Books Young Adult Fiction Notes From Ghost Town

Notes From Ghost Town Featured

http://www.yabookscentral.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x275s/09/43/15/14723_000-1360861714.jpg
 
4.0
 
2.8 (2)
718   1
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
13+
Release Date
February 12, 2013
ISBN
1606842641
Buy This Book
      
Olivia Tithe was excited for the summer and spending it with her best friend, Stern. But that was ruined when he was mur­dered...by Olivia's mother. Flashing forward, Olivia's life has been transformed since that awful night.

After her mother's incarceration, Olivia must move on, but she hates her father's new fiancée, Heather, and with her dad's new real estate development (she calls it Ghost Town) in the works, she barely sees him. But a new boy, Austin, has kindled feelings inside her that she hasn't felt since Stern's death.

Arriving at the same time as this new guy is a mysterious note that brings Stern's murder back to the forefront; Olivia knows that she must discover the truth behind her friend's death once and for all.

Editor reviews

What I Loved:

On the surface, this is a ghost story, but in reality this is a heartbreaking, hopeful, and often insightful look at the things that can break us and what it takes to get better. The author combines deft prose with a modern voice to bring a haunting journey into a mental breakdown to life. As the story progresses and Olivia becomes more and more confused about what is real and what is not, I began to feel desperate and off-kilter too. I found myself questioning everything and everyone. This is certainly a book that will keep a reader's interest from the first page to the last.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the setting. The author brings Miami to life in vivid sensory detail. I could see the heat shimmering off the pavement, hear the crash of the ocean's waves, and smell the heavy scent of sunscreen and flowers that hung in the air. The author used that same accomplished attention to detail to bring each character to vivid life as well. I simply can't overstate how beautiful the writing is. It was a treat to read it.

Finally, I really enjoyed the heroine Olivia. She's smart, creative, and strong in ways she doesn't always recognize. She's also terrified of becoming like her mother and when that fear rules her, she makes some big mistakes. I found myself wanting her to succeed, wanting her to prove that she wasn't insane, and wanting her to have a happily ever after.

What Left Me Wanting More:

I figured out the mystery much earlier than Olivia, and I wasn't scared for her even when I think I was supposed to be. I'll add the caveat that I really love horror and psychological suspense, so I may be harder to scare than the average reader. I think this is a fabulous ghost/mystery for YA readers who love a little bit of suspense but don't want to have trouble sleeping later. And, as I said in the beginning of the review, I don't think the point of this story is the ghost. The point is to examine how we can be damaged and hurt and yet still rise to the surface and find hope.

Final Verdict:

NOTES FROM GHOST TOWN is a compelling story, equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful, that will keep readers hooked from page one.
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
CJ Redwine, Editor Reviewed by CJ Redwine, Editor February 14, 2013
Top 10 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (378)

Entertaining & Poignant

What I Loved:

On the surface, this is a ghost story, but in reality this is a heartbreaking, hopeful, and often insightful look at the things that can break us and what it takes to get better. The author combines deft prose with a modern voice to bring a haunting journey into a mental breakdown to life. As the story progresses and Olivia becomes more and more confused about what is real and what is not, I began to feel desperate and off-kilter too. I found myself questioning everything and everyone. This is certainly a book that will keep a reader's interest from the first page to the last.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the setting. The author brings Miami to life in vivid sensory detail. I could see the heat shimmering off the pavement, hear the crash of the ocean's waves, and smell the heavy scent of sunscreen and flowers that hung in the air. The author used that same accomplished attention to detail to bring each character to vivid life as well. I simply can't overstate how beautiful the writing is. It was a treat to read it.

Finally, I really enjoyed the heroine Olivia. She's smart, creative, and strong in ways she doesn't always recognize. She's also terrified of becoming like her mother and when that fear rules her, she makes some big mistakes. I found myself wanting her to succeed, wanting her to prove that she wasn't insane, and wanting her to have a happily ever after.

