Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | March 28, 2014
By Gail Gallant
Ages Range: 14 and up
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Canada (September 3, 2013)
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.