I love reading more than just about anything else and can't wait to share my views with you.
This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Jade finally has what she’s always wanted: a nicer house in a bigger town. Her dad and stepmom has moved them from their small hometown to a bigger city with a better school system. She wonders how they can afford it since money was always what prevented this type of move before, but decides to just accept her good fortune. That is until she learns the reason they can afford it: the house was sold at a deeply discounted price due to the murder that occurred there months prior. With her little brother freaking out over a ghost in his room, she tries in vain to convince her stepmom that another move would be best, but eventually takes matters into her own hands. The only thing that will make Kayla (aka The Ghost) to leave is to find out who pushed her down those stairs. A difficult task, but Jade will do anything to protect her brother, even square off with the vicious popular crowd at school. Can she figure out who didn’t before Kayla’s patience runs out?
Can I just say creepy? Is that enough for a review. Maybe I’m a scary stuff wimp, but this gave me goosebumps every time I picked it up. Every. Single. Time. I don't think I've ever read anything that gave me the willies as bad as this did. On that same note, can I also say that the original cover was so much better?
I mean, look at it! It's so much creepier than a girl lying on a purple carpeted floor. The ARC I have actually has the original, with a big sticker covering it with the words "Revised Cover" at the bottom, I'm almost tempted to take it off, but I don't want to damage the book. I actually liked the new cover, until I saw the old one....anyway, I'm getting off topic, aren't I?
Jade was a character I didn't initially love. She was a bit too standoffish in the beginning, but it was clear that it was mainly due to lack of people she comfortable around than actual antisocial tendencies. Her devotion to her brother was endearing, but mostly I loved how she was always herself. Here is a girl who we never see put up a facade to get people to like her or do stupid stunts to get attention. She is who she is and you either like it or you don't. It was intensely refreshing to read from the eyes of a character who didn't pander to the popular crowd. She does become entangled in their group because that's the only way she can solve the murder, but she doesn't go out of her way to be accepted by them.
Then we have our dear sweet Donovan. He was Kayla's boyfriend and everyone at school believes he killed her, but one look into those sensitive eyes and anyone with a brain could tell this guy wouldn't hurt a fly, much less kill his girlfriend. He's sweet and artistic and adorable. Though he isn't making my list for top ten swoon-worthy male YA characters, I can definitely see the appeal.
Kayla, the ghost, was a straight up bitch. Seriously, this girl played everyone around her for her own gain or just for the hell of it. She was cruel at times, even by her own admission, and the fact that she tormented a little boy just to push Jade into finding her killer is beyond sick. Harrington definitely knows how to write a bad guy who is bad through and through. I can sympathize with anyone who decided to push her down those stairs because the bitch had it coming. Everyone around her had motive, even her supposed best friend, so watching Jade try to unravel this particular ball of yawn was intriguing to say the least. It made it that much easier to get on Jade's team for this impossible task.
I loved that we actually get to see parental interaction in this. I also loved that Marie straddles that line between bitch-y stepmom and geniunely caring parent. Jade's relationship with Marie was one that really caught my attention. Though Marie has been married to Jade's dad for many years, it seems like the two never got comfortable. I can imagine how difficult that must be, stepping into the mom role while trying not to completely overshadow or forget about the dead mother.
This has everything I was looking for and a few things I wasn't. I knew it would be a YA murder mystery, but I wasn't expecting the high creepiness factor. I really adored the whole thing and how engaging it is. Within the first 20 pages I was hooked and once I got past 100, I literally couldn't put it down, binge reading until it was over. It takes a dark turn because it's hard to avoid that when we are talking about teenage murder, but it leaves you with that hopeful feeling that everything will improve. It left me with a smile on my face, and really, what more can you ask?