"Would I recommend this book? Abso-bloody-lutely." Bookish Beyond, 5 stars
Stranger Things with a ghostly twist! This gripping, genre-bending debut will keep you holding your breath till the very last page.
Horror aficionado Lanie Adams should be thrilled when two eighties-era ghosts materialize in her bedroom. Yet after a fainting incident unbecoming of a horror nerd, she would rather her haunting just go away—the ghosts’ waterlogged voices and ice-cold auras are more terrifying than any movie. Enlisting the help of Ryan, an entirely-too-cute stoner, she makes it her mission to put the spirits stalking her to rest.
Some sleuthing reveals that their sleepy Connecticut town is host to a shadowy, decades-old conspiracy. If Lanie wants to say a final goodbye to her ghosts, she’ll need to keep digging. But it’s important to tread carefully. The culprit is still in town—and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.
Perfect for fans of Stranger Things! With strong characters who are easy to root for, this stunning, multilayered debut is not to be missed.
"Fans of Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles, Meg Cabot’s The Mediator (throw-back!), and Netflix’s Stranger Things will binge this book from cover to cover... a strong female lead + a well-rounded mystery + a believable setting? What more could you ask for?" Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
Katie Jane Gallagher is the author of the Beauty and Her Alien series, the BBNYA finalist Specter and The Gold in the Dark. Her stories feature relatable, realistic characters who get swept up in extraordinary events. An avid reader of genre fiction, she has a self-proclaimed affinity for the best sorts of trash.
Born and raised in Illinois, Katie currently lives in Connecticut with her stupendous, half-human half-neanderthal husband and their dopey boxer dog. She graduated magna cum laude from Connecticut College in 2012, with a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language and literature and a minor in history.
Specter is a YA mystery with a paranormal twist. Having not read any book from the YA genre lately, it was a short fun read with lots of mystery and paranormal elements.
The book follows Lanie, a teenager with a penchant for horror. While sick with a fever she sees two ghosts and is horrified. While researching her ghosts she meets Ryan, who offers to help her. Together they start to investigate the hauntings, working out who the ghosts are and when Lanie can see them. Soon they discover that the mystery goes a lot deeper than they had imagined.
In many ways, Specter is your distinctive paranormal teen book, but the writing quickly draws you into the story. What I really enjoyed is that this book was fast-paced with several twists. Every time you think you have figured out the plot, you get a new twist. In some ways, Specter reads like a mystery novel, when as a reader get closer to the truth with each new revelation. The writing was really good and the mystery will keep you guessing. The story builds up the tension nicely and brings it to a satisfying conclusion.
Having said that, there were too many concepts thrown in too fast into this book which made it difficult to focus on the mystery part. From lucid dreaming, altered mental state, OBE, etc, it may become too much to tackle at once. Some parts without the paranormal elements drag a bit. Also, Lanie makes some new discoveries that were interesting but were not explored too much in detail and it felt rushed towards the end.
Overall, Specter is a fun and interesting read that anyone who likes paranormal stories. It’s a tightly-paced read with some engaging characters which YA fans will enjoy.
Many thanks to the publishers Kobo Writing Life, author Katie Jane Gallagher and Netgalley for the ARC.
Specter was an impressive and refreshing read for me! Contemporary usually isn’t my style, but I felt extremely drawn in by the voice of our relatable horror-aficionado, Lanie. Unlike a couple of recent reads, Specter clung to the Young Adult audience with extreme precision, even at difficult and suspenseful times.
What I thoroughly enjoyed is that this book had wonderful pacing. Just when the hauntings would dry up, we would get a good dose of teenage rebellion and romance, and vice versa.
Lanie’s voice is present through the simplest of information relays, which helps the book never lose steam. The only concern I even mildly have is how believable it is for a teenager to want to move away from her family and recent infatuation even with a paranormal haunting fresh on the mind.
Overall, I would recommend this book. Specter is not completely surprising in its execution, but I never wanted to drop it. I think it’s a perfect beach/break read.
