zero game when it comes to girls.

Overall? I loved this book. It does start out a little slow for me which is what holds me back from giving it 5 stars. I didn't really get into the book until we flash back to Annie the first time, which is maybe when you get to about a third into the book. Somewhere in there. Once you get there it really picks up and the story flows really well. Katherine is a spectacular writer that keeps you engaged and she did such a fantastic job at crafting these characters. So much so that I really want to read what else Katherine has out, so I'll be combing her website to see what I've missed.
Profile Image for Nicole.
321 reviews29 followers
September 28, 2015
Wes Auckerman is 19-years-old and attends NYU's summer film program. Originally from Madison, Wisconisin, Wes can't wait to pursue his passion for film making. At a filming of a séance in the Bowery, Wes and his film buddy, Tyler, see a girl with a satin bow blocking the frame. Wes is intrigued about the girl who tries to communicate with him until she vanished. He is drawn in by her beauty. He wants to find out more about her but Tyler needs to find this girl, Annie, in order for her to sign a media release in order for Tyler's art film to be presented. Wes also meets a girl named Maddie at the séance However, Annie is the girl of Wes's dreams but Maddie is a girl of reality. How are Annie and Maddie connected?

The novel is written in dual POV. Readers get to see what is going on in New York through the eyes of Wes and also through Annie's POV. Katherine Howe writes evocative description touching all five senses. The novel is beautiful and eerie at the same time. The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen keeps you at the edge of your seat wanting more. History and the supernatural collide in modern day New York which gives the novel an interesting vibe.

I find it unusual Wes is oblivious that Annie keeps disappearing and reappearing out of nowhere. The fact that he is entranced by her beauty from the first time he meets her is amusing. He goes out of his way trying to find her even though he doesn't know anything about her. Select people can see Annie and apparently no one has a clue who or what she is. Some of the narration could have been cut down a bit. I found the novel quite lengthy. However, I enjoyed Howe's take on memories and film. The transience of the memories and the permanence of the film merge together, layering each other while creating a piece of art.

If you are looking for a contemporary with history, mystery and a bit of romance, definitely pick up The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen. This will be a great read for October.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss for an honest opinion.
Profile Image for Rhia (rhiareads...).
524 reviews26 followers
February 16, 2017
I love this take on the traditional "ghost story".

I didn't expect it to be a ghost story at all from reading the synopsis - I was expecting a dark contemporary novel - and even as I was reading it, I was thinking, time travel?, certainly not ghosts. Altogether a lovely story.
Profile Image for Niki.
87 reviews7 followers
January 24, 2016
This was a fantastically haunting read, something I've always loved, yet this one just somehow intrigued me the most. Told from two different points of view, Wes, a film student in New York for the summer, as well as Annie, the ghost who appears and completely changes Wes's life.

I really enjoyed the overall mystery and suspense the book held, yet it was a bit slow at the beginning, and took me awhile to actually get into it, yet when the two characters met, I couldn't put the book down. The rest of the book was paced nicely and I ended up nearly reading the book in one sitting, yet I fell asleep and actually woke up early to finish the rest. I loved how the two storylines intertwined together, something I wasn't sure would end up well, yet it was absolutely beautiful. The characters seemed very real to me and that's always a nice touch.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a nice ghost story, it wasn't incredibly haunting, yet somehow remained suspenseful. So yes, overall, I did enjoy this book and I hope you'll give it a shot if you're into this type of book!
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,319 reviews
June 5, 2015
UGH!!! I wish this book could have just kept going! In the same vein as Conversion, Howe mixes history and the paranormal to create an interconnected story full of gorgeous characters. In Appearance, the summer of a 19 year old film student in New York City becomes intertwined with that of a 16 year old ghost summoned back to earth to solve the mystery surrounding her death back in 1825. Past and present collide!! So good!!
Profile Image for Laura.
3,720 reviews95 followers
January 1, 2016
I've always been a sucker for time-travel books, like Dumaurier's The House on the Strand, and this is a good variation on that theme. It was particularly interesting that the "g-word" never gets mentioned (watching Wes trying to avoid saying it was great), and even better, the era Annie inhabits was one about which I knew something but not a lot, so some research was necessary. And ok, any book that contains a scene at NYU's Bobst Library gets my vote.

ARC provided by publisher.
Profile Image for Stephanie Laurenza.
738 reviews2 followers
December 1, 2015
Ugh. I do not understand the hype. I liked the history, I thought the blending of worlds was done in an interesting manner...but the positives end there. Wes is written as more of a 14 year old boy than a college student and the whole Annie/Maddie thing makes zero sense to me. Super disappointed.
Profile Image for Moriyah.
139 reviews3 followers
February 7, 2016
I feel like all the good reviews came from people who were paid to give good reviews, I'm sorry if it sounds heartless. The writing just seemed disjointed, the characters annoyed me and it was weird how it slipped around to different POV's. It just didn't work.
Profile Image for Chris Benston.
5 reviews19 followers
February 2, 2020
I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read more from this author. I especially enjoyed the ghost story and the way story was told through varying viewpoints .
Profile Image for Dustin the wind Crazy little brown owl.
1,079 reviews144 followers
March 13, 2019
With the exception of Conversion, I have found each Katherine Howe novel extremely enjoyable and intriguing. I'm happy to find authors who are willing to venture beyond the conventional. Maybe someday I'll pick up a copy of The Penguin Book of Witches.

Some Favorite Passages:

"I've been having trouble with time lately. With knowing where I am."

"It's possible to see the truth, " I say. "You just can't look at it too closely."

"Every memory we have changes slightly each time we think about it. We add stuff we learn in other places, or we forget stuff that doesn't seem important anymore. Or you think you remember something, like from your childhood, but actually you've just seen so many pictures of it, and your parents have told you about it, so you think you remember it, but you don't. A memory is a process. Instead of a thing. Like a story we tell ourselves that changes from the standpoint we're looking at it."

How do you leave home, knowing you can never go back again? I think about Madison, my parents' house, my freshman dorm room at UW. I think about how even if I go back after this summer, even if they've all stayed the same, I'll still be different. I've already left home. And so has she.

From Author's Note:

Memories, while true, are impermanent, and film, while permanent, is untrue.

Only select perspective last: perspectives of the literate, the rich, the powerful. But silenced voices have a way of refusing to lie dormant as our culture marches away from their moment in time. They instead become folded into us, lingering on the periphery of our experience. Haunting us.

Ghosts are the language we have come up with for talking about ideas that influence us even in the absence of our conscious awareness. A whiff of cologne might conjure the specter of our first love, a certain quality of light in summer might be the ghost of our childhood home, and something as innocuous as a traffic pattern might be the lingering scar of a city's entire reason for being. We can all point to things that have made us what we are, but there are many more things we can't point to, because they are invisible. We're surrounded by ghosts all the time. In a sense, we're ghosts ourselves.
Profile Image for Laurie.
138 reviews10 followers
June 26, 2017
I got this book as a "blind date with a book" at a bookstore. I am so glad I got it. I only set it down 3 times once I started reading it. It's a live story and a ghost story but don't call her a ghost. I found myself torn between the love interests. I liked them both so much. Actually I loved all the characters in this book. I'd love it if there was a sequel to it someday. I'm off to find more books by this author.
Profile Image for Tammy.
555 reviews38 followers
February 16, 2019
A NYU summer college film student comes across a couple of ladies at a séance. One a punk squatter or so it seems and the other a hauntingly classic beauty that calls herself a Rip Van Winkle. The friends try to help the lady find an object and memory of what happened. Which proves to be an interesting and confusing summer. Are memories subject to change?
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