HomeBooks by SubjectBooks with Girl CharactersApparition, by Gail Gallant | Book Review
Apparition by Gail Gallant

Apparition, by Gail Gallant | Book Review

Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | March 28, 2014

Apparition by Gail GallantApparition

By Gail Gallant

Ages Range: 14 and up

Paperback: 288 pages

Publisher: Doubleday Canada (September 3, 2013)

ISBN-13: 978-0385679626

What to Expect: Ghosts, hauntings, possession, teen-age angst and conflicted romance.

Amelia Mackenzie has been too immersed in grief during the three years following her mother’s death to realize Matthew Sorenson was more than her best friend. When he dies in what is determined a suicide, she realizes she loved him. She also knows he was not suicidal, though he did behave strangely the night before he was found dead in the Telford barn.

Reporter Morris Dyson, a childhood friend of her mother’s, tells Amelia his friend also was said to have committed suicide in that same barn, though he’s suspicious. Despite her reluctance, Amelia is drawn into finding out if the Telford barn is haunted. She has reason to believe it may be: Amelia sees ghosts. Soon Amelia learns other strange deaths have occurred in the Telford barn, and the deaths follow a similar pattern to Matthew’s.

“The barn looks less frightening in the morning sun than it did last night, but I’ve learned from experience that that doesn’t mean it’s empty. There’s a big black bird, a crow, up on the roof, staring down at me.”

Morris and Amelia team up to try to solve the mystery. Morris’s hunky son from Chicago, Kip, helps them. Before long an uneasy triangle develops between Kip, Amelia, and the ghost of Matthew.

This YA paranormal mystery/romance is a page-turner all the way. Told in the present tense, the action always feels immediate. The author captures Amelia’s grief over her mother, self-doubt over her paranormal abilities, and conflicting pulls of love for both the dead Matthew and the living Kip. All the characters seem plausible, and the way lives intersect makes for a dramatic ending that worked well for this reader.

This book will appeal to teenagers who like ghost stories, as well as sympathetic and believable characters who are struggling with personal loss.

Add this book to your collection: Apparition

Apparition, by Gail Gallant, was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan.


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Elizabeth Varadan writes for children and adults. Her middle-grade mystery, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls (published June 15, 2015), is set in Victorian London and she is currently working on Book Two. Varadan loves to read and write about the Victorian Era and blogs about the many things she uncovers in her research. Visit: <a href="http://elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com">elizabethvaradansfourthwish.blogspot.com</a> and <a href="http://victorianscribbles.blogspot.com">victorianscribbles.blogspot.com</a>

  • Thank you Elizabeth for your thoughtful review, and for drawing attention to the fact that my book is about grieving and loss as well as all that more fun stuff 🙂
    Best wishes,

    March 28, 2014
    • Might just add that Apparition has been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award for best crime fiction in the YA category. I’m thrilled because I always thought of Amelia as a “supernatural sleuth” in training!!

      May 11, 2014
  • Hi. I just finished reading your first book Apparition and I think it’s a really good book. I was so into it when I was reading it. I couldn’t put it down. And I have to admit I have a crush on Kip. He’s hot. 😉

    June 2, 2015
  • Hey what page is that quote “the barn looks less frightening…” from? I really need it for a presentation.

    May 12, 2017

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