Katie Jane Gallagher is a new author who did a fantastic job of creating a unique storyline and fantastical world mostly seeped in reality. I enjoyed the twist of how the main character, Lanie, can see ghosts and what it truly means as we learn later in the book. I also liked Ryan’s character and some of the quirky moments between him and Lanie as they get to know each other and try to solve the mystery of Lanie’s abilities.
These were the great things about this book and since Gallagher is a new author I see a lot of potential in her storytelling abilities, but it was a bit obvious she hassn’t completely honed those abilities.. I was happy that Gallagher had Lanie struggle with accepting her abilities, this felt very realistic. But then, almost immediately she trusts someone she just met with her secret and suddenly they are on the search for the truth. Although this could have been believable, as often sometimes we can trust someone so implicitly so quickly, Lanie is described multiple times as a loner who has never had a friend. So I would have loved to see her struggle more with trusting Ryan and navigating a deep and honest friendship/relationship. Instead, we only get very small snippets of Ryan and Lanie together due to the many other scenes of ghosts, research and other situations.
Which brings me to the fact that I believed a few too many things are thrown into this book which made it difficult for each detail and relationship to develop and grow. I felt like I was following the book and storyline and suddenly, bam, another situation was tossed in which was a great idea but just seemed random and thrown in just because. Also, Lanie finds some new things she can do with her abilities which is very interesting, but it happens at almost the end of the book and it would have been great to see her develop it earlier and have a lot more fantastic dreamlike scenes where Gallagher’s writing talent truly shined through.
Overall, I am very interested in reading another of Gallagher’s books as I think she is certainly talented, but I do have to warn readers that this book specifically is a bit haphazard and chaotic in a confusing way. Along with a very important friendship that seems lackluster at best.
*I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review.*
Lanie didn't expect to be scared of ghosts in her room at the age of 16, and suddenly they keep popping up. She's not sure whether they are good ghosts or not but she does feel the need to help and she's grateful to have Ryan on her side. Her family, however, are not too happy with her behaviour lately. She tries very hard to be the same perfect well-behaved daughter she's always been, while simultaneously investigating the ghosts. It's not a simple problem though and solving the mystery involves going right back to her own childhood. The writing was excellent and really pulled me in from the start. I enjoyed following the mystery with all it's twists and turns and couldn't have guessed the outcome. The ghosts were completely different to any I've read about before which was great, it gave the book a very fresh feeling.
I read this book as part of the BBNYA 2020 Panel and for the BBNYA blog tours, so thank you to the BBNYA team, the blog tour organiser and the author for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Specter by Katie Jane Gallagher is a horror, fantasy, paranormal standalone that just keeps on giving and surprised me from page one. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so that I read it in one single sitting.
This book is set in Enville, a small town in Connecticut and I automatically had the feeling that this was going to be a really atmospheric book.
The thing about this book is that it is not scary but in my opinion, it is a lot more atmospheric and that’s what made me love it. Atmosphere and setting are two of the biggest and most important pieces of a book for me and it can be make or break if the plot and characters are already a little wobbly. I did find the characters to be a tad flat, but the plot and most importantly the atmosphere made up for it. All throughout the book, you can feel that something sinister is afoot and I think the author did a great job of making this book gloomy, sinister, atmospheric and dark, without scaring her readers senseless. This bit is a big bonus for me.
This book was one that took me on a wild ride and as I said, I read it in one single go. You’re going to go into this book thinking it’s just a simple case of a haunting and ghosts running amok, but it is so much more than that and I did not see it coming at all. The ending was my favourite part of the book when everything was explained and even though it’s crazy and kind of unbelievable, it is really quite surprising how everything fit together and was tied up by the author.
The writing style and the pace of this book were also really good elements, and they helped me stay completely immersed in the story. However, I did think that the author’s writing style was very enjoyable. the plot and atmosphere were my favourite parts and the author did a great job pulling these two off.
I gave this book 4 stars and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is the kind of atmospheric, spooky, horror book that I like and I think it will help me ease into more scary stories, but this one was great! If you like something a bit out of the ordinary, with a really clever, unique and mysterious plot, a great atmosphere and some really big twists, then this is the book for you, and I highly recommend it!
