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)
912   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 (400)

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

  • YABC Book Haul - March 2015

    We are super excited! The March 2015 YABC Book Haul is here! Over 100 books of pure awesomeness.  This month, Clint from the Nerd Riders is hosting along with his special guest, Loki. What are your favorite titles in this month's YABC Book Haul? Let us know in the comments below ...

  • INSURGENT - Drive Through Movie Review

    *****NO SPOILERS***** Yay! It's another #YAMovieDay and this one is HUGE! YA lovers all over the world have been eagerly awaiting the big screen arrival of INSURGENT. Does it live up to the hype? Here's what the Nerd Riders think.  QUESTION: You are Divergent, but only in two Fa ...

  • It's live!! Cover Reveal: Strike by Delilah S. Dawson + Giveaway (US Only)

      Hello, YABCers! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for STRIKE by Delilah S. Dawson, releasing March 2016 from Simon Pulse. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Delilah:   If you've seen the HIT cover, you know that it's utterly unique ...

  • Giveaway: Public School Superhero by James Patterson (US Only)

    PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts Illustrated by Cory Thomas In stores March 16, 2015   About the Book In this story about a good kid with a great imagination struggling in a less-than-ideal world, James Patterson brings his bestselling ...

  • An Ember in the Ashes - Character Trailer and Giveaway!

    On April 28th, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES will hit the shelves of your local bookstore. The staff at YABC are super excited about this story! Here's a peek at the synopsis:   I WILL TELL YOU THE SAME THING I TELL EVERY SLAVE.   THE RESISTANCE HAS TRIED TO PENETRATE THIS SCHOOL CO ...

  • CINDERELLA - Drive Through Movie Review

    *****NO SPOILERS******* Yay! It's another #YAMovieDay and The Nerd Riders, Kristin and Clint, share their thoughts on the highly anticipated Disney live action film CINDERELLA.      QUESTION: If you could ask for one thing from your Fairy Godmother, what would ...

  • Author Jodi Meadows' Top 5

    Today we welcome Jodi Meadows, author of THE ORPHAN QUEEN and the INCARNATE trilogy, to the blog. She's giving us her top five reasons why she loves fantasy. We love fantasy too (especially Jodi's new book THE ORPHAN QUEEN, which is basically Batman meets Game of Thrones with some swoon thrown in ...

  • Giveaway: City Love by Susane Colasanti (US Only)

    City Love by Susane Colasanti Release Date: April 21, 2015   About the Book Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna are living together in New York City the summer before their freshman year of college begins. With no parents, no rules, and an entire city to explore, these three girls ...

  • Giveaway: As White As Snow by Salla Simukka (US Only)

      As White As Snow by Salla Simukka Release Date: March 3, 2015   About the Book The heat of the summer sun bakes the streets of Prague, but Lumikki’s heart is frozen solid. Looking to escape the notoriety caused by the part she played in taking down Polar Bea ...

  • Giveaway: Things I’ll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves by Ann Angel & Various Authors (US & CAN Only)

      Things I’ll Never Say: Stories About Our Secret Selves Written by: Ann Angel Kerry Cohen Louise Hawes Varian Johnson erica l. kaufman Ron Koertge E. M. Kokie Chris Lynch Kekla Magoon Zoë Marriott Katy Moran J. L. Powers Mary Ann Rodman Cynthia Leitich ...

  • THE DUFF - Drive Through Movie Review

    *****NO SPOILERS***** The Nerd Riders just saw an early screening of THE DUFF and are here to give you theirYA review.  Question: Would you rather be a DUFF or the DUFF's friend?      ...

  • It's live!! Cover Reveal: Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin + Giveaway (US Only)

      Hi, YABCers, and welcome to today's cover reveal! Today we're super excited to celebrate the cover reveal for WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin, releasing October 6, 2015 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Before we get to the cover, here's a note from Ryan:   ...

View more blog entries

Latest Book Listings Added

Category: Kids Fiction
When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
When Aidan and Maggie find a fairy cross while rock-hunting with their grandfather, it's just an oddity. But when they...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this unforgettable teen romance that fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti will devour, Quinn Sullivan falls for the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A powerful and gripping contemporary YA from the author of I'm Not Her that's "Just right for fans of Sarah...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins is sassier than ever in this page-turning follow up to Rebel Belle, perfect...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Last Order
Category: Young Adult Indie
Lana Crewe is a strong, fiercely driven seventeen year old living in a village ruled by fear. With their king...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a "wise, wildly unique"...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Does it get better? The New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tricks explores the highly charged landscapes of...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because...
 
4.0
 
3.0 (1)
Does anyone ever see us for who we really are? Jo Knowles’s revelatory novel of interlocking stories peers behind the...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
When you live in a volcano, ride to school in a helicopter, and regularly see your dad on the news...
 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
It all starts with one little lie… Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of...
 
3.7 (2)
 
3.7 (1)
Category: Kids Indie
The goal of The Quaint and Quizzical Cosmos series is to introduce deep human history to kids in a fun...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian. When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Young Adult Indie
Ever since her mother died Aimee Pittman has dreamed of attending college in her mom’s home country of Neahovia. When...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the same vein as Gayle Forman's I Was Here comes a novel from the gifted author of Faking Normal,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This Book is Gay
A funny and pertinent book about being lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, transgender or just curious - for everybody, no matter...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Montecitoimage.png
Category: Young Adult Indie
Montecito, a place where generous trust funds and secrets are plentiful. This dramatic series has many twists and turns, all...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Category: Kids Fiction
Twelve-year-old Alistair Cleary has washed up on shore. But where? It seems to be Aquavania, the magical realm where children...
 
0.0
 
4.0 (2)