The Girl in the Locked Room: A Ghost Story
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
A family moves into an old, abandoned house. Jules’s parents love the house, but Jules is frightened and feels a sense of foreboding. When she sees a pale face in an upstairs window, though, she can’t stop wondering about the eerie presence on the top floor—in a room with a locked door. Could it be someone who lived in the house a century earlier?
Her fear replaced by fascination, Jules is determined to make contact with the mysterious figure and help unlock the door. Past and present intersect as she and her ghostly friend discover—and change—the fate of the family who lived in the house all those many years ago.
Not my favorite of her books. Normally she goes all out with the scary, even though she’s writing for kids. This one was just … weird. Ok, it has a ghost but then Hahn throws in some science fiction stuff about alternate realities and there’s kinda sorta time travel but not really. As a kids story, it was ok. As a ghost story, eh; I prefer my ghosts to be scary. As a horror story, it was no good. I wasn’t scared. I doubt anyone who reads it would be scared. The characters are ok, nothing really stands out about them. Oak Hill is fabulous but other than a few descriptions, it doesn’t even play a big part in the story. This book was just alright. Sure, I’d give it to a kid to read, but I wouldn’t expect an adult to get much out of it.
The In Between
Author: Marc Klein
Published: June 1, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 21- June 30, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
After bouncing around in foster homes for most of her childhood, seventeen-year-old Tessa Jacobs doesn’t believe she deserves love — not from her adoptive parents, and certainly not from anyone at school.
But everything changes when she has a chance encounter at the local movie theater with Skylar, a senior from a neighboring town who’s a true romantic. Their budding relationship quickly leads to the kind of passionate love you only see in the movies. And Tessa starts to believe she might be deserving of a happy ending after all.
When tragedy strikes, Tessa wakes up alone in the hospital with no memory of how she got there. And Skylar has passed away. As Tessa begins her relentless search for answers, Skylar’s spirit reaches out to her from the other side. Desperate to see him one last time, Tessa must unravel the pieces of their relationship — and the truth might even lead her into the afterlife itself.
The In Between is a sweet YA story that deals with first love and the loss of that love. Tessa has gone from foster home to foster home and feels she doesn’t deserve any kind of love and she has built up walls. One morning after snow has fallen, Tessa decides to go out and take photos with her ‘vintage’ 35 mm camera versus today’s digital camera. Photography is Tessa’s passion and she even develops the photos herself. And yes, she only takes black and white photos.
Taking a break from the cold, Tessa goes to the old movie theater to watch a film… That ends up being in French… And Tessa doesn’t know French…One other person comes into the theater who ends up sitting next to her and says he will translate for her. He’s a teenage boy around her age. His name is Skylar and this is the start of what will end up becoming first love for Tessa.
But this first love isn’t to last, as we know from the book description that Tessa wakes in the hospital with no memory and then has to be told that Skylar has died in an accident. And Tessa literally died and was brought back. She has a literal and figurative broken heart.
This is just the beginning of The In Between. The novel jumps back and forth from before the accident and just days after the accident. We see the relationship between Tessa and Skylar grow, and we also get some possible paranormal activity: Skylar is seemingly trying to reach out to Tessa from beyond the grave.
Yes, this story is an ‘insta-love’ one that mainly takes place over a summer, but it is a YA story and don’t most of those novels deal with insta-love? The chapters are short and this is a quick moving story that is a short novel at just over 300 pages. It appears that it will become a movie at some point, and I will see it. No, I did not cry reading the book though I wondered if I was going to as we already know the end of Tessa’s and Skylar’s story from the start. I do see myself crying when the film is released.
I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to the future film. Many thanks to the publisher for granting me a copy to read and review through Amazon Vine.[Top]
The Night Sister
Author: Jennifer McMahon
Published: March 8, 2016
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper’s kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel’s past, something that ruined their friendship forever.
Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock’s next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come.
I listened to this book on audio and thankfully, the narrator was a good one! It was a very easy listen and I was able to keep up without any trouble. The characters were mostly likeable and interesting. Even though many of them were younger during most of the story (different timelines), there wasn’t all that horrible YA drama. I was a little confused by the paranormal aspect. It was hinted at at the beginning, but I wasn’t really expecting it. Here I was, looking for metaphorical meanings, when in reality, the paranormal aspect was actually weaved through the plot. I get that paranormal is not supposed to be overly realistic, and unfortunately, I think it took away from the story. It felt a little anticlimactic.
Overall, this was a pretty good book; it’s got a horror tinge, without being super scary. I did very much love the Tower Motel as a setting! So I’d say it’s a good book to recommend to those who enjoy mysteries.[Top]