Trigger Warnings: ghosts, death, alcohol, drug use, torture, kidnap, disappearance.
When horror-movie lover Lanie is disturbed by a ghostly apparition in her bedroom, she soon discovers the terrifying visitor needs her help. Joining forces with her emerging love interest, Ryan, the teenagers investigate, but find themselves on the radar of a powerful chemical company while being stalked by an aggressive ghost.
From the first paragraph of Specter, I was hooked. With an opening of ‘It turned out all the books and movies had gotten ghosts dead wrong’, how could it not? Lanie, the main character, despite being an introvert, is engaging and witty. Her budding romance with Ryan is sweet and awkward, with her parents disapproval inevitable, but realistic. All of Gallagher’s characters came across as real, genuine people, reacting to the unfolding events with believable behaviours, something YA books can fail to deliver.
The plot moves at a snappy pace throughout Specter, making it almost impossible to put down. As the story progressed, plausible answers and explanations were delivered, especially at the end. Gallagher builds the tension nicely and brings it to a satisfying conclusion which left me wanting more of the two teenagers.
What I really enjoyed about this book was Gallagher’s writing. It simply got out of the way so the story could unfold which left me feeling as if I’d watched it as a movie instead of reading it as a book. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, but my only tiny criticism is how Lanie faced off to the adult baddies towards the end. I personally felt it was a little too violent for a YA read and would have liked to see the baddies thwarted by less aggressive means.
Overall, Lanie’s wit was what I most enjoyed, especially when her sarcastic quips popped out. She and Ryan definitely deserve another adventure, and I hope this is something Gallagher is considering as I’d love to see their characters develop even more. In summary, a tightly-paced read with engaging characters that left me unable to put the book down.
Specter by Katie Jane Gallagher is a fast-paced mystery, thriller, paranormal, urban fantasy story. That’s a mouthful of genres, but the book fits them all.
The story could be classified as a young-adult, coming of age book, but I think it will entertain readers of all ages.
The main character, Lanie, is a loner from a reasonably well-to-do family. She is haunted by the ghost of a long-missing teenage girl. In her quest to figure out what is happening to her, she turns her life upside down, and events conspire against her.
Along the way, she bonds with her first boyfriend, Ryan. When they put their lives on the line to solve the mystery, they grow ever closer, but not without some bumps in the road.
The story touches on many tropes, but they all work well within the plotline. Ghosts, demons, CIA, first love, lucid-dreaming all play an intriguing part in solving the mystery.
Specter will appeal to a wide range of readers. I enjoyed the story and recommend everyone give it a chance. It’s a solid debut novel.
Title: Specter Author: Katie Jane Gallagher Genre: YA, paranormal Rating: 4 out of 5
Lanie loves horror movies, so the appearance of two ghosts in her room—from the 80s, clearly—should be something she enjoys. Except it’s not. Because the third ghost that appears isn’t quite so friendly…or so human. So Lanie does her best to avoid the ghosts—and the questions she has from forgotten memories of her childhood.
When she meets stoner Ryan in the library, she soon finds herself telling him all about the ghosts—and hatching a plot to figure out their secrets. But Lanie and Ryan’s questions stir up things that someone in her hometown would prefer to stay hidden, and soon the ghosts aren’t the only thing threatening them.
I’m not usually into ghost stories, but Specter was much more than that. I enjoyed Lanie’s personality—she did have a few moments that seemed a little out-of-character, but hey, she’s a teenager—and Ryan was a good foil for her. I found that third ghost creepy, but the way everything twisted together just made sense: the missing persons, the murder investigation, the past and the future. This is a solid read with a little bit of chills to it.
(Galley courtesy of Hidden Bower Press in exchange for an honest review.)
Hey guys, a very good evening from what looks to be a stormy Eastern England. Today’s review is for Specter, a young adult paranormal fantasy, which follows sixteen year old Lanie Adams, self described ‘loner extraordinaire’ as she searches for answers to a ghostly problem.
