When life stabs you in the back and you feel like you're drowning in sadness - isn't it a life saver to have someone hold you above the waterline? Then again - too bad if that someone is not really alive anymore, either...
Ellie is staying with her maternal grandparents for the summer, while her recently bereaved dad takes off on holiday with his new girlfriend. Upset by his apparent callousness, missing her mother, and jealous for her dad's attention, she begins to spiral into depression. Her grandparents suggest she joins a local theatre group, to meet people her own age and get away from the dark thoughts that threaten to engulf her. But then she gets roped into a seance at the theatre, and is the only one who actually sees a real ghost. Now a spirit is contacting her from beyond the grave - and as the dead boy's story unfolds, Ellie finds herself falling in love with him. But if she solves his mystery and helps release his soul, will he be lost to her forever?
What drew me to this book was mainly the cover, but also the synopsis. I liked the mix of contemporary with a slight bit of paranormal and was interested in where the story might go. My journey with this book was very different from ordinary, but not exactly in a good way. After having read the first 30 pages I was so amazed by it that I was tempted to run and tell everyone I know about it and make them read it. I read further, discovered something and experienced the main part of the novel to be pretty disappointing.
First, though, I want to talk about why I loved the book in the beginning. The author had this great talent of jumping right into the story without overwhelming the reader. Really, I started this book five minutes before I had to get out of the bus and by the time I threw it into my backpack to get up, I was already completely into the story and couldn't wait to continue reading. This fast pacedness leads the reader through the whole book, so on the one hand this is a huge plus.
On the other hand, this plus became smaller for me with every page. What made me dread this book after a while was mainly the absolutely stiff dialogue. Usually, I don't even pay much attention to dialogue and I don't think I've ever mentioned it in any of my reviews, but I found the way the characters talked to each other just straight up annoying. I felt like they started a conversation, told each other the story of their lives although they had known the other person for no longer than two minutes and then they were like "bye" and Ellie literally ran anywhere. She was running to so many places, never stayed anywhere for long and when she did, the author turned to summarising everything that happened so as if she just wanted to get it over with.
Another thing that really annoyed me was how simple everything the author wanted to happen just happened. Ellie got to know people in this book, they became friends and that was the end of it. They had barely ever talked, but Ellie told everyone immediately how she felt about the loss of her mother. Somehow, though she doesn't seem to be able to talk about that - or anything other than food - with her grandparents.
Same with the love interest, Harry the ghost. Ellie falling in love with him is a fact not a process. You turn the page and from one moment to the other she just goes on and on how she can't live without him. By the way, the fact that he is a ghost does not seem to be a problem at all. She's not turned off by it or scared or finds it weird or anything. She just goes with it.
The only thing I continued liking a LOT was the general plot of the novel. Just how everything happened and how Ellie developed throughout the novel was totally reasonable and there were some things in the story I just didn't expect at all.
To put it in a nutshell, I was turned off by this book pretty fast and almost considered not finishing it. I'm afraid I can't even say I'd recommend it to anyone. Except maybe, if someone doesn't care much about language and storytelling but only about the plot, because as I said before that was what I liked very much. Overall, a disappointing read for me.
RATING: 1 out of 3 Smarties