Monday, April 15, 2013

Notes from Ghost Town, by Kate Ellison- Review

From Goodreads:
When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.
There’s a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can save herself.


There was so very much to like about this story.  A great heroine, a compelling story line, complex love interests, and of course an excellent bit of spine tingling scariness , when you least expect it.

Olivia was a pleasure to read.  I enjoyed how apologetically herself, Olivia was.  Sure she hits all the expected notes of teenage angst and rebellion- fully understandable under the circumstances, but she never seems to give up her individuality in the process.  Even when her individuality is more likely to get her ostracized because of her mothers illness, she powers on, brushing off the leers and rude comments. 

Second to Olivia herself, I was impressed by her relationships.  Ellison has to tell all of Olivia and Stern's relationship in memories, flash backs and strange visitings that could leave you with a stilted version of their friendship, and yet it wasn't.  Stern is Olivia's counterpoint in many ways, and although Ellison's method of story telling really only reveals Olivia's loss, it's easy to see how their lives could have been.  Even more revealing is Olivia's relationship with Wynn, who considering the circumstances of how she came to be in her life, should be number one on her list of resentfulness, but instead she loves her with unabashed abandon, rounding her out as so much more than an angsty teen fighting her fathers impending marriage.  Finally there's Austin, the stereotype boy she never would have given a second thought too, who surprises her with his depth.  I was particularly enamoured of how quickly she opens up to Austin, how, although she's spent years thinking very little of him, she is quick to give him a chance.  It's so typical for writers to give you a non-popular character who is as equally judgemental of the "it" crowd as they are of them, it's nice to see a teen who is comfortable in their own skin and also above falling into the same traps.

The thriller/mystery of the plot, was what really set the story apart for me.  A complex weaving of slow reveals, a study of the emotional traumas of dealing with a loved one with serious mental issues, and a creepy finale all mixed with Olivia's personal issues made for a story I had a hard time putting down.  All in all a surprising, and thoroughly enjoyable read, make sure to put it on your list of must haves for spring.

Notes From Ghost Town, by Kate Ellison
Published by Egmont, February 12th, 2013
My copy kindly provided by the publisher
Buy Notes from Ghost Town on Amazon

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