From the very first sentence- ‘It turned out, all the books and movies had gotten ghosts dead wrong,’ I was hooked. The author dives right into the core issue of the story as a ghostly apparition appears in Lanie’s bedroom while she’s stricken with a fever.
The mystery of the female spirit gradually deepens as Lanie (with the help of new friend and love interest, Ryan) searches in Connecticut for answers as to the spirit’s origin.
Everything ties together well, with themes of deception (on behalf of important government bodies), friendship, and the supernatural.
Lanie Adams is one hell of a protagonist. As a girl that never fit in at Secondary school, I found it easy to relate to her. She faces a lot of her own demons without any help from her parents, all while trying to protect someone she truly cares about, Ryan. Lanie’s quirky sense of humour made me smile on days when I really needed something to lift my spirits, something which I quickly became grateful for.
Ryan, Lanie’s new best friend and shortly, boyfriend is adorable, smart, and a little bit of a troublemaker, much to her parent’s anguish. He’s a young man with his own flaws on display for the whole world to see, one that does all he can to help the girl he loves. His humour matches Lanie’s style, endearing them to each other from early on in the story, but it’s Ryan’s sweet and caring nature that made him most memorable for me. He and Lanie became an unstoppable team, one that shared their sorrows, dreams, and a passion for adventure.
As a fan of classic horror, you’d think that the introverted teenager (and shining star of this debut) Lanie Adams would be well-prepared for her first encounter with a real-life ghost, right? WRONG. After-all, she is a teenager. And yet, just like most teens in our modern world, she is a curious one. Specter shares her adventure into mystery, murder, and maybe a healthy (or at least realistic) bit of teenage rebellion. With the help of a *totally* cute boy from her school, Lanie uses every resource she can find to solve this cold-case, and explain the mysterious affliction she has recently begun suffering from. Once she chips away at the tip of the metaphorical iceberg, Lanie unravels a web of secrecy, conspiracy, and lunacy that threatens to destroy every love she has. Her abounding wit, humor, and determination make Lanie so much more than a fictional character; she is the girl we’d all want at our lunch table, or hiking through a Connecticut woods with us on the most magical night of the year. Lanie is a girl we can root for, one many of us can relate to and one we certainly need to see more of. Even the supporting characters of this novel are just as flesh-and-blood as the main star (save for those who lack the flesh and body, so to say. They’re just as convincing too though, even a bit frightening). From the well-meaning yet totally-unfair parents, to the not so stereotypical bad boy, and even the lesser characters we see little of, each person in this story brings it to life. All points and plots are well woven and carefully brought together in this tale of mild terror, obsessive intrigue, and first-love. Fans of Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles, Meg Cabot’s The Mediator (throw-back!), and Netflix’s Stranger Things will binge this book from cover to cover. And even if you’ve never read those other authors, or watched the hit-TV show that took the world by storm, you should still give Spectera worthy investigation; a strong female lead + a well-rounded mystery + a believable setting? What more could you ask for? Take a break from the far-away fantasy worlds like I just did, only for a couple nights, and live in this world for a while-you might find things are just as strange here as they are in another land.
I’m a bit puzzled by this book. Reading the blurb it sounded like it was going to be a quirky, fun read with a hint of The Frighteners - ghosts stuck in their death era, in this case the 1980’s - with a dose of comedy around the clash of styles and pop culture. The book ended up somewhat different. It’s a lot more serious than I expected, and I think it would have greatly benefited from an injection of humour, as it would have thrown the tragedy into even greater relief.
