Review by Rebecca Ford, JCSP Librarian, Collinstown Park Community College.
This book opens with a killer paragraph that had me gripped from the start “On my seventeenth birthday, two things happened. I came out to my family (somewhat by accident). And my sister Mandy disappeared. Died. … But I knew Mandy wasn’t dead.” We are soon immersed in Deena’s everyday life, and the threatening air of mystery that starts to become entangled with the regular everyday events of her school and relationship struggles. The book has an ominous start as we begin to feel Deena is haunted, and there is worse to come. Then events take a stranger turn, and we begin to wonder what is real and what is magical, what is lies and what is the truth. I would recommend this for lovers of historical fiction, who want to read something with a fantasy twist. I think maybe for Third Years and older, as it deals with some serious issues. It is an ambitious story, covering current issues and abuses from the past, while on a smaller scale it deals with intimate relationships and family dynamics. I found some of the action a little unbelievable, but I think when you are reading a book like this with magical realism mixed with contemporary issues you need to just jump right in and go with it. I thought the historical parts covering the older family tree were particularly interesting. You might like this book if you enjoyed books by Sarah Crossan, John Green or Louis Sachar. If you enjoy this book I’d recommend that you seek out the author’s other books – The Accident Season and Spellbook of the Lost and Found. You might also enjoy a blast from the past and try some books by Paul Zindel – who is talented at creating off-centre family dynamics and quirky stories.
Young Adult Fiction