What Left Me Wanting More:

I figured out the mystery much earlier than Olivia, and I wasn't scared for her even when I think I was supposed to be. I'll add the caveat that I really love horror and psychological suspense, so I may be harder to scare than the average reader. I think this is a fabulous ghost/mystery for YA readers who love a little bit of suspense but don't want to have trouble sleeping later. And, as I said in the beginning of the review, I don't think the point of this story is the ghost. The point is to examine how we can be damaged and hurt and yet still rise to the surface and find hope.

Final Verdict:

NOTES FROM GHOST TOWN is a compelling story, equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful, that will keep readers hooked from page one.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 

User reviews

Average user rating from: 2 user(s)

Already have an account? or Create an account
Overall rating 
 
2.8
Plot 
 
3.0  (2)
Characters 
 
3.0  (2)
Writing Style 
 
2.5  (2)
The story starts of with Olivia and Lucas-best friends, being cute and flirty, which escalated into a make-out session. Olivia ends up color blind, which is a huge deal because she is an artist. Lucas mistakes her reaction as a rejection and he fled the scene. They don’t talk for a week and soon Olivia finds out her mum killed him. After spending months avoiding everyone she sees Lucas’ ghost and he has some new, her mum wasn’t responsible for his death. So Olivia starts investigating to clear her mum’s name.

The main reason I love reading mystery and thriller novels is that they have a lot of spooky, unpredictable scenes. I did like this book more than I did Hysteria, the last similar book I’ve read but there was still something missing and that is the excitement of finally finding out who is the murderer which Notes From Ghost Town didn’t have. Sure, we find out who killed Olivia’s first crush but it wasn’t as gripping as I hoped.

So, first of, the main character is not annoying, which is a huge plus. She does ignore her best friend a lot . Olivia’s stepsister is the most adorable character I’ve come across this year. The new love interest, Austin, a rich an popular guy is also entertaining. For most of the part I think he kept Olivia from spending any more time alone. He got her out of her comfort zone.

I liked the book itself; the writing style was entertaining and didn’t bore me at all. I just wished it had a twist of two. It was a little bit too predictable for my taste. Still, a decent read.
Overall rating 
 
2.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
Zemira Reviewed by Zemira August 25, 2013
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (70)

Notes From Ghost Town

The story starts of with Olivia and Lucas-best friends, being cute and flirty, which escalated into a make-out session. Olivia ends up color blind, which is a huge deal because she is an artist. Lucas mistakes her reaction as a rejection and he fled the scene. They don’t talk for a week and soon Olivia finds out her mum killed him. After spending months avoiding everyone she sees Lucas’ ghost and he has some new, her mum wasn’t responsible for his death. So Olivia starts investigating to clear her mum’s name.

The main reason I love reading mystery and thriller novels is that they have a lot of spooky, unpredictable scenes. I did like this book more than I did Hysteria, the last similar book I’ve read but there was still something missing and that is the excitement of finally finding out who is the murderer which Notes From Ghost Town didn’t have. Sure, we find out who killed Olivia’s first crush but it wasn’t as gripping as I hoped.

So, first of, the main character is not annoying, which is a huge plus. She does ignore her best friend a lot . Olivia’s stepsister is the most adorable character I’ve come across this year. The new love interest, Austin, a rich an popular guy is also entertaining. For most of the part I think he kept Olivia from spending any more time alone. He got her out of her comfort zone.

I liked the book itself; the writing style was entertaining and didn’t bore me at all. I just wished it had a twist of two. It was a little bit too predictable for my taste. Still, a decent read.

Was this review helpful to you? 
Of the very many 2012 YA debut novels I read last year, Kate Ellison’s The Butterfly Clues was one of my favorites. I was captivated by this author’s gorgeous prose, unique and memorable protagonist, authentic romance, and well-written (if predictable) mystery. Notes from Ghost Town was one of my most-anticipated 2013 releases, and I jumped at the chance to read it. But within a few chapters, I was certain it had all been a mistake—this wasn’t the Kate Ellison I knew, and this wasn’t what I expected from her. What was going on? I promptly lowered my expectations and read on.

General notice: in the end, Notes from Ghost Town did win me over, and I enjoyed this book. However, I didn’t like this as much as Ellison’s debut, and I would have liked to see something edgier and less “safe” than this book turned out to be. But I did like it.

