True Magic is never an easy road. For sixteen-year old Abigail Renshaw, the terrifying nightmares are not the worst part. When apparitions start leaking out of the nightmares into her waking life—Well, that's a problem. But Abby's dealt with hallucinations before, and she's nothing if not resilient. Following clues from the nightmares, she convinces her mother to let her visit Harmony Springs, the small town in Florida where Abby was born, and where her grandmother still lives. There, Abby finds unexpected help from new friends: a compulsive teenage blogger named Molly Quick, and Molly's older brother Ray-Ray (a guy Abby really starts to like). The not-so-good news? Abby's apparitions might be real after all. And one of them wants to kill her.
Ghosts of Bliss BayouFeatured
Abby Renshaw is not a normal seventeen-year-old girl. She suffers from hallucinations wherein she sees ghosts, a malady she attributes to the “Renshaw curse”, a curse that caused her father to take his own life. When her mother secures a high-paying job in London, Abby decides to visit her paternal grandmother in the sleepy town of Harmony Springs, Florida. There, she discovers so much more about her ancestors, the “curse”, and herself, as she is forced to confront a dark, spectral being – which she dubs Shadow Man – that has designs on her and those she loves.
What I loved:
In a word, everything. Jack Massa’s writing style flows beautifully in this wonderfully-crafted YA paranormal story, keeping me turn page after page. Abby is an amazing character, brave and resourceful despite being well out of her element, and I connected with her immediately. Massa also surrounded Abby with a terrific cast of supporting characters: her Granma Kat, her new friend Molly (a compulsive blogger and investigator), and Molly’s brother Ray-Ray (whom Abby quickly develops a crush on).
In books of this nature, I often find that the plot drags in places as the author feels the need to introduce a ton of back story, but not here. There is a great deal of history, but it is portioned out in just the right doses, and at no time did I lose the story. I applaud the amount of research the author must have done on elemental magic, Tarot cards, spirituality, and mysticism. All this knowledge came with a loving touch and never felt heavy-handed or overly zealous.
What I didn’t love:
I found maybe three or four typos in the entire text, which is phenomenal.
My Final Verdict:
Ghosts of Bliss Bayou gets a rare perfect score from me. I am so glad that I read this story, and I think any reader of YA Paranormal fiction would feel the same way. It goes without saying that I will be moving on to the sequel, Ghosts of Tamgrove Hall, in very short order.