The book follows Lanie, a teenage loner with a penchant for horror. While sick with a fever she sees two ghosts, apparently teenagers from the 80’s, and is horrified - this is the first point the book falls down for me, knowing what it’s like to be (and be married to) a horror/supernatural fan, I wouldn’t be horrified at all! It would be the best day of my teenage life! While researching her ghosts she meets a cute stoner called Ryan, who she almost immediately, and inexplicably, trusts enough to confide in. Together they start to investigate the hauntings, working out who the ghosts are and when Lanie can see them - usually when her mental state is altered, by a fever, pot or alcohol etc. They stumble across some missing persons stories from the 80’s and after Lanie finds out the name of one of her ghosts, Melissa - much to the rage of another ghost who they nickname ‘Claw Hands’, as she appears to be some form of demonic spirit, they discover a forum dedicated to the weirder aspects of life and all the conspiracy theories that make the internet the joyously insane place that it is.
In the process Lanie deals with parental expectations as she’s caught smoking pot with an undesirable like Ryan - although her parent’s immediate decision that she’s a screw up and needs to go to a boarding school for troubled girls seems a bit of an overreaction for her first real rebellions! Despite all this seeming somewhat out of left field, Lanie jumps at the chance to go to the new school to escape her ghosts and the shady company that she and Ryan believe are responsible for the deaths of the teenagers who are haunting her - who also happen to have caused an explosion which injured Lanie as a child and left her with lifelong complications. Whilst there she tries to put everything behind her, at this apparently Utopian school which definitely sounds completely real and not at all unlikely, but worry for Ryan niggles. She decides to experiment with lucid dreaming using the weird and wonderful forum, and finds that she can talk to Melissa in ‘her realm’ where she is in control. Melissa has been watching Lanie grow up, as she and the other missing teenagers were killed for an experiment at the nearby pharmaceutical company Avanic and are trapped. They were being used to test ways to control OBE’s (out of body experiences) to provide the CIA with ways to spy on the Soviet Union (hey, it was the 80’s!), and their spirits are still harnessed and used. Together they realise that Lanie was affected by the experiment that killed the missing kids when there was an explosion at Avanic when she was 9 - which actually ’killed’ the souls of two of the test subjects/victims, which is why she can communicate with the ghosts and control her dreams. Melissa also explains that ‘Claw Hands’ is actually the first of the missing kids, Pamela, and that she has been damaged and warped by the experiments and treatment of Avanic, and that she doesn’t want Lanie to help the others ‘die’ because she and another victim Scott fell in love. Scott and Melissa want to be free, to truly ‘die’ so they can finally be at peace. Melissa warns Lanie that Ryan is in danger after his continued snooping, and that she needs to warn him. Of course that would be too straight forward, and we’re reading about angsty teens here, so she struggles to find a way to warn him without tipping off anyone who could be keeping tabs on them. Melissa also
After failing to warn Ryan, Lanie discovers that he has gone missing and correctly surmises that Avanic has decided to ‘disappear’ him. She immediately bolts from school and goes to Avanic to rescue him, while being chased by dodgy men and aided by Melissa - until Claw Hands/Pamela steps in to stop her. Scott then helps Lanie navigate the facility, and kill some guards in self defence, but she is eventually caught by the doctor that visited her as a child after the explosion and all seems lost.
With the help of her ghosts, including Claw Hands/Pamela who seems to decide to let Scott be free, Lanie frees Ryan and shuts down the equipment holding the spirits of the three dead kids....which triggers a failure of the equipment and an explosion is imminent. Ryan carries Lanie to safety - she ended up with a bullet in her knee - with the help of Melissa to guide them out of the building. With the explosion comes the final ‘death’ of Melissa, who is finally free and leaves behind the girl she’d come to love as her little sister having watched her grow up.
After surgery Lanie and Ryan tell their story, to a world that is rabidly interested in the CIA conspiracy theory angle, yet disbelieving the ghosts angle and not caring too much about the murdered teens. In an effort to get their story across Lanie and Ryan live stream to the weird and wonderful forum, giving the conspiracy theorists material for months and years to come!