The problem, initially, was that I was confused out of my mind. I couldn’t tell what the progression of time was, and subsequently, I couldn’t decide if what I was reading happened before or after another scene. The first ten chapters or so were self-contained points in time, and I had trouble connected the dots. A little less than 50% into the book, Ellison found her groove and things began to make sense to me, though it was rather impossible for her to recover from the awkward opening chapters.

Notes from Ghost Town is narrated by Olivia, whose best friend, Stern, was killed by her schizophrenic mother. Except Olivia thinks her mom didn’t do it, so, with the help of not-so-bad bad boy Austin, she does some snooping of her own in order to clear her mom’s name. And…that’s basically the whole story, really. Stern’s ghost plays a fairly major role, and there was a cheesy “don’t walk into the light” scene in the end, but it wasn’t anything new to me. I was honestly pretty disappointed by how unremarkable this book’s plot is; it’s predictible, cliché, and probably unmemorable. Don’t get me wrong—I liked it and enjoyed the second half quite a bit, but this entire production felt very formulaic and dull to me. The budding romance with Austin, for example, followed a cookie-cutter routine: girl hates boy but is convinced into dating boy, boy and girl like each other, turns out boy is hiding something, girl is mad at being lied to and sends him away, boy apologizes and the two strike a truce, then boy and girl kiss. Been there, done that, times a jillion.

Also noticeably lacking from this book was the exceptionally memorable prose that was so present in The Butterfly Clues. While I wouldn’t say this book is badly written or in need of revision, I wasn’t wowed in the same way I was with Ellison’s debut. Quite disappointing.

On the good side, though, I did enjoy Olivia’s character a lot. I thought she was realistic and relatable, dealing with her mom as a mentally impaired murderer and her dad’s remarriage. I really love how authors and publishers are taking notice that readers really appreciate the incorporation of family dynamics into YA books, and Notes from Ghost Town is a novel that does a really great job with that whole issue.

And even though the ghostly elements were pretty standard and brought nothing new to the game, I do think they worked well in a cheesy “get over your first love” sort of way. (Actually, if one combined Cold Kiss with a murder mystery, you’d have this book down pat.)

Mostly, I feel that Kate Ellison took the safe bet in writing Notes from Ghost Town. It wasn’t a bad book, but it was formulaic and predictable. I liked it, still, but I hope this author’s next novel break standard YA molds a bit better than this did.
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Renae M Reviewed by Renae M March 25, 2013
Top 50 Reviewer  -   View all my reviews (184)

Notes from Ghost Town

Of the very many 2012 YA debut novels I read last year, Kate Ellison’s The Butterfly Clues was one of my favorites. I was captivated by this author’s gorgeous prose, unique and memorable protagonist, authentic romance, and well-written (if predictable) mystery. Notes from Ghost Town was one of my most-anticipated 2013 releases, and I jumped at the chance to read it. But within a few chapters, I was certain it had all been a mistake—this wasn’t the Kate Ellison I knew, and this wasn’t what I expected from her. What was going on? I promptly lowered my expectations and read on.

General notice: in the end, Notes from Ghost Town did win me over, and I enjoyed this book. However, I didn’t like this as much as Ellison’s debut, and I would have liked to see something edgier and less “safe” than this book turned out to be. But I did like it.

The problem, initially, was that I was confused out of my mind. I couldn’t tell what the progression of time was, and subsequently, I couldn’t decide if what I was reading happened before or after another scene. The first ten chapters or so were self-contained points in time, and I had trouble connected the dots. A little less than 50% into the book, Ellison found her groove and things began to make sense to me, though it was rather impossible for her to recover from the awkward opening chapters.

