NOTES FROM GHOST TOWN
Paranormal young adult
Received from Media Masters Publicity for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
They say first love never dies...
critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery
of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old
artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas
Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she
can unravel the mystery of his death.
There’s a catch: Olivia
has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind
completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and
falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?
the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her
heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can
Notes from Ghost Town is one of those reads that lets us know from the first page that our hearts are going bear a few new scars once it’s done with us, our knowledge of Stern’s death thanks to the synopsis and prologue made an even heavier burden to bear given he’s alive briefly in the first chapter. Those few precious moments with him–a young man full of color, life, and love for his best friend–makes the abrupt transition from life to death all the more painful, the color we could have sworn we saw on those few pages we spent with him suddenly a stark black, a haunting echo of Livie’s own colorblindness.
Livie is someone we come to care for instantaneously, her nervousness over the subtle changes taking place between her and Stern something we wrap around our shoulders to preserve heat and ward off the chill we know is coming. The Livie we find waiting for us just one chapter later and almost ten months after Stern's murder is a very different young woman, someone we stare at long and hard searching for remnants the sweet and nervous art lover we just embraced, but ultimately finding a grieving, angry and painfully lost little girl in her place. While it’s hard to bear witness to the continued downward spiral Stern’s death has caused, we more than understand her inability to control how her hurt escapes the tight lockdown she tries to keep on it, often erupting with more volatility in order to get past her vise like grip than it would if she simply released it on her own.
Though she often lashes out at any who dare get close to her, Livie never comes across as needlessly cruel or gets to the point where her anger pushes us away as it does those around her, instead her words and actions only have us opening our arms up wider in the hope she might find some comfort in them despite her fictional status. Behind the pain of a two-fold loss in both Stern and her mother, Livie is also dealing with the appearance of Stern’s ghost, something that seems for her to be the confirmation of a very real and profound fear that her mother’s mental illness is beginning to manifest in her. Just when it seems as though we can’t possibly bear any more darkness in Livie’s life however, Ms. Ellison grants us a bit of beauty and light thanks to Stern’s presence, however real or imagined, their time together heavy with words unspoken and promise unfulfilled, causing grateful tears to well in our eyes just to see them reunited even knowing it’s only for a short time.
In addition to a stunning relationship between two best friends who ran out of time to be anything more, Ms. Ellison gives us a truly engrossing murder mystery, the circumstances of Stern’s murder suspicious at best and growing more so with everything Livie learns as he guides her with cryptic memories. With romance (both of the ghostly and real-life variety), heartache, action, and complicated family dynamics, Notes from Ghost Town delivers on every possible level, and I cannot wait to get my hands on whatever Ms. Ellison writes next.