Most teenagers worry about making friends and fitting in when they have to move. But what do you do when your new town is haunted, and on top of it all, you seem to have become some sort of homing beacon for every restless spirit in the area?
Kendall Moorehead is just a typical teenage-girl-next-door when her family moves out of the hustle and bustle of Chicago and into the quiet, sleepy town of historic Radisson, Georgia. Since the move, Kendall has had the annoying problem of not being able to sleep. But when she begins experiencing the pain of those around her and hearing strange voices, that's when she becomes really panicked. It's not until a chance encounter with local psychic Loreen Woods that Kendall is able to come to grips with what is really happening to her. Shes not schizophrenic (like her ultra religious mom thinks she might be). She's just psychic!
When Kendall confides in next door neighbor and newfound friend Celia about her abilities, Celia eagerly suggests they begin ghost hunting together. Kendall embraces her newfound gift with gusto, and vows to rid her home of the ghost she's made contact with, as well as the more pressing problem of a malevolent spirit taunting her father at work. Armed with an unlimited Amex and Celias bountiful knowledge of paranormal investigative tactics, the duo quickly assemble a quirky team of charismatic characters to assist them.
Ghost Huntress, Book 1: The Awakening was a fun, fast paced beginning to a spooky trilogy. Kendall was a likeable and believable teenager who just happened to be struggling with a unique gift. The drama of restless spirits added a nice contrast with familiar issues of teenage insecurity, family quibbles and relationship misunderstandings. Kendalls diverse ghost hunting team added an interesting dynamic to the book and I enjoyed their well drawn characters. One of my favorites was the recently popularity impaired Taylor Tilkins, a beautiful, talented photographer with a nervous tendency to blurt out French expressions. Celia Nichols, the walking encyclopedia of knowledge with an impressive ability to relate any situation to a Shakespearean quote, was my other favorite character.
There has been some criticism about Gibsons use of product naming in the book, and while I understand the potential for a book to become too dated down the road, I believe Gibsons teen audience will appreciate the numerous cultural references in Ghost Huntress and identify with Kendall even more because of them. However, older readers may become turned off by the constant product labeling and some editing down mightve helped the book connect with a much wider audience.
It was obvious when reading Ghost Huntress that Marley Gibson had done thorough research on ghost hunting equipment and techniques. I appreciated how she described in detail the basic types of equipment, but didnt lose the reader with too much technical jargon. Another interesting aspect of the book was the incorporation of personal and spiritual protection methods for ghost hunters. I never realized there was so much religion intertwined with ghost hunting. The scene where ghosts did actually appear are what really drew me in though.
BOTTOM LINE: Grounded in science, Ghost Huntress is an entertaining, spooky offering in what promises to be an exciting new ghost hunting series. Make sure to read the great excerpt at the end of the book for Ghost Huntress, Book 2: The Guidance due out in September too. Its a great teaser for the sequel!