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A haunting story
on August 1, 2011
Ariel Donovan has just celebrated her 15th birthday, and come fall is going to be a sophomore at the local high school in Hell, Michigan. By all accounts, this should be the time of her life. No longer the scared freshman, she and her best friend Jenna been looking forward to the beginning of the school year. All that changed when one night, after an argument, Jenna walked out the door of Ariel's home in a huff, never to be seen again.
To make matters worse Ariel comes from a not so normal family. Her parents insist that she calls them Claire and Hugh. Hugh is an artist and owns the local art gallery. Claire is always totally put together and works in the corporate world. Her mother's sister, Aunt Corinne believes in spirits, crystals and the occult. Ariel reluctantly begins the first day at school full of trepidation, only to overhear the class mean girls discussing the hunky new boy in school, and how he is off limits. Later she meets said hunky boy, Henry Rhodes, who is full of wit and charm and flirts outrageously with her. Next day, she meets another new kid, Goth/artist chick Theo Weaver who happens to be her next door neighbor. As if life couldn't get any more complicated, Ariel begins having strange dreams of Jenna and hearing weird noises in her room that no one else hears. Ariel, Henry, Theo and class clown Alex Perkins embark on a journey to discover exactly what is going on and find things aren't always as they seem in their little town of Hell.
Ms. Boyd has written a book full of teenage angst mixed in with some really strange/scary happenings. Ariel is as well balanced as she is able to be, considering her upbringing, and fights an internal battle with her guilt over Jenna's disappearance. Henry is just a cute as can be; full of humor and wit, we suspect he might be hiding something though. Theo and Alex give us some fun moments with their give and take and both turn out to be great friends for Ariel. We meet a few of the teachers and get some creepy vibes from the principle that make you want to go take a shower. There are some great scary moments and a good mystery going on, all mixed in with every day high school life.
While I enjoyed this book, I have to admit about a fourth of the way through, I had to look up the blurb because I just couldn't figure out what it was about. I'm still not sure how to describe it, except to say it's a mixture of ghost story/teenage life/paranormal happenings/mystery. This book is slightly dark, with truly scary moments that are relieved with some cute interaction between Ariel and Henry and some funny moments when the gang get together. I was a little aggravated with Ariel's parents. It seemed like they couldn't make up their minds if they wanted to be strict or new age, and were alternately either smothering or ignoring Ariel.
This book would appeal to all age groups, the teenage/young adult will enjoy it for the look into Ariel's life, the paranormal reader will enjoy the mystery/strange happenings. There is some violence; there are mean girls after all, but nothing graphic. There is a sweet romance blooming between Ariel and Henry but is exactly as it should be for teenagers of their age. While there is a definite ending, there is also a set up for a sequel, which I for one can't wait to read. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery mixed in with some good spooky, strange happenings wrapped up in a teenage coming of age package.
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team