Author: Alison Stine
Source: HarperCollins on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Something is wrong with Esmé.
Kicked out of school in New York, she’s sent to live with her grandmother in a small Appalachian town. But something is wrong with the grandmother Ez hasn’t seen for years; she leaves at midnight, carrying a big black bag. Something is wrong with her grandmother’s house, a decrepit mansion full of stray cats, stairs that lead to nowhere, beds that unmake themselves. Something is wrong in the town where a kid disappears every year, where a whistle sounds at night but no train arrives.
And something is wrong with the friendly neighbor Ez’s age with black curls and blue eyes: He’s dead. (Source: Goodreads)
Esme is sent to her grandmother’s house after she starts to cause trouble for her sister. The trouble is no one can see her, and the people she can see can’t be seen by anyone else. Everyone she knows seems to be dead, and maybe Esme is dead too. Esme has to figure out how to let everyone know she’s there and help the ghosts in town cross over before the man that killed them all kills her too.
I didn’t really enjoy this book. I found the plot confusing and poorly explained, the tone was boring and uninteresting, and the characters were hard to connect with. It was a fairly easy read once I actually got into the book, but that took an extremely long time to do. I think this was a fun enough read but I didn’t really enjoy it at all and was kind of disappointed with the ending.
The story follows Esme as she lives with ghosts in her grandmother’s house. Honestly it’s all a little unclear. You’re never really made to understand what is going on with Esme, which has the power to speak to ghosts. Then there are several lines of action about her grandmother’s career, parent’s death, sister’s dancing past, the ghosts’ individual lives, the man who killed them all, and there’s a romance plot. It’s a lot and it doesn’t tie together all that clearly to be honest. I think it was easy enough to follow but if you thought about it at all it stopped making much sense and got just kind of confusing. Nothing is explained, in fact the idea of “not worrying about it” is sort of written into the book, which just felt lazy.
I didn’t really care about any of the characters particularly much. I didn’t feel that things were developed well character-wise. I was never sure what age anyone was supposed to be or the type of character they were meant to be. Things just sort of swayed back and forth randomly in terms of personality. This also meant the tone was hard to follow and it just didn’t connect for me. I was not a fan of the characters or story telling.
Overall, I was not a fan. It was an easy enough read but it wasn’t something I would recommend to others.