Tag Archives: Ghost stories

Shadowed Summer – Saundra Mitchell
Book Reviews
July 23, 2009 posted by Nikki

Shadowed Summer – Saundra Mitchell

Wind kissed my ear, cool and soft, and I heard a voice. It sounded like clover tastes, green and new and sweet.

“Where y’at, Iris?”

Iris and her friend think they have the ability to talk to the dead. They love hanging out in cemeteries and they play around with ouija boards and spell books. Nothing too much has ever happened before, though, so one summer when someone actually talks to Iris – someone that is definitely not alive – she can’t help but take notice.

When Iris tells her best friend, Collette, about her encounter, the pair of them set about finding out everything they possibly can about this ghost. After some pretty simple investigative work, they got enough information to start piecing all the bits together, and Iris realises that her ghost hits a lot closer to home than she first realised.

The story around town goes that Elijah simply went missing, and his body was never found,but for Iris, it just doesn’t add up. Elijah went to school with her father, and whenever Iris asks anyone her dad’s age – including her father – about what happened to him, everyone always changes the subject. It seems that her town folk are all too good at dodging her questions and Iris begins to think that some people might know more than they’re actually letting on. But when Iris figures out the truth about her ghost, she’s not even sure she wants to know …

Iris is a normal girl that I think a lot of young teens will be able to relate to. And while this isn’t one of those romance charged supernatural stories that seem to be so popular right now, I reckon true supernatural fiction fans will be impressed with Shadowed Summer. This one has all the elements of a true ghost story without being totally freaky, so even if you’re spooked by regular ghosty stories, I reckon you’ll be able to digest this one without wetting your pants.

I did, however, find Collette (Iris’s best friend) a little on the annoying side. I thanked God every moment that I spent reading this novel that Collette was not the focalising character. She’s shallow, spiteful and far too jealous of all the things Iris has – even though she’s got plenty of fabulous things herself.

This is a quick and easy read that gives the reader the exact kind of closure s/he is looking for.

Rating:: ★★★★☆

July 8, 2009 posted by Nikki

Patrick Carman Update

Those of you who read Patrick Carman’s interactive novel, Skeleton Creek, will be interested in this. Patrick has just released a bunch of weblinks where fans can go and keep up to date with the production process of his upcoming projects. It seems that Patrick is continuing his style of interactive novels, and the links below have some really cool features. Check it:

Main sitewww.enterpcstudio.com
Follow writers, directors, and actors through Twitter, vlogs from the set, production photos, and live chats.
The back lot gives young readers an unparalleled look behind the scenes as we create, shoot, and edit the next project.
This is where readers can find out quickly what’s happening from day to day.
Ghost in the Machine (the sequel to Skeleton Creek) comes out in October and apparently has a cracker ending. He’s also working on another thriller-type interactive novel that you guys can follow through the links above.

Vintage: A Ghost Story – Steve Berman
Book Reviews
July 6, 2009 posted by Nikki

Vintage: A Ghost Story – Steve Berman

I’ve been trying to write my review of this novel for a few days now. Trying, and failing. So, I’ve decided to take an approach that I don’t normally follow. Instead of launching into a detailed description of plot and character, I’m going to post the blurb as shown on the back of the novel (so you at least get a little insight into what it’s all about), and then I want to discuss a few key literary devices that I thought worked well. This isn’t something I normally do, but I don’t think I can say what I want any other way. So here goes…

A lonely gay teen bides his time with trips to strangers’ funerals and Ouija board sessions, desperately searching for someone to love–and a reason to live following a suicide attempt.

Walking an empty stretch of New Jersey highway on an autumn night, he meets a strange and beautiful boy who looks like he stepped out of a dream. But the vision becomes into a nightmare when the boy turns out to be the local urban legend, the ghost of a star athlete killed in 1957–a ghost with a deadly secret and a dangerous obsession.

Vintage: A Ghost Story is an intense thriller that looks at the dark side of gay urban fantasy, where the dead can never rest and trapped spirits never find peace.

Although this novel is narrated in first person, the narrator has no name. Actually, that might not be entirely true, but if he does have a name, readers never find out what it is. The first time I read Vintage through, I felt that by not giving him a name, the author robbed the narrator of authority. Because he was nameless (and also gay), I felt like the author was trying to tell me that his identity didn’t matter, that being gay meant that he wasn’t worthy of a title like a name. I found myself getting all ticked off about the kinds of impressions that would leave on potential queer teens. However, I was so intrigued by this concept of a nameless narrator that as soon as I finished reading Vintage, I went back to the beginning and started again. I very quickly changed my mind over how I felt about this character. I realised that by not giving him a name, the author was actually empowering the character and inviting you, the reader, to assume his identity and really place yourself in the story. This, then, made the story more powerful and a whole lot more engaging than the first time I read it. This gave me the opportunity to step into his shoes, to not be myself for a few hours and really immerse myself in his world. I now saw that this gave the narrator loads of authority, unlike my previous assumptions.

I also enjoyed the fact that, while not necessarily ‘out’, and although the narrator had certainly encountered adversity because of his sexuality in the past, he seemed more than comfortable as a queer teen. He was not struggling to comes to terms with his sexuality, which was very refreshing. I thought that Vintage highlighted a really clear distinction between comfortably keeping one’s sexuality to himself, and fearfully doing so. Coming out should be the choice of the individual, and just because you’re comfortable with your sexuality doesn’t automatically mean that you have to come out. I really enjoyed this aspect of this novel.

Vintage is a quirky queer teen read that I’m almost certain would be enjoyed by readers both gay and straight. There’s something about a good old ghost story that has a real universal appeal. Watch out for the supernatural sexual encounter!
Rating:: ★★★½☆