Monday, May 20, 2013

How Do You Decide what's Right for YA 12-? Fantasy Swirls Into Mature Subjects In My Opinion...

Cover of "A Certain Slant of Light"
Cover of A Certain Slant of Light
Under the Light

By Laura Whitecomb

This novel is somewhat of a sequel, to A Certain Slant of Light, which I didn't read. There is, however, sufficient reference to what happened earlier to make this book free-standing. If you like the concept, I recommend you read the first before this one to understand fully what happened...

Because when a ghost takes over bodies, well, they don't exactly fill in for the individual who had left that body!

Let's me just summarize important events surmised from the first book: Two mature individuals went into two teenager bodies and were intimate. A picture of that event was taken, probably by the brother of the teenage boy.

The family of Jenny, the main character in this new book, is very religious. Helen, the body invader, was shall we say quite different in her responses from those that Jenny would have given...

Helen finally does make it into heaven, after having used a number of individuals as hosts, and who indeed may have been helped--can't be sure...However, Jenny's body had been empty so she took it completely... While in heaven, she realized that she may have damaged Jenny's life...Duh...

So she comes back...

Now, when I first started reading, I had to hold my personal feelings in...this book is listed for ages 12-   I guess I tend to be much more conservative in what is read at that age...

Reading something seems to give actions some credibility, don't you think?

In any event, during the time that Jenny is out of her body, which she had self-taught to herself, given the abuse from her father, and the "acceptance" of her mother, she meets a boy who apparently is also out of his body, although this book doesn't show how that happened.

When Jenny comes back into her body, she, of course, has no idea what has happened in the interim. Needless to say, the majority of the book has Jenny catching up on that time period. And trying to explain she knows nothing about these actions!

The trouble with this book is that it is beautifully written. By that I mean, it was an enjoyable read. Jenny was a girl that readers will enjoy--and understand. I'm not so sure about Helen, unless she thought that the real person was never going to return to that body? But having died in a flood, thinking her daughter was also dead, then having had traumatic thoughts right at the point of death that left her...a little unbalanced?

The only thing I totally approved of to be learned about from the novel is that Jenny was able to mature during the time that she faced prejudices, and, finally stand up to her rigid father's actions. Even though her mother remained a wimp toward an abusive husband...

I hope this author turns to adult books for the future, so that she can fully explore her creative fantasy and imagination. But I really don't think I can recommend this one for 12 and above... Read some other reviews to get further information or read some excerpts... The ones I would want to share would be giving away too much of the story... Anybody want to ask questions, I'll be glad to share more...


Laura Whitcomb grew up in Pasadena, California in a mildly haunted house. She received her English degree at California State University at Northridge in 1993. She has taught Language Arts in California and Hawaii. She has won three Kay Snow Awards and was once runner up in the Bulwer-Lytton writing contest for the best first sentence of the worst Science Fiction novel never written. In her spare time she sings madrigals with the Sherwood Renaissance Singers and is the props mistress for the Portland Christmas Revels. She lives in Wilsonville, Oregon, with her son Robinson.

The movie rights for A Certain Slant of Light sold to Summit Entertainment, producer of the Twilight Saga movies. A Certain Slant of Light has been published in Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, Russian, Bulgarian, Polish, Turkish, and Taiwanese. The audio book is published by Listening Library. In 2005 ACSOL was also chosen for the "Discover Great New Writers" program at Barnes & Noble bookstores.

The Fetch was #5 in the top ten of Children's Indie Next List 2009 and was published as an audio book by Recorded Books. It was also published in Spanish and German.

Under the Light, the long-awaited sequel to ACSOL was published in May 2013. It will also be published in Taiwanese.
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