Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: Notes From Ghost Town

NOTES FROM GHOST TOWN
Kate Ellison
Paranormal young adult
336 pages
EgmontUSA
Available today!
Received from Media Masters Publicity for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
They say first love never dies...

From 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?

With 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 save herself.


MY THOUGHTS
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.

Rating: 4/5

41 comments:

  1. Okay, so I came here to read your review, but I can't stop staring at your blog design. (Which I hope is new and not that I've been incredibly absent and/or unobservant.) *stares* *stares some more* *starts creepily petting your blog*

    I like the sound of this book, though. The murder mystery especially. I do love a good murder mystery.

    *continues petting your blog*

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    1. I know, right? The design is GORGEOUS! Did you do this yourself, Jenny? Because I so want to hire you, if you did!

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    2. THANK YOU!!! I decided it was time for a change and wanted something a little softer and more sophisticated this time around:) I'm really happy with it!

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    3. Oops, forgot to answer your question Mary! Yes, I designed everything you see. I just made a header and background, and then luckily blogger still changes all the link colors and everything for me:)

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  2. The cover has a sort of creepy yet beautiful feel to it. I like that

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    1. It fits the story - it was beautiful but creepy at times as well:)

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  3. First up - I totally agree with Amanda's comment ( YOUR BLOG DESIGN IS SOOOO PRETTYYYYYY!)
    I LOVE the sound of this book! Murder mysteries are my favourite and I love how you described Livie :) Since I'm really curious about this mystery, I'll definitely be reading this soon!!<3 Love the review, Jenny!

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    1. Thanks so much Shirley! Everyone seems to really like it which makes me happy, and also makes me think I should have done a redesign sooner! I hope you like this one too, I thought it was fabulous:)

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  4. I'm so glad this has your seal of approval, Jenny! I love the cover and premises and have really been looking forward to reading this one. I am especially excited to know that the characters are so complex and well written as that's always an important factor with an author I am new to. Fantastic review, dear! :)

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    1. The first chapter of this one just about killed me, I wanted so desperately for the synopsis to be wrong and Stern to actually be alive throughout! It was hard to read about him in those few moments knowing his death imminent.

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  5. Livie sounds like an absolutely amazing character. I love that she's so vulnerable and ready to lash out, but that she never pushes too far and never becomes irritating and unlikeable. It's a very fine line, and only a good author knows how to balance it.
    I was already pretty sure I'm going to enjoy this one, and your stunning review just served to convince me further that I need to read it as soon as possible.
    As always, you work magic with words, Jenny!

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    1. Exactly! Livie could have easily been really frustrating, but because we see her in that first chapter when she's cute and quirky and shy, we know her actions in the following chapters are grief-based and it's easier to cut her some slack.

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  6. Great review, Jenny. I've just started this one and I'm hoping I enjoy it as much as you did! :)

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    1. I hope so too Leanna! *crosses fingers*

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  7. Actually this does sound like a YA PN that I would totally enjoy :)

    I haven't said it but I love the design! Very pretty :)

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    1. I think you would Felicia! It's a short, emotional read and I loved it:) And thank you for the compliment on the design, I really love it as well!

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  8. I wasn't a fan of Ellison's The Butterfly Clues but this one sounds fantastic. The family dynamics sound very intriguing, too.

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    1. I didn't read that one so I can't compare the two, but I really liked how everything was handled in this book:) The only change I wished for was for Stern to live, but then it would have been a very different book!

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  9. This sounds excellent.

    BTW I looove the new look. You managed to stay with your color palette but make something pretty and stylish. Brava!

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  10. Jenny I am dying to read this one, everything from the characters to the world building sounds wonderful, and I will even endure the scratches to my heart.

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    1. My heart took a beating between chapters one and two when things change so drastically for Livie, but it mean that I was emotionally invested from the beginning which is hard to complain about:)

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  11. Now sure how this has not hit my radar yet, but it sounds good! Great review!

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  12. Can I first say how much I love that cover? I had never heard of this book prior to your review and DAMN. Now I want it. This sounds wonderful! Thanks, Jenny! Now I have ANOTHER book I need to read. *headdesk*

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    1. Right? It really fits the story too - it's haunting in a way that has nothing to do with the fact that she sees Stern's ghost.

      And I'm just paying back the favor you do me with each and every one of your reviews! You're welcome ;-)

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  13. I haven't read Butterfly Clues yet, it's still on my TBR. You make this book sound amazing though, so maybe I'll start with this one instead! I love the idea of two friends falling in love, and having even a bittersweet reconnection like this after tragedy. Very excited to read this one! Amazing review :-)

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  14. I don't think I'm up for a murder book right now, but I'd 100% recommend it to my Mom, although she doesn't enjoy paranormal that much, still, she likes her criminal-mystery books and it does sound like something she would enjoy regardless of the paranormal elemnt. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and a beautiful review, as always, Jenny!

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  15. As you already know, I'm very picky about my mysteries so to hear that this book held your attention throughout and that the characters were truly likable makes me really curious to read this one. I haven't read "Butterfly Clues" but I'm wondering if I should this book first. Lovely review, Jenny!

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  16. I read a book that dealt with relationships between the living and the dead very recently actually, and it had me drowning in heartbreak. I think I'll need a little while to recover before attempting something like this, but I definitely look forward to it! I haven't read anything by this author before, so this will be my first book by her. :) Great review, Jenny!

    I'm still pathetically in love with your blog design, by the way. I can't stop staring!

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  17. Ok, so this cover initially turned me off b/c I am such a baby when it comes to scary reads and that cover is super creepy. I like the premise though and I haven't read a good murder mystery since The Diviners (still recovering--haha.) Do you think this book would freak me out? Thanks for the great review!!

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  18. I so want to read this one... I loved that line in your review at the end about the stunning relationship between two friends whose time ran out before it could progress... I thought...ahhh... I want to meet them. I love best friend relationships....

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  19. I really need to read this. I was curious before, now I really want to read it. That is actually odd since you make it sound like an emotional ride (and I hate to cry). At the same time, it is that emotional ride that makes me curious. I'm usually not that involved in a murder mystery and it looks like you become that way here. Brilly review as always girl!

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  20. This wouldn't be a book I would normally pick up, which means I'm adding it to my list in order to branch out.

    Also, I was so engrossed in the review that I didn't notice the blog update until I saw Amanda's comment... I do love it though! Very pretty!!

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  21. When I read the synopsis of this one, I was like "meh, maybe." After reading your review though, I'll see if I can get a copy of this one, Jenny. The murder mystery sounds interesting, the relationships seem well-developed and I like the idea of mental illness being incorporated.

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  22. Hmmmm, Im really in the mood for a great murder mystery after having read Dark Corner, so I think I need to check this out. Wonderful review Miss Jenny..;)

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  23. Nice review Jenny! I love when good relationships are built through out the story. Not to mention that I love to follow mysteries.

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  24. Oh I'm so glad you reviewed this since I have it but haven't heard much about it. I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it. Hopefully I can read it real soon!

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  25. I hate it when the love interest is dead! This sounds like a beautiful but heartbreaking read. One that I'd have to prepare my heart for before picking it up. Lovely review, Jenny. :)

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  26. I haven't heard of this. It sounds kind of heart wrenching, but interesting at the same time. Wonderful review!

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  27. Geesh Jenny, even more books to add to my "to read" pile! I'm glad you loved this book but really "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" was the line that sold me. I LOVE a good mystery but it seems that I can guess a lot of what will happen!

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