I’m still not sure if I liked this book, oddly. A lot of things felt like huge leaps in logic, a lot of overreactions and rushes to judgement. An odd lack of excitement for a horror nerd finding herself being haunted still irks me. I think if the blurb hadn’t built my expectations up it would have been better, but I’m left disappointed that this wasn’t more fun and quirky. It ended up being pretty serious, even with a ridiculously silly concept, and the result was somewhat jarring for me. My husband actually picked this out to be my next read as he got the same vibe from the description that I did, so it’s not just a case of one person misreading something. There is also an awful lot of philosophising and hyperbole, a lot of metaphors that get a little flowery for me, especially in what I’d expected to be a fun book. Basically, my advice is to ignore the blurb as it doesn’t describe the book honestly or accurately, and read it without expectation and hopefully you’ll enjoy it. The writing is perfectly fine - apart from the aforementioned tendency towards philosophising - and the story isn’t bad, if you’re into conspiracy stories (I’m not, which may also be why I didn’t enjoy it as much, felt a little bit conned I think, as I wanted a supernatural story and got more conspiracy). The blurb does mention conspiracy but less in a ‘the government are conducting medical experiments’ kind of way and more a ‘ooh there’s a serial killer at work that’s been hiding in plain sight for decades’, at least to me. I don’t think there’s anything particularly ground breaking here, it’s a perfectly serviceable book and story, but it doesn’t really stand out as one I’d gush over. Having said that, I wouldn’t be averse to reading more by Katie Jane Gallagher, so the book did it’s job I suppose!
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to NetGalley and Kobo Writing Life*
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Thanks so much to the author for providing me with an advance review copy!
Omg I devoured this book, can’t remember the last time I read a book so fast! I can totally see why it's being pitched as similar to Stranger Things, since it's very suspenseful with ghosts, demons, and an 80's element (even though it's not set in the 80's). And this book will keep surprising you, it is definitely not a simple ghost story! Lots of twists and turns. Also I loooooved Lanie, she is such a badass character and very "real." Really recommend this book, though probably not to younger readers, since there’s a lot of strong language, violence, and dark themes.
Now I will be honest Ghosts are not something I often find myself reading about, purely because I cannot handle horror films with ghosts so the same applies for books. However with this being said Specter was one book that I found myself wanting to read more despite the ghost element to it. I am normally the last person in the world to pick up a horror/thriller book that is like this but as always I find myself being surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Specter just another reason why these blog tours are amazing to be a part of.
Specter follows the main character Lanie and her adventures with being able to see Ghosts.
I loved reading Specter however I must note there were several occasions I found it incredibly chilling and managed to creep myself out. (I refused to read this at night) This being said when I was reading this book I could not put it down. I found myself hooked.
Like always I will try my best to not spoil any of this book within the review, however with this book more than I would normally I think you need to read it whilst not knowing a lot about the plot. I think it allows for a better read and immersive experience. I will warn you though that there are some creepy moments.
This book covers subjects including lucid dreaming which has always been a topic that creeps me out, so for me I think it added more to my experience reading this book. However unlike before I want to know more about the subject.
This is a book I would recommend those who love stranger things to go and check out because I am 99.9% sure you would love this!
I like reading urban fantasy and paranormal mystery stories. Therefore, I started reading this one with an open mind. The front cover caught my eye, the story’s description piqued my interest and of course, I love finding new-to-me authors. I was instantly impressed with Katie's writing style. The descriptive prose she used throughout and how she set up the scenes was intelligently done.
As a standalone novel, there’s a lot of information to impart. Everything the reader needs to understand and enjoy the story needs to be found within these pages. Katie manages to seamlessly weave the world-building into this book without the need for the dreaded “information dumps”.
The characters Katie has created for this book are believable although not unique. However, the situation she throws them into is one I really enjoyed. I loved the different clues, the interwoven threads and Lanie’s perseverance. She’s got gumption. Give her 15 to 20 years of life experience and she’d probably be my ideal heroine.
Specter is good, although I wish the protagonists had been grown-ups.
Specter is an entertaining book written by Katie Jane Gallagher. The author came up with an interesting plot that had me glued to the pages. This book is definitely not your average ghost story book and had some interesting twists that I did not see coming. The pace was just right, never dragging out nor did the author ever rush you through the story.
