By Marley Gibson
I enjoy Ghost Whisperer on television, so I thought this book might be interesting even though I hadn't read any of the series. The book stands well on its own and presents a story line well grounded in "today's" teen life, including school, dating, texting, etc. A number of students, however, have formed a group of ghost hunters--not just for fun, but to actually provide professional support for those who are haunted. Of course, there are some requests that are just toooooo weird:
"Oh, you'll love this one. We've gotten an e-mail from this guy in Savannah who insists that he has a 'haunted sandwich' in his house," ... "One James Pendergrass reports that he made a ham sandwich for his son, Jeffrey, age seven, two weeks ago, and before his son could eat it, a Civil War soldier came up out of the floor in his kitchen and went into the sandwich...Mr. Pendergrass claims that this turned the sandwich into a ghost and it's now haunting him."
This bit of comic relief comes throughout the book, bringing a smile or two. However, I did have to wonder why this group didn't "do" something in response to the request--do you just ignore somebody who has responded to your ad? My professional side felt everybody was owed at least an acknowledgment, even though I did enjoy the occasion break.
Kendall Moorehead is the main character. She is an orphan who was fortunate to be adopted by a wonderful supportive family. Kendall had recently begun to look for her birth father, based upon some guidance she had received...Kendall is psychic and apparently is very good at using her gift. But this time, the information was leading her to seek out a family member of, hopefully, her father. This side story is an intriguing addition and provided info on this important potential use of DNA testing.
The group's interest in older homes and the potential of ghost activity merges with homework when a historical display, focusing on the town's haunted past, was scheduled and a teacher required they attend and write a paper.
Anything that could potentially give off the appropriate vibes on their equipment was of interest to the ghost hunters, but when they learned that Xander the Doll was going to be part of the display, everybody knew they had to see him! The old doll was said to be cursed and was known to be found in places where he was not last placed and that household items had been destroyed, apparently by the doll. One of the ways to stir up trouble was by taking a picture of the doll...
And that's exactly what happened when one of the students decided to include pictures in her paper...
Those who participated in the picture taking began to have accidents and were told to write to the doll. When one of the most popular girls in town didn't take the time to write a letter of apology (yes, I'm serious). she was killed in an accident.
Then she became a ghost who helped Kendall since her gifts also included talking to the dead...
I liked the addition of a religious character who provided acceptance and support for the group. The supernatural is not something to delve into at any age, so I appreciated the author's awareness and inclusion of this character's guidance for our young ones. When you just spotlight what actually happened, and at least one individual being killed, it seems questionable whether they book is a suitable read for 12+ as listed. For me, late teens should be the target age for the book.
Still, for the appropriate age group, I found the book fun, different, and thoroughly enjoyable. The mix of a number of paranormal characters and situations might have been a "bit much," but the story moved quickly and engaged interest through to the very end, that even included many former slaves being guided into the light... If you enjoy paranormal stories, then this one should definitely be considered for its light entertainment value as opposed to indepth paranormal issues. Have fun and enjoy...