Author: Lee Nichols
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 06/08/10
When Emma Vaile's parents leave on mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. Throw some parties, get a tattoo (or maybe just a piercing), and enjoy the first few weeks of her junior year. Then her best friend stops talking to her, the cops crash her party, and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian -- her college-age "knight in J.Crew armor," Bennett Stern -- and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.
After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular legacy crowd. But she can't shake the strange visions that are haunting her. She has memories of Thatcher she can't explain, as if she's returning home to a place she's never been. Emma doesn't trust anyone anymore -- except maybe Bennett. But he's about to reveal a ghostly secret to Emma. One that will explain the visions... and make Emma fear for her life.
Plot: 5 Stars
The idea ghostkeeping was a very interesting and unique addition to the paranormal young adult genre. I really enjoyed that each ghostkeeper had a different skill. Too often when dealing with paranormal novels, the characters with powers always have very strong and wide-ranging powers. It was nice to see that most ghostkeepers could only possess one skill when dealing with ghosts. The events leading up to Emma ending up in Bennett's are quite surprising, and there were definitely some curve balls that I didn't see coming.
Pace: 5 Stars
This was a fast-paced novel that I just couldn't put down. I really enjoyed the novel being narrated by Emma. I don't think it would've been quite as enjoyable from third person, because you really got to know Emma and get into her head. Although there were many things going on outside of school, Emma continued going through the motions with classes. I always enjoy when an author remembers the little things and doesn't throw things like school out the window just because the paranormal aspect takes a hold of the plot.
Characters: 4 Stars
I was a bit skeptical of Emma in the beginning. She came off a bit shallow in the beginning, but I quickly warmed up to her as the story progressed. I hope future books deal a little more with her past because I felt there was a lot of unanswered questions from her childhood. Bennett was a great character, if a bit mysterious with his constantly disappearing to take care of things. The friends Emma made at Thatcher Academy were very interesting, without being cliched.
Cover: 4 Stars
This is one of those awesome covers that includes so many correct details from the story, that you can't help but notice. The cover model matches the description of Emma much better than many covers, and it even includes her mother's jade necklace. The mansion in the background depicts the museum she was living in with Bennett quite well. Even the smoke like image on the cover could be the shadows that plague Emma, since shadows wouldn't show up as well. All in all, this was a great cover.
Overall: 4.5 Stars
Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.