Lanie was a very interesting main character who was given quite the dilemma and had a difficult road ahead of herself. It didn't help that she tends to be a loner and then ends up befriending a stoner, clearly not someone her parents would approve no matter how good of a friend he ends up being. Ryan is also a fun character and even though he is a stoner, although he seems to be more a recreational user in my eyes, he is a great friend to Lanie, even when things go south!
This is a great book and I wouldn't mind actually seeing this in a movie to be honest. It has all the ingredients for it. I for one really enjoyed it. Yes it may have some minor flaws like a loner trusting some random guy almost immediately, but I can look past that because overall this book is really great and kept me reading on without breaks really. So if I were you I would pick up a copy!
What I thought: What a great story! I am a huge fan of Stranger Things and the blurb was right! From the getgo - Gallagher's prose had me hooked. Lanie is your normal teen with a healthy obsession of horror. She is a strong character whose journey to not only solve this mystery, but making her way into adulthood was a pleasure. She is definitely a character who stuck with me long after the book finished. I look forward to reading more of Gallagher's work!
The Quote: Nothing notable is supposed to happen on Tuesdays, let alone anything supernatural.
Why I chose it: The quote reminded me of another favorite from Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - “This must be Thursday,' said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. 'I never could get the hang of Thursdays.” Gallagher's quote happens pretty early on in the story - and it was a good indication that I was going to have fun.
Young adults love horror, mystery, and science-fiction, and Specter delivers, expecting its intended audience to sift through the elements it presents without any hand holding. The bond between Lanie and a potential romantic interest evolves organically, allowing them to come to their own understanding of the forces at work in their town, and the adults that may or may not be reliable in their lives. The characters in Specter were strong in a way that didn't feel forced, and the ghosts were refreshingly different in a fantastical way reminiscent of 80's-esque horror. Gallagher clearly loves her characters, her art, and the genre she effortlessly tackles. If you are vibing on shows like Stranger Things, or you're diggin' the revival of Stephen King-esque kids bravely facing the impossible despite their fears, Specter is a book for you. I will certainly be keeping my eye out for Ms. Gallagher's next book.
This was such an awesome book! It had me hooked from the description. A young adult paranormal mystery, heck yes I'm in. This book was way better than I had thought it would be. The description said it was for stranger things fans and I couldn't get into that show (I know, shocker). This book was a great paranormal mystery while also being a wonderfully done coming of age tale with tame teenage romance. I couldn't put it down. The mystery had me guessing and I felt like I was trying to solve this mystery with Lanie and Ryan...really I was! And the ending was perfect. Just when I thought it was over there was more and I loved it. I would love to see more for from these characters. This author did an amazing job with this book and I definitely want to check out more from her. She made a fan out of me.
It started off a simple, yet fascinating small-town ghost story. But then it nose-dived into something even more sinister.
I really grew fond of Lanie as a character through this book. Relatable indeed, she was. Ryan was a terrific support and love interest that helped the movement of the story.
I even loved the personalities of the ghosts. Each one had a distinct characteristic.
I am avoiding spoilers, so I'll just leave it here for now. I see some people quoting Stanger Things as an audience who would like this book. I agree, and I would extrapolate that people who like Black Mirror, Twighlight Zone, or anything delving into the fragile bridge between science and the fantastic will love this book. Definitely 5 stars.
X-Files meets Stranger Things meets Twin Peaks. Specter is YA Sci Fi at its finest and a little coming of age romance is definitely not missing from the plot. I absolutely love the dynamic of the characters as they delve into the mysteries surrounding their lives and their quiet little New England town. I'm from Connecticut and it was so fun to have a book based in my state too! From start to finish the story moves perfectly and builds on itself. I had a blast reading--I couldn't put it down! Will definitely be reading again and again. 5/5 stars!!
I love a good book about ghosts and specter doesn't disappoint. I'm glad that I was able to relate to the main character since I'm introverted and I love horror movies. The books is fast paced and I didn't really want to put the book down!
Great example of its genre. One refreshing difference is that the parents actually care about the protagonist and aren't messes or morons (though they are, per usual in the genre, unaware of the spooky stuff that is happening for most of the book).
