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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on February 5, 2012
This was a pretty creepy story. It reminded me a lot of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes (one of my favorite books of all time). The books don't have much in common except for the spooky supernatural element that lingers on every page in the book.

The story line was highly original in this book. There are several things going on at once. First, there is this ominous radio that has haunted generations of Caverhill women. You don't know whether it is run by a force of evil or not until the end of the story. Then, there is the demonic train conductor that is determined to capture Ashlyn on his train. Those two supernatural elements are in constant motion while the other plots have their turn. For the romance lover, there are tons of smooches and a few hot moments between Ashlyn and her boyfriend, Caden. Although the insta-love aspect annoyed me a bit, I managed to overlook it.

The best part of this book was the character Rachel. She was the so-called "town witch." However, she was far from a witch. While she did wear gothic like clothing and go out of her way to spook people in the small town, she had many secrets. She was the victim of horrible abuse at home, and her pain was evident in every word she spoke. I think of all the characters in the book, she was the best written and the most believable. I loved her.

I'm not a huge fan of horror fiction, but this one held my attention. There was enough suspense to keep me eagerly turning the pages until the very end. I even got a little misty eyed at some points in the story! I would give this one a solid 3 ½ flashlights, but since I don't do half ratings, a three will have to do. There are some "harsh" words and sexual content that make this one suitable for the older YA reader.
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on February 24, 2012
I'm with others who didn't like the "insta-love" component of this book (and that the male love interest, is, of course, SO perfect), but, hey, I'm long past YA. As far as its "steaminess" factor, it certainly can't compare with Judy Blume's "Forever," but I wouldn't recommend it to "the younger ages" of YA.

What the book has going for it is some serious creepiness, lots of unanswered questions (all answered by the end of the book), and a resolution that is certainly satisfying on at least one, if not all, levels. (To avoid spoilers, I'll just cryptically say that what Ashlyn learns about key people in her life near the end of the book is satisfying.)
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on September 28, 2011
Ashlyn's Radio was one of the creepier books that I've read in a while. Ghost trains? Possessed household appliances? A terrifying soul-stealing conductor who is evil personified? An inevitably doomed fate? Wilson Doherty, a collaborative writing team made up of Norah Wilson and Heather Doherty, did an excellent job of steadily building the mounting tension and using their vivid, detailed descriptions to capture those feelings of pure horror and dread. The radio in particular gave me chills, and I'm sure they'll be satisfied to know that for the last few nights, I've been totally creeped out by the television in my bedroom. You know... just in case it decides to turn on by itself and start spouting dire predictions of the future in technicolor.

Yes. I'm a total wimp with an incredibly overactive imagination. But I digress...

The books I tend to enjoy the most are the ones in which I'm able to create a real emotional connection to the characters or a specific character. For some reason, I had a lot of trouble connecting to Ashlyn in the beginning. I'm still not exactly sure why. But thinking more about it, perhaps it's because she actually acted more like a typical teenager than most YA protagonists. Most of the heroines in today's young adult fiction have a real gravity to them, wisdom beyond their years, a better grasp of the consequences of their actions; they're more adults than kids. And in the paranormal genre, this is due largely to the life-and-death, world-ending situations that authors throw their young characters into. That's not to say that there aren't extremely mature teens out there, there are. And that's not to say I find Ashlyn to be extremely immature, I don't. I find Ashlyn refreshing in that she acts seventeen - her age. It's nice to meet a character who's not a 30-year old trapped in a 17 year old's body, I just didn't connect with her as much as I would've liked and that might have had more to do with my own age (shhh!) than anything else. However, I think Ashlyn's character, once she realizes what she's up against, matures as a result of her situation and I found her a lot more relateable toward the end of the novel.

The character I felt the strongest connection to was Ashlyn's friend, Rachel. The authors did an excellent job bringing her to life - her vices, fears, her deep-seated emotional troubles, her issues - and they've created this wonderfully paradoxical character who is a strong personality, unique and witty and yet completely vulnerable and emotionally broken. This girl has real problems and not just of the paranormal variety. She is a sympathetic character who steals each of her scenes and who sees a real transformation over the course of the book.

Another thing I really enjoyed about Ashlyn's Radio was the romance. Though slightly venturing into insta-love territory, the detour is forgiven, because Caden is just so adorable, sweet, funny....and a photographer. Their connection feels genuine, even though it develops quickly. Another thing I appreciated about Wilson Doherty's portrayal of Caden is that he's a person of color, an African American. How incredibly refreshing! I really believe that racial and ethnic diversity is something sorely lacking in today's young adult US market and kudos to the authors for breaking out of those stereotypical young adult molds.

