Wednesday, February 2, 2011

TBR Challenge - REVIEW - A Certain Slant of Light

I am listening to: I Might Be Wrong, Radiohead

First of all, I want to say HURRAY! I finished a book that I was supposed to read! I've talked about how rubbish I am at reading on demand as I'm easily distracted by other shiny books.

Secondly I want to say that I've never written a review before, so I'm sure to cock it up and I'm not sorry. I'm just going to write what I think and leave the rest up to you. Nah Nah.

"In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: For the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen--terrified, but intrigued--is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess." - from

This is a YA novel that's different, thoughtful and thought provoking. It's different because, though it's fast-paced and has some supernatural elements (ghosts) I haven't read another YA book like it. The main characters are adults that inhabit teenage bodies - which makes it sound like Freaky Friday or something, but I assure you it's not in anyway corny or exploitive. Ms. Whitcomb does an amazing job of seamlessly combining the interior world of a ghost from another century to the exterior world of modern day high school and all the craziness it entails. The juxtaposition of what the teens have to endure in their daily lives (restrictive parents, algebra, bullying) and the longing of the ghosts for each other and for closure - after all, they don't know why they're haunting the earth - is masterful because it never seems confusing or forced.

For a book exploring big themes like spirituality and freedom, it clips along. This is the first book I've ever stepped into the shower with, admittedly, I stayed away from the spray, as I was waiting for the water to get hot. The last few pages I shed a few tears, probably because I have kids and because I'm a sucker. The ending was a little  'spiritual' not to say dogmatic or religious (it's not) and I felt a tiny bit disappointed by that. But hey, they're ghosts. Some great reward has to come to them sometime. 

So, because I'm feeling cutesy, here's my system on reviewing, based on the old nursery rhyme about magpies:

One for sorrow (DON'T BOTHER)
Two for joy (NOT BAD, NOT GREAT)
Five for silver (BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT)

A Certain Slant of Light - Five Magpies


  1. To be honest, when I first saw the picture I thought you were thinking of drowning yourself because you couldn't finish a novel. Congratulations are in order. Yay! I think you did a fine review of the book and I like your quality rating system. Definitely going to add this one to by buy list. I like supernatural and spiritual novels. They always keep me thinking after I've finished reading.


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