Loved this book! I’ve been shying away from books about teens lately because I’m more than grown lol. So glad I read this. I was riveted; could not put it down. One of the best things: I learned new words! Thank you, Katie!
Lanie Adams loves horror movies so never thought she’d be scared shitless when two ghosts show up in her bedroom one day when she’s home sick from school. She decides to investigate the usual reasons for ghosts in a dwelling, but the more she digs the more questions she finds. When she and schoolmate Ryan get into trouble because of their unorthodox method of sleuthing, things start to go horribly wrong.
I went into this with much anticipation. Who doesn’t love a good ghost story and mystery all rolled up into one? While the premise is awesome, the execution falls well short for me. The pacing seems way off and the timeline is wonky. The characters are underdefined and I think, for an introvert who rarely gets involved with her classmates, Lanie puts too much trust too fast into Ryan. The whole middle of the book just drags for me, too. And Lanie just giving in and agreeing with her parents about changing schools gave me whiplash. What the hell?
The beginning and the ending are pretty damn good and Lanie’s lucid dreaming is the coolest thing ever. That’s some seriously creative shit there. The story behind the ghosts is heart breaking and also rage inducing. WTF Overall, the writing could have been better, but the story is compelling.
Okay I very rarely read books about ghosts and I have to say this was thoroughly enjoyable. I found the plot moved at a very leisurely place and I was hooked from the very first line. Lanie is such a likeable character, I really enjoyed reading about her relationship with her parents and her budding romance with Ryan. However one gripe I have is that I felt like the ending was a bit rushed and I could have happily read atleast another 50 pages of this book. Thank you to Dave from The Write Reads for letting me take part in the tour.
I was very honoured to read Specter as part of the #BBNYA competition and I’m so excited to share my review with you today. Specter is a paranormal thriller, spooky enough to cause some chills but gentle and light in other aspects. It’s a lot of fun to read and has a fast-moving pace so is constantly entertaining. The main character Lainie is one I would have identified with as a teen. I had a few more friends but I’d often chose reading a good book over anything else (still do). I loved how her relationship with Ryan develops over the course of the book. He’s a good match – showing interest in her issues and supporting her with them and they make an intelligent team. The small-town feel gives the setting a spooky atmosphere without being too intimidating and over the top. It doesn’t feel completely sinister but there is always a stirring of malevolence in there. This feeling was increased throughout as I learned more about the town and some residents. My favourite part was the mystery solving and I enjoyed trying to unravel the clues and trying to figure out where they were going to lead but the many twists and turns kept me on my toes. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Specter and for me I just wished it had been a little longer, allowing more time to explore the different aspects but it works really well as a Young Adult thriller. I’d love to see more of Lainie and Ryan in future mystery novels too and to be part of the development of their relationship and the maturing of their characters. An all round entertaining novel that touches on many tropes, with characters that readers can identify with.
I was lucky enough as a panelist for BBNYA to be assigned Specter as one of my three books to read in full for the final round of the award, and I can honestly say that this book is brilliant!
This story has you completely gripped from the very beginning, with its dark, creepy atmosphere, which builds throughout the story. It has a very interesting storyline, like nothing I’ve ever read before, and it definitely gives off some Stranger Things vibes. The less said about the actual plot, the better, because this is the type of book that is best to go in to with as little information as possible.
The characters in the story are all well developed, and well written, but I would have liked a little more background information on Ryan in particular. I definitely felt that Lanie was particularly relatable, and is the sort of person that I would be friends with.
I love a good paranormal story, and this certainly didn’t disappoint. I loved the author’s writing style, and felt that it really helped with pulling you in to the story. There was so much thrown in here, from lucid dreaming to huge cover-up stories, and it has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, with an explosive ending, jam packed full of action. This is one of those books that you won’t want to put down. I will definitely be reading more of Katie Jane Gallagher’s books.
I give Specter a 5 star rating!
I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition and/or the BBNYA tours organised by the The Write Reads tours team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.