The Haunting of Jessica Kane
Fun, Engaging Paranormal Action
Jessica Kane is forced to move to the small town of Druid’s Hollow under the care of her Aunt Ruby while her alcoholic mother is busy going through rehab. Trying to fit in with a completely new crowd of teens is never easy, but when see begins seeing ghosts almost immediately upon her arrival, her chances of being just another face in the high-school crowd go right out the window.
Falling in with a rather motley band of misfits, Jessica realizes that evil things are brewing when one of her classmates turns up dead. And so it falls to her and her new friends to battle a dark force attempting to gain a foothold in the earthly realm.
What I loved:
The story is pretty fast-paced, only dragging in a couple spots. Most of the supporting characters are well-developed, especially Macy (who was just adorable). The jock-nerd combo of Brad and Asher, polar opposites who have found friendship and common ground despite their vast differences, was a refreshing twist. All they were missing was a talking Great Dane and a multicolored van!
The parts that were meant to be “scary” were very well written. It’s tough to write scenes like this without them feeling cliché, but it didn’t feel that way to me. The kids showed some smarts, talking it out before rushing blindly into danger.
The scenes of “typical” high school interaction were also very crisp and oftentimes funny, which is a necessity when writing contemporary YA fiction. I also enjoyed the undertones of romance between Jessica and Jackson, which were cute but not overdone.
What I didn’t love:
The story does move along at a good clip, except for one section when several supporting characters’ back-stories are told, at length. While it was nice to learn more about these characters, I think the story would have been better served if the back-story could have been sprinkled in among the narrative; having it told all at once slowed the pace down to a crawl.
Jessica was a good main character, and though most of the story centers on her, I feel like she could have been fleshed out a little bit more. We get brief snippets of what drives her actions, but I would have liked for the author to go even deeper.
My Final Verdict:
I would highly recommend this book to lovers of YA Paranormal fiction. It is fast-paced, well written, nearly flawlessly edited, with an interesting ensemble of characters and an excited climax. Readers will totally fall in love with Macy!