While there were many things I loved about Ashlyn's Radio there were just a few things that didn't quite work for me. The origins of the train and radio were a little confusing and didn't thrill me as much as I had hoped. That said, the fast pace and well-crafted tension helped ease some of this. But while the revelations were interesting, I was hoping for that gasp-worthy, "AHA!" moment. I also wish that more of the creepy, small town vibe would've been communicated through the residents of Prescott Junction. I felt like I really didn't get to see much of the town, let alone memorable, quirky individuals. It could be that I read this coming off of a "Haven" marathon - the paranormal SyFy show also set in a creepy, sleepy town in Maine - but I guess I was expecting a little more "Twin Peaks" than I ended up getting.

I also feel it's important to note that there are some heavier, non-paranormal themes going on in this novel such as abuse, substance abuse, self-mutilation, and to some extent, suicide. I wish that Ashlyn had been a little more proactive about seeking help for those people who had these issues, but the truth is - once again - that Ashlyn dealt with these issues like a teenager probably would. I think it's important for teens to realize however, that sometimes outside, adult help is needed to ensure the well-being of a friend or loved one.

Overall, Ashlyn's Radio was a deliciously creepy, fun and fast-paced read that I would recommend to anyone who loves spine-tingling chills and thrills.
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on September 7, 2014
A book for all ages that appreciate good character development coupled with an intriguing story. As much involved in the story of a legendary ghost train that paralyzes the town of Prescott Junction are the characters that fear and embrace it. Asylum Caverhill comes to live with her elderly Aunt Maudette agreed her mother's breakdown. The Caverhill women are tuned in to the train practically through an antique radio which predicts the trains intentions which makes them oddities in the frightened town. Ashlyn takes under wing another local misfit, the goth witch, Rachel Riley. Seeing through her facade she protects her from an abusive family, suspicious town folk and the lure of the train. Add in Caden Williams the level headed love interest and you have well written characters that are totally believable. The narrative is how young people would talk and express ideas. The characters are as much a force as the scary train. Coupled together makes this one enjoyable read.
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on June 11, 2012
Relocating to Prescott Junction, Maine (or Podunk Junction) Ashlyn Caverhill is subject to the torments of her Grandmother after a court rules her a minor with one of two options: relocated to Maine from Toronto and be with family; or get a foster family.

Ashlyn seems to be already keen about the family curse, that she will suffer it but not necessarily what it's specifics are. As time passes do we find out that a) in her grandmother's basement is a prescient radio which has been infused with a power unlike any radio ever before and b) running through the town is a ghost train who's conductor is eager to possess the Caverhill souls, or any other person looking for a ticket out.

As things wind down and Ashlyn realizes her friends are in trouble as is the soul of her long departed father she is informed... in a way, by her radio what it is she needs to do so as to save the souls of those aboard.

A young adult read that is mushy at points, has it's supernatural element and the stereotypic rebellious teen all culminating to save the day. A well written story that offers the riders redemption at the `end of the line'.
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on February 20, 2014
This book was the best. The character development was great and the plot was fantastic Once started, it was hard to put down... a real page turner...There were some twists that were unexpected...I would highly recommend it!
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on August 13, 2011
This book was really felt like you knew and conected with the characters (awesome character development)...the story flowed and it was very hard to put down...There were some twists that were unexpected...I would recommend it highly recommend it...
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on January 4, 2013
It was OK. The story was uninspired, but well-written. The ending was a bit anticlimatic in that the solve we had been waiting for was far too easy - it seemed that anyone could have saved them, not just the heroine. That being said, I did enjoy the writing. I look forward to reading more of her books.
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on March 10, 2012
I loved Ashlyn's Radio. I couldn't put it down. The suspense writing kept me turning the pages. I was happy with the ending. Happy to have the Mother freed from her hospital bed. I don't want to give all the details of this novel because you must read it but will say I was happy when the radio finally collected dust and stopped its nightmare for the family. Great writing!
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on March 20, 2012
I wasn't sure what to expect when I got the book. The sample that I got convinced me to buy the whole book. Well worth the price. Yes, it was scary and made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Prescott Junction would not have been a place I would visit. Get this book!! Once you start it will be hard to put down.
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