A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.
Jade loves the house she’s just moved into with her family. She doesn’t even mind being the new girl at the high school: It’s a fresh start, and there’s that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade’s little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade’s jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn’t.
Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who’s seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade’s school — until her untimely death last year. It’s up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?
Ooh, another ghost story! It’s been awhile since I’ve read one; I think the last one was Girl of Nightmares. Kayla Sloane is the ghost who haunts Jade’s house, once a queen bee of the worst kind, mean just because she can be. She appears to Jade’s little brother, Colby, first, and when Jade tries to go to her stepmother for help, things do not go well. Jade and her stepmother, they aren’t close. Jade’s mother died when she was nine, and, not to sound callous, but Jade has the requisite issues associated with such a thing. When she starts school, she has no idea about Kayla’s death, but her classmates let her know pretty quickly. There are mean girls, of course, but I liked Jade’s friend, Alexa. I suspected Alexa had Asperger’s from the beginning–no eye contact, no real understanding of social norms. That’s cool. I like that Aspies are getting a little representation in YA. There are also two boys: Kane, the all-American lacrosse player, and Donovan, the tortured artist. There are secrets floating around both of them.
Kayla wasn’t nice in life, and she is certainly not nice in death. It’s sort of ghost canon that dying violently makes one a vengeful spirit, and Kayla is no different. She knows she was murdered, and she wants justice, and she’ll stop at nothing to get it. Conveniently, she doesn’t know who killed her (unlike Lindsay Lohan), so Jade is off to get in with Kayla’s friends to solve the mystery. There’s a little bit of Disappearing Parents Syndrome in this one (Jade’s father travels a lot for work and her stepmother works nights at a hospital) so Jade can be alone with Kayla’s ghost, but it’s not egregious. Jade’s father really loves and cares about her, which is nice to see. Since we’re in Jade’s head, we see her stepmother through Jade’s own bias, but Marie seems to be a normal, semi-struggling stepparent.
This one was a super quick read, and I personally suspected who the killer was by the 2/3 mark, but I wasn’t sure until right before the big reveal. The love story was sweet, the miscommunication was kept to a minimum, and Kayla’s story was really very interesting. She may have been the most self-aware Mean Girl to ever live. I also liked that Faye, Kayla’s best friend, was two-dimensional, that she had real feelings, that she apologized to people and understood the consequences of her actions. I liked the teensy supernatural element of this one too, and the revelation at the end is interesting. This was a cute little story, and I’d definitely read Harrington again.