A YA book but one I would save for my daughter to read til she's at least 14. The story of two "spirits" who find each other... him because he was able to inhabit another body. When they find a body for her to inhabit, it sets off a whole change of events that may end up destroying them, their hosts and innocents around them. Slow starting... faster paced from middle on. Good!
After I read this book, I felt like I had just run an emotional marathon.
Seriously. I was literally drained.
In her novel, A Certain Slant of Light, Laura Whitcomb shows that love doesn't end when life does. Her protagonist is a spirit that hasn't moved on, that haunts people, not places. Over her many spectral years, she inspires writers, teachers and poets. She acts as a muse for many of her "companion" humans, helping them tap into their inspiration.
She thinks she's the only one of her kind -- a soul walking among the living -- until she meets another like her, and finds a love that transcends all the conventional boundaries.
The precise details of her death are a mystery, carefully doled out during the course of the book. This is where the real heartache of this story is revealed. The ending is completely wrenching and although satisfying, I left the book feeling exhausted and didn't start another story for a week. That's how I know a book has gotten under my skin.
I thought this was a wonderful book. It is 282 pages long. I finished it in one day. If you like ghost stories, this is a good book for you. I wouldn't reccommend this book for immature teens, though, because the book does have inappropriate language and such...
A very beautifully told story about love and forgiveness. It is also pretty short- you could read it in a day!
For lack of better words, all I can say is that this book was unusual. I won't pretend that everything made sense as I was reading it, or even in retrospect, but in the end there was a definite message there....One of hope, healing, and overcoming. While the book was written for young adults/teens, you certainly don't need to be one to enjoy it. If you are looking for a different kind of ghost/haunting story, give this one a try.
This was an AWESOME story about two souls that are destined to meet and fall in love. The story of Helen and James though hard to believe is one that commands attention and deserves a read :)
This was a facinating read. The author is a wordsmith, and the content is romantically haunting.
I absolutely loved this book. It's not just for young adults.
I have to admit...the first 1/3 of the book I was not all that impressed. The interesting concept of the book is what kept me reading. I am so, so, so glad I kept reading. This book was so creative and full of mystery. There was mystery over two (who really represented four) main characters and the lives they lived. I also loved how the author added in the TRUE character of God and how he is not a mean, evil dictator that enjoys watching us squirm. I would recommend this book to anyone!
This was one of the best young adult books that I have read. It was so engrossing that I had read the whole book before I realized it. Very emotional. A great,great read.
"Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead."
first line - "A Certain Slant of Light" by Laura Whitcomb
For the first time in 130 years she feels human eyes on her...and thus begins the tale of a ghost...
Before reading this book I had never read a book with ghosts as the main characters. I was intrigued by the authors view of life, for some people, after death. Her style of writing was very poetic and it is obvious she has a love for literature and poetry. The story progressed well and was cause for curiosity. I thought it out of place for a young adult book to have such vividly described sex scenes. Usually I base a books worth on whether I feel right about placing it on my shelf someday for my children to read. I would never want them to read this for the pure and simple fact that I dont think it age appropriate, nor content anyone should be filling their minds with. Also it has to be said, I didnt like the portrayal of Christians in the book. It is not because I am a Christian that I say this, but because I dont like it in books or movies when people deem it right to make their audience feel that all Christians are that way. We all are hypocrites at one time or another, myself not excluded. I can understand writing about a Christian who is fake, but portraying us all as perfect little robots who never do anything wrong, dont tolerate sin ever, and pretend to lead a life of righteousness is wrong in my opinion. Sin is wrong, we are to hate the sin, but love the sinner, not to ostracize and create an outcast of ourselves.
I was happy with the ending, in that it gave you hope for the future. I will be interested to see what the authors future stories have in store.
Couldn't put it down! Like the other reviewer, I read it in one day.
I loved this book. I thought everything was perfect. I cried at the end. I really connected with it. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a unique and very good book
This book was unlike any other.
I enjoyed it very much.
This is a young adult book, which I typically am not crazy about as I like my books grittier than most books that are classified this way. However, after reading some of the other reviews, I was really intrigued. I finished it in one day, it is a pretty easy read and flows well. It did have enough "grit" to keep me interested and I think it is written beautifully. It is a ghost love story but has much deeper undercurrents. The concept the author has regarding how ghosts move about in our world and can actually claim human bodies that belong to souls that have already given up and left is compelling. Actually, I believe this book could have been twice as long as the world the the author creates is full of so many possibilities. I felt the ending was almost to short after the rest of the book went into so much detail and seemed to flow at a much slower pace. I would have liked to have the end tied up a little tighter, especially with the human characters. I also did not feel the emotional attachment some other reviews spoke of, unfortunately. I typically read series as I fall in love with the characters and want to continue on with them, but I do not care to hear from these characters again. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 14 that enjoys a good romance with a twist. I have ordered two non fiction writing books by the same author as I think she is totally gifted!
i thoroughly enjoyed this book. i was expecting much less from a book so short, but i was pleasantly surprised.
* God, this book was good. I was interested throughout the whole thing.
* The romance between the two main characters is gripping. It reminds me of that first pull towards someone that you hope to spend eternity with.
* Interesting take on the living and the dead
* Mixes past and present circumstances, giving life to both with a lot of figurative language that seems literal.
* Drug use, teenage sex, not appropriate for immature readers.
* Abusive families in many extremes makes this a little difficult for the faint of heart.
* Makes religion look REALLY bad.
Awesome story!! So creative and intriguing. Definitely one I will remember.
An excellent ghost story. Different.
Interesting concept, well written ,throughly enjoyed.
