- Series: Amber House (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (October 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0545434165
- ISBN-13: 978-0545434164
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 62 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #696,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amber House (Amber House, Book 1) Hardcover – October 1, 2012
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There are no ghosts in Amber House, only currents of time and echoes of the lives once lived there. Women in Sarah’s family have always seen these echoes and most were labeled crazy. After her grandmother’s death, Sarah, her mother, and her five-year-old brother travel to Amber House to ready it for sale, and Sarah finds she, too, is seeing scenes from the past trapped in time. Despite a contemporary Maryland setting, the highly descriptive, lush prose and Sarah’s strong, first-person point of view lends an atmospheric, gothic feel to this first book in a planned trilogy, which stands alone quite well. Time shifts, ghostly apparitions, and a mansion that practically becomes another character, with its hedge maze and hundreds of years of hidden family secrets, serve as a backdrop to an extravagant sweet-sixteen masquerade ball and a hunt for lost diamonds. The mother-daughter author team’s deft handling of family dynamics, believable characterization, and twist on the now ubiquitous love triangle will leave readers eager for more. Grades 9-12. --Charli Osborne
"The story flows, building suspense and enticing the reader from page one. Additionally, the authors explore a variety of subjects with grace and tact, from Sarah's little brother's autism to ownership in her family's history. The mother-daughters team even explores the relationship between Sarah and her distant and somewhat cold mother. This is a novel, with two more forthcoming, that has the potential to appeal to a very large audience." -- Kaitlin Connors, Voice of Youth Advocates
"The ghosts of the past haunt the present in this complex tale of family secrets and lingering loss, first in a planned trilogy from Moore and her daughters. After the death of 15-year-old Sarah’s grandmother, Sarah and her family move into Amber House, a sprawling, centuries-old Maryland mansion that has been in the family ever since it was built. There, Sarah is beset by visions of the past, quickly learning that the house is almost alive, filled with ghosts and memories. As she and her new friend Jackson, the grandson of a longtime family friend, search for a treasure supposedly hidden in Amber House, they’re drawn into a mystery that spans generations, and only Sarah has the ability to fix things before tragedy strikes again. Lush descriptions and an intricate plot drive this intense tale, which straddles the lines between magical realism, fantasy, ghost stories, and horror, with a touch of romance and classic glamour. The result is something rich, strange, and utterly fascinating." - Publishers Weekly starred review
"After the death of their estranged grandmother, sixteen-year-old Sarah Parsons and her little brother accompany their mother on her return to the old family estate, Amber House, to settle finances and prepare to sell the house. Already a bit of an ice queen, Sarah’s mother is particularly cold and distant at her childhood home, and Sarah can understand why: although the spectacular mansion is both enormous and filled with luxury, the shadowy halls and dusty rooms are unsettling, to say nothing of the strange noises heard at night and the occasional echoes of childish laughter through the home. Things get even creepier as Sarah investigates the history of house with the help of two neighbors—both, of course, handsome and mysterious guys—and discovers that the sins of her ancestors may have cursed the house, a suspicion she thinks is confirmed when her brother inexplicably falls into a coma. Swift plotting combines with vivid, cinematic prose to make this gothic tale compulsively readable, and an unexpected ending elevates the story beyond the genre. Fans of ghost stories will appreciate the classic elements here, from the disembodied voices to the ancestral home with a sordid past, but they will also be pleasantly surprised by the time-bending element that comes into play in the latter half. Relationships are well developed, particularly Sarah’s mix of animosity toward and sympathy for her mother, while the romance between Sarah and a neighbor boy begins simply enough but is then organically revealed to be a fateful, life-changing connection that will leave readers swooning. Complex, elegant, and haunting, this is a book that deserves to be read in one sitting." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred review
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On a complex familial level, the multi-generational ghost story (or... is it reincarnation? or super powers? You decide...) had me hooked from the first page at the funeral of a lifelong matriarch. The characters were richly drawn and easy to root for. Even with the main character drawn into the cliche of the dreaded love triangle, it felt short lived, and with the characters acting realistically and as teenagers do, I was not distracted by it, nor did I feel it hampered the story in any way.
I cannot even begin to describe the plot without either giving everything away or totally butchering the journey you will embark when you open this book. It defies genre, it defies explanation. It has mystery, romance, horror, drama, humor, paranormal, history - everything and more. And I cannot say enough how wonderfully it was written. You could feel the rustle of the rich fabric of her first real party dress. You could feel his longing, his fear, as he flashes back - and forward - and leaves you hanging as to whether or not the character has a divine power, or is just incredibly lucky. You feel the tiny flashes of fear in the pit of your belly when the younger brother speaks reverently - and fearfully - of the mirror.
I cannot emphasize enough on how much I enjoyed this book. I was so saddened by the story ending and was delighted to find it is the first of a planned trilogy.
Never have I been more excited to order a sequel in my life.
For those who are into love triangles in steps Richard and Jackson. These boys are so different and come from two very different worlds. Richard is the poster boy that most girls drool over. He is blonde, tall, smooth, charming, and rich. I had my issues with him in the beginning. Everything came easy for him. The girls loved him and he had everything money could buy. This made him cocky and he had a dangerous streak that could get him into trouble. As I continued to read it turns out that things are not as perfect for Richard as it seems but if you want to know what is not perfect you will have to read the story. Then you have Jackson who I liked from the beginning and rooted for throughout the whole story. He is the opposite of Richard he is tall and dark. He has scars on him from an accident as a child. He is hard to get to know because in the beginning he kind of is distant but he opens up throughout the book and you get to see his sweet funny side. Turns out he has a secret though. Again if you want to know his secret definitely read this book.
There are other important characters also that I should mention. First there is Sarah's mom. From the beginning she comes off as cold and unfeeling. It is very hard to like her. She never thinks of anyone else and she doesn't think before she speaks so sometimes she says the meanest things to or about her children. As the story progresses you think that there is no redeeming quality in this woman. Then Sarah sees something with her gift that sheds a new light on Sarah's mom and why she is the way she is. A deep tragedy that affects Sarah's whole family. The other character that was dear to my heart was little Sammy, Sarah's five year old brother. Sammy is a little autistic. He is a sweetheart though. He is always reminding Sarah to say thank you. Also when they came to Amber House he "gave" Sarah her room. Throughout the book Sammy is acting weird and no one seems to realize it.
I loved this book. The authors Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed do an amazing job getting you interested right from the beginning. The first sentence of this book is, "I was almost sixteen the first time my grandmother died". Now this could mean anything such as she died and the doctors were able to revive her or it could be something more magical. I had to find out what they meant by this sentence. Also they do such wonderful jobs on the characters. There is Sarah who is at an age where she is trying to figure out who she is and she is thrown into a world where she is more than just an ordinary girl and all these memories keep popping up of her ancestors. You feel for her and want her to succeed. Then there is Sammy who is a dear right from the beginning and is the perfect little brother. Next you have Sarah's mom and Richard. I just could not like them in the beginning but as the book progressed I started to like them. It takes some very good writing to make you like someone who was just not likable in the beginning. Lastly the way they describe the house and all the rooms in it. I wanted to live in the house even with all its memories of the past whether good or bad. I am looking forward to the next book where hopefully they will tell more about Jackson. It cannot be released fast enough for me. I recommend this book to all girls of all ages. You do not have to be a young adult to read this book and like it.