Saturday, February 16, 2013
Just Finished Reading ... Notes From Ghost Town by Kate Ellison
by Kate Ellison
Published by Egmont Teen
on February 12, 2013
Source: ARC from Paper Lantern Lit. My FTC disclosure is in the right sidebar.
Connect with the author: blog : Facebook.
My summary: Olivia's life is falling apart. She's an artist who's lost her ability to see in color. The doctors think the cause is all the stress in her life -- her boyfriend Stern was murdered, and her mother is in a mental hospital. When Stern starts appearing to her, insisting that the wrong person is being accused of his murder, Olivia starts investigating. The more she starts looking into the case, the more strange things she finds. Is she as crazy as her mother, or is she stirring up trouble that might put her in terrible danger?
My take: It was interesting to read this around the same time as Hysteria by Megan Miranda. It shows that two writers can take a similar premise -- a murdered boyfriend and a girl who begins to thinks she's crazy -- and come up with two completely different yet equally enjoyable books.
There were a lot of things that I really liked about Notes From Ghost Town. I enjoyed the writing. Olivia is an artist, and her narrative voice reflected her unique view on the world. The Miami setting was a highlight as well. I thought the author used different aspects of the city -- from a pier on the beach to Little Haiti to a still unfinished real estate development called the Elysian Fields -- to create very different moods.
The Elysian Fields -- ha. If memory serves, that's the afterlife in Greek mythology. While it doesn't seem like the place I'd want to check out model homes, the name fits in well with the whole spooky mood of the book, as does the so-called "Gray Space" that Olivia inhabits after she loses the ability so see in color, and the fact that she thinks she sees Stern's ghost.
Even though Stern is dead as the story opens, I felt like I got to know him through the affectionate banter he shares with Olivia. He was a talented pianist, and the fact that his life ended so prematurely and tragically casts a melancholy pall over the story. Whether he's a figment of her imagination or not, I liked him. While the "my mother is crazy and I might be too" scenario has been a popular theme in YA of late, it makes Olivia a very sympathetic character. But unlike Mallory in Hysteria, I never got the feeling Olivia was an unreliable narrator.
At the heart of Notes From Ghost Town is a mystery: who killed Stern? I definitely wanted to know. For me, the mystery wasn't at all hard to figure out. As each piece of the puzzle was presented, I was able to mentally snap it into place. But that didn't lessen my enjoyment of this book. One part suspense, one part paranormal love story, one part mystery, Notes From Ghost Town is an atmospheric and absorbing read.