This book was amazing! I couldn't put it down for more than half an hour. It's a heartbreaking and beautifully told tale of love and forgiveness. It sucked me in from the first page. I highly highly recommend this. It's not you ordinary young adult fantasy. This book is something unique and I know I will be rereading it again in the future.
A beautiful and hauntingly written story... Not your usual love story really but a lovely one in its own way.
"Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead. I was with my teacher, Mr. Brown. As usual, we were in our classroom, that safe and wooden-walled box-- the windows opening onto the grassy field to the west, the fading flag standing in the chalk dust corner, the television mounted above the bulletin board like a sleeping eye, and Mr. Brown's princely table keeping watch over a regiment of student desks."
So starts the story of James and Helen, two displaced souls who inhabit the bodies of Billy and Jenny whose souls have "emptied " their souls from their bodies. James and Helen share a unique connection, being "Light" and are drawn to each other. The bodies they haven chosen are from different sides of the tracks and each come with their own sets of issues and baggage.
James and Helen's love/relationship did happen fast, but it didn't feel rushed to me at all really, their shared loneliness brought them together and helped them start to build a bond.
Jenny's house had a creepy atmosphere hanging over it, I sympathized with Cathy and Jenny, living in that house. Dan wasn't an evil person but with some issues...
Billy's circumstances weren't ideal either, parents not in the picture and an older brother doing his best to take care of him and keep him out of trouble.
Helen and James don't have the memories of their hosts so they have no idea what happened in the past before, to paraphrase James "what will come back to bite them."
However, they slowly gain memories from their own pasts... bits and pieces, though Helen is more afraid of the answers she will find.
It isn't a completely compelling story that I HAD to know what happens next, but it had a pull on me that drew me in bit by bit, building everything up and letting me get to know the world everyone inhabited. The writing was, to possibly overuse a word I have used before, beautiful... and delicate of sorts. You could feel the tragedy and uncertainty hiding behind every word and action... one wrong breath is all it would take to bring it all crashing down.
When James and Helen remember their final moments, well... I won't spoil it but I was glad to see the picture come together for them.
One of my favorite quotes from it:
The library smells like old books a thousand leather doorways into other worlds. I hear silence, like the mind of God. I feel a presence in the empty chair beside me. The librarian watches me suspiciously. But the library is a sacred place, and I sit with the patron saint of readers. Pulsing goddess light moves through me for one moment like a glimpse of eternity instantly forgotten. She is gone. I smell mold, I hear the clock ticking, I see an empty chair. Ask me now and I'll say this is just a place where you can't play music or eat. She's gone. The library sucks.
I couldn't take my eyes off him. Like a desert wanderer afraid of mirages, I gazed at my oasis, but he was real.
As his flesh touched my spirit, the feeling of falling turned into a feeling of flying. I was soaring through time toward him.
This a novel to savor, a wonderful debut :)
I liked this book very much.
This to me didn't feel like a young adult book. The characters are actually adults whose lives ended tragically. They are burdened by a guilt, and they can't remember why. Not child like concerns.The sex scenes were pretty steamy though not detailed.
On the other hand, the emotions of the lead character had the feel of teenage love though - so obsessive, can't live without him kinda of feelings. They ACT young which I thought was strange for such old souls like sleeping together and not even considering the ramifications on the bodies they inhabit.
I loved the ending. So many books just fizz out or have too perfect endings. This one took a turn I didn't see coming. Would definetly recommend this book to high school age kids and up.
I couldn't finish it. It was boring, lame and just not much fun. I made it past the first chapter and that was enough for me! I love all things paranormal so I expected to love this book. The writing was annoying and over the top.
This book was on my 'to read' list for a while and after reading excellent reviews about it on Amazon, etc., I was so excited to read it.
I think I hyped up the book while waiting to read it and was somewhat disappointing when I did finally read it. Don't get me wrong, it was a good book and I finished it in a single day, but it wasn't entirely memorable.
The characters were believable and well developed, but like other reviews have stated, their actions not quite fully believable. I was a little confused as to what was going on the first chapter (I had to reread it) and it wasn't until the second half of the book that I was actually enjoying it. The ending was pretty clever. I also really enjoyed all the literary references throughout the book. I smiled when I read that the boy's name was William (Billy) Blake.
Another thing, this contains some graphic sex scenes. I was a bit embarrassed while reading it, I just wasn't expecting it, well at least not so soon and not so detailed.
Overall, I'd say it was an okay read. It's not something I would reread.
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up'Helen died 130 years ago as a young woman. Unable to enter heaven because of a sense of guilt she carried at death, she has been silent and invisible but conscious and sociable across the generations. Her spirit has been sustained by its attachment to one living human host after another, including a poet and, most recently, a high-school English teacher. While she sits through his class one day, she becomes aware of James and he'unlike the mortals all around them'is aware of her as well. James, who also died years earlier, inhabits the body of a contemporary teen, Billy. James and Helen fall in love, he shows her how to inhabit the body of a person whose spirit has died but who still lives and breathes, and the two begin to unfold the mysteries of their own pasts and those of their adolescent hosts. Jenny, whose body Helen now uses, is the only child of strict religious parents who controlled her beyond what her spirit could endure. Billy's spirit left his body after a string of tragedies resulting from drug abuse and domestic violence. James and Helen court in both modern and old-fashioned ways; here is a novel in which explicit sex is far from gratuitous or formulaic. Whitcomb writes with a grace that befits Helen's more modulated world while depicting contemporary society with sharp insight. In the subgenre of dead-narrator tales, this book shows the engaging possibilities of immortality'complete with a twist at the end that wholly satisfies.'Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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Fascinating story line-kept me turning the pages until late at night.