Notes from Ghost Town is narrated by Olivia, whose best friend, Stern, was killed by her schizophrenic mother. Except Olivia thinks her mom didn’t do it, so, with the help of not-so-bad bad boy Austin, she does some snooping of her own in order to clear her mom’s name. And…that’s basically the whole story, really. Stern’s ghost plays a fairly major role, and there was a cheesy “don’t walk into the light” scene in the end, but it wasn’t anything new to me. I was honestly pretty disappointed by how unremarkable this book’s plot is; it’s predictible, cliché, and probably unmemorable. Don’t get me wrong—I liked it and enjoyed the second half quite a bit, but this entire production felt very formulaic and dull to me. The budding romance with Austin, for example, followed a cookie-cutter routine: girl hates boy but is convinced into dating boy, boy and girl like each other, turns out boy is hiding something, girl is mad at being lied to and sends him away, boy apologizes and the two strike a truce, then boy and girl kiss. Been there, done that, times a jillion.

Also noticeably lacking from this book was the exceptionally memorable prose that was so present in The Butterfly Clues. While I wouldn’t say this book is badly written or in need of revision, I wasn’t wowed in the same way I was with Ellison’s debut. Quite disappointing.

On the good side, though, I did enjoy Olivia’s character a lot. I thought she was realistic and relatable, dealing with her mom as a mentally impaired murderer and her dad’s remarriage. I really love how authors and publishers are taking notice that readers really appreciate the incorporation of family dynamics into YA books, and Notes from Ghost Town is a novel that does a really great job with that whole issue.

And even though the ghostly elements were pretty standard and brought nothing new to the game, I do think they worked well in a cheesy “get over your first love” sort of way. (Actually, if one combined Cold Kiss with a murder mystery, you’d have this book down pat.)

Mostly, I feel that Kate Ellison took the safe bet in writing Notes from Ghost Town. It wasn’t a bad book, but it was formulaic and predictable. I liked it, still, but I hope this author’s next novel break standard YA molds a bit better than this did.

Was this review helpful to you? 
 
Powered by JReviews

LATEST YABC BLOG POSTS - BLOG TOURS, ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND GIVEAWAYS

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

Category: Kids Fiction
Big baking plans turn into tiny little cupcakes when Mia gets a fairy’s help for her neighborhood bake sale. Tinker...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
College was supposed to be perfect. She was supposed to be perfect. For Lily Drummond, life is about following...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
For fans of The Guild and Scott Pilgrim comes a story of Xbox, Denny’s, and awkward beginnings… Not too...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
You're Stormy Jones, a pregnant 17-year-old punk rock chick with "sky eyes" and a pink tipped blond Mohawk with spear...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
NEWNokosee Front CoverMorePix.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
Cultures clash, sparks fly, love blooms, people die, and two kids, one a little bit punk and the other way...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Indie
Rayne is bored with life, until a new family moves in next door. Why do they look so happy? Rayne...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
James Patterson introduces the best selling "illustrated fiction" format to teens! It's "Middle School" for high schoolers! In James Patterson's...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everlong Cover 2 Amazonprint.jpg
Category: Young Adult Indie
When love is a matter of life and death, it's not about losing your heart, but saving it. On...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Alissa Sullivan has high hopes that the new year will bring a fresh start for her and her best friend....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Alissa Sullivan has got it made -- a supportive, loving family, a cause she believes in, and her new boyfriend....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Alan Rivers wakes up one morning and discovers all the adults in his neighborhood and worldwide are in a deep...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally....
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Experience the wonder of the river in this haunting debut novel, where family is lost, friends are found, and hope...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Post tornado, the Soccer Tommies and Baseball Mommies compete for home field advantage. Is it ‘Win-Win’ or, will the community...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Jamie Henry breathed a sigh of relief when a judge sentenced his older sister to juvenile...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Like watching a movie frame by frame, we watch Lexi is come unglued in this novel in verse. She's alienated...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of Reader's Favorite 5-Star Seal Reader’s Favorite reviewer Patricia Reding says it best: “Just sixteen, pregnant, betrayed by boyfriend...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
One Night with the Prince
The rules were simple:. 15 girls were chosen from royal bloodlines to be with the Prince. They are given one...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
live performance by YA author
Category: Young Adult Indie
Love can make you do crazy things as Ruby Parker discovers when she dies and returns from the grave to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Its king murdered in cold blood by friend and foe alike, the once magnificent kingdom of Arenhed has fallen to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)