Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading .. Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Just Finished Reading .. Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe

Reviews of great standalone Young Adult books

Review: Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe

Review of Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe. When an heiress goes missing, a former foster child gets hired to impersonate her and claim her inheritance.



Ghost Flower
by Michele Jaffe

April 12, 2012

Razorbill

Source: bought from independent bookstore

Tagline: It started like a fairytale, but it became a ghost story.

My summary:  Eve is one mistake away from losing her job at a Tucson Starbucks when two well-dressed siblings drift in and make her an offer she can't refuse: impersonate their missing cousin Aurora and collect her inheritance. Eve agrees and her two new employers, Bain and Bridgette, teach her everything she needs to know about the Silverton family and the rest of Aurora's social circle.

Everything seems to be going fine ... until Eve begins to discover things that make her uneasy. Like the fact that Aurora disappeared right after her best friend Liza died under mysterious circumstances. Like the fact that Liza's ghost appears, warning Eve that her life is in danger. That maybe Eve is expendable once Bain and Bridgette come into a fortune.

My take: This book had a few superficial similarities to The Lying Game by Sara Shepard: the Arizona setting, and the former foster child who agrees to impersonate her lookalike. It also has a dash of Pretty Little Liars, as Liza's ghost sends Eve cryptic messages via cell phone. There are plenty of differences, too. The characters in this book are a bit older than in the typical YA. Aurora disappeared her senior year of high school, and this story begins three years later. (Please see correction below.)

Michele Jaffe is a skilled writer who really kept me guessing as I tried to figure out what happened to Liza and what was about to happen to Eve. There are some fantastic secondary characters -- like the hilarious Coralee, a seemingly ditsy socialite who's plotting world domination through her own reality show. Or Colin Vega, Aurora's grief stricken secret boyfriend.

As I was reading, I was thinking to myself, wouldn't it be cool if [redacted for spoilers]. Amazingly, that's exactly what I got at the end of this book: a big surprise.  I love endings like that, but they aren't without risk. The writer who holds out for the shocker ending is putting all his or her eggs in one basket. If readers don't buy it, if reviewers spoil the surprise, or if all the groundwork isn't painstakingly laid, everything can fall apart.

In Ghost Flower, it worked pretty well. I was still confused about a couple of things. But all in all, Ghost Flower was an eerie, suspenseful story that kept me on edge right up until the end.

If you like books with a spooky vibe and a shocker ending, you could also try:

Tighter
by Adele Griffin









If you like books about someone impersonating their lookalike, have you read:


The Likeness
by Tana French









What do you think about impersonation/lookalike stories? Are they becoming overdone? I never get tired of them!

CORRECTION posted 8/19/12:
I was contacted by an anonymous blog reader about a mistake in this review. I apologize -- I try to get my facts right! The characters in this book are NOT "new adult" aged. They're 17. Aurora disappeared when she was 14. I'm assuming that my confusion stems from the fact that there's a lot of jumping around between past and present in this book and that, to me, these characters do seem -- and act-- older than 17. I went back and read some Goodreads reviews and it seems I'm not the only one who finds aspects of this book confusing. But if you ever find a mistake in my reviews,  please let me know. You don't have to do it anonymously. I won't be offended. Just use the "contact me" link on the left sidebar.
Thanks, Jen

18 comments:

  1. This sounds like a really cool book. I have never heard of it. I love books that can surprise me though. Thanks for the great review!!

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    1. No problem -- thanks so much for stopping by!

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  2. This is the first I heard of this book but it sounds really good. And you connected it to two of my favorite shows so I will be needing to check this book out.

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    1. I stopped watching PLL but am totally addicted to the Lying Game. Maybe this book will help tide you over until the show is back on the air!

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  3. I'm too chicken to read books with "spooky vibe"... I gave away my copy of Possess when I realized it's about exorcism of some kind.

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    1. Really?? I'm always fascinated by what people find scary. I think zombies are too scary, but I'm okay with ghosts, witches, vampires, etc.

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    2. Zombies freak me out too... Ghosts also depending on how the story is told. And sometimes vampires. I just woke up from a vampire nightmare.

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  4. Ooh, this one sounds good. And I need to read The Lying Game soon! I think I'll check it out from my library once I get some of my other books read. Great review, as always, Jen! ;)

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    1. The book is really different from the TV show and when I try to read and watch at the same time, I get confused. The book is kind of Lovely Bones, with one dead twin who's a ghost. In the TV show, they're both alive.

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  5. The cover & the premise got my attention. This is the first I have heard of GHOST FLOWER. I kind of like the idea of characters being a bit older.

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    1. I hadn't heard of this one either, but I did enjoy it!

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  6. Oh I LOVE spooky vibes! And I didn't know this was a "New Adult" read, BONUS! I haven't yet read The Lying Game or Pretty Little Liars (or seen the shows) so this would probably be completely original to me:) And again, I love the similar books listed at the end. Have you read Tighter? I read Picture the Dead by A. Griffin, but nothing else by here:)

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    1. I did read Tighter and have also read her other YA book, the name of which escapes me.
      Picture the Dead was interesting -- I read that too!

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  7. I hadn't heard of this book before but it does sound good! I'm all for spooky! I won "Tighter" on a book blog but haven't gotten a chance to read it yet. You know that problem with too many books? LOL

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  8. The big twist at the end can sometimes be fun or sometimes ruin a book. I find that I hate when the big twist is something like it was all a dream or Fight Club like where the other person was all in their head the whole time. But I do like some surprises. And like you said a lot of time reviews can ruin the twist. There is this one book I really wanted to read but someone said in their review that it was all in the girls head and I was like darn that is no fun! I like books where people switch places or try to take over another person's life. I just checked out Double from the library where this guy is going to take over another missing guy's life.

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    1. I haven't heard of Double. I'll check it out.
      And reviewers who ruin the surprise are terrible!!

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  9. Ooooh! I met Adele Griffin a couple of months ago and I bought Tighter at the event! I still haven't read it, but now I am seriously considering bumping it up on my list!! :)

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    1. Note: there is a minor error in this post and I will add a correction as soon as I am back online! Thanks to an anonymous reader for pointing it out.

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