This young adult paranormal thriller combines all the right elements: friendly ghosts, vicious demons, a high school setting with rival cliques, clueless adults, and a psychically gifted girl and boy at the story’s center.
Sixteen-year-old Kat undergoes a life-changing event after getting hit by a truck. While hospitalized, she sees ghosts floating through the hallway and is visited by the spirit of Kevin, a 17-year-old comatose boy who also suffered an accident. Kat realizes her near-death experience has enabled her to see spirits of the dead and nearly dead.
With her doctor’s approval (and blessings from her mother and brother), she returns to school and hangs out with a less-popular, but more authentic, group of friends. When Kevin arrives fully recovered from his coma, he joins the group, too, and Kat and Kevin (who also possesses supernatural abilities) discover the school is haunted by spirits from when the building housed an insane asylum. As demons start killing students, Kat and Kevin use their newly acquired powers to fight the leader before evil spirits cross into the realm of the living.
The story, told from Kat’s viewpoint, is compelling, with light humor and well-developed main characters. Kat’s adolescent attraction to Kevin fluctuates from wanting to kiss or kill him, depending on her jealousy level at the moment.
There’s plenty to enjoy here, from the creepy ghost sightings to the budding romance. The story’s weaker elements include some typos, short shrift given to adults (How did Kat’s father die? Where are the school administrators during these attacks?), and Kat’s naiveté about getting injured after repeatedly raiding the basement where the demons hide. (“Why me again?…So far, we hadn’t threatened them or attacked them or done anything to bring this upon ourselves.”)
A book this entertaining, however, can absorb such minor flaws. Published when the author was 18-years-old, the book beautifully captures the language, attitude, intensity, and angst of the teenage years for YA readers of paranormal thrillers.
Also available in hardcover and as an ebook.