Notes From Ghost Town

Featured
 
4.0
 
2.8 (2)
2991 1
Notes From Ghost Town
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

1 reviews

Entertaining & Poignant
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
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.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
2.8
Plot 
 
3.0  (2)
Characters 
 
3.0  (2)
Writing Style 
 
2.5  (2)
Already have an account? or Create an account
Notes From Ghost Town
Overall rating 
 
2.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
2.0
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.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 0
Notes from Ghost Town
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
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.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

City of Spells (Into the Crooked Place, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
City of Spells, the follow-up to Alexandra Christo's gritty...
Ravage the Dark (Scavenge the Stars, #2)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Step into an opulent world filled with risk, romance,...
Sing Me Forgotten
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the...
Sweet & Bitter Magic
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of...
American Betiya
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A luminous story of a young artist grappling with...
The Fire in the Glass
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
To save someone she loves from brutal murder, a...
A Red Sun Rises
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Nine years ago, an unknown poison called the “Red” saturated...
The Story Blanket
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Babba Zarrah lives in a tiny village in the snow-covered...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Which side do you choose when your family is both...
Now That Night is Near
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
It's bedtime, and across the land everyone is settling down...
Mommy Loves You
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
With heart-shaped lift-the-flaps and a surprise mirror at the end,...
Calm Bunny (Yoga Tots)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Charming illustrations and step-by-step instructions take little ones through a...

Latest Member Reviews

Black Canary: Breaking Silence
 
3.0
"Years ago, the Court of Owls overtook Gotham City, ending the reign of superheroes and creating a new Gotham built..."
American Betiya
 
5.0
"AMERICAN BETIYA is a breathtaking contemporary read about identity, family, and racism. Rani is an Indian American with dreams of..."
In the Penalty Box
 
4.0
" The Story: Willow is a figure skater who has been sidelined from her team by an injury...."
Ravage the Dark (Scavenge the Stars, #2)
 
4.3
"RAVAGE THE DARK is a satisfying conclusion to a YA fantasy duology. In this sequel, we begin with Cayo, Amaya,..."
Thirty Talks Weird Love
 
5.0
"Thirteen-year-old Anamaria has an encounter from Thirty, a strange woman who insists she's from the future. Anamaria lives in Ciudad..."
Admission
 
5.0
"‘Admission’ by Julie Buxbaum is a modern and definitely current read on a topic that has been in the news...."
Running
 
5.0
"‘Running’ by Natalia Sylvester is a trend-setting anthem for anyone who has ever wanted to be the change they wish..."
City of Spells (Into the Crooked Place, #2)
 
4.7
"CITY OF SPELLS is a stunning conclusion to an enthralling YA fantasy duology. The book plunges us into the story..."
The Project
 
4.7
"What worked: This is one intense psychological tale of a girl trying to reconnect with her sister after she joins..."
Sweet & Bitter Magic
 
4.7
"SWEET & BITTER MAGIC is a lush and enthralling YA fantasy filled with magic, pain, and love. In this world,..."
Sing Me Forgotten
 
5.0
"SING ME FORGOTTEN is an enchanting, compelling, and unexpected YA fantasy retelling of Phantom of the Opera. In this world,..."
The Valley and the Flood
 
4.3
"Rose Colter is adrift. She can't be where she was staying for the holidays but she can't go home yet..."