Friday, July 13, 2012

Wraith by Angel Lawson

WraithWraith by Angel Lawson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the blurb:

Adjusting to her new home and school after an abrupt move, Jane just wants to be like everyone else at school. Although she does manage to make one friend, Evan — sixteen, charming and protective. Evan is everything a girl could want in a best friend, with one minor caveat: He’s dead. 

Caught somewhere between life and death, Evan is tied to Jane and the living world, unable to complete the journey to the other side. She thinks he’s here to be her friend, to take care of her, and that’s why no one else can see or hear him. 

That is, until a new boy shows up at school after a rumored stretch in juvie. Connor can see Evan and is not convinced that the ghost is completely honest. Past experience taught him how ghosts tend to need something from the humans they connect to and Evan, despite his arguments, isn’t any different.

4.5 stars really. This was incredible, but I had to take off some points for the lack of proper proofreading.

I'm not usually one for ghost stories, but the blurb for this book caught my eye. Well, that and the fact that I 'know' this author from another medium. So, my expectations for this were a) somewhat apprehensive because of the ghost mentioned in the blurb, and b) pretty damn high because I knew I was in for a riveting story.

Well, lemme tell ya, Angel exceeded my expectations, and this is a ghost story I absolutely loved.

I was super impressed with how well the author managed to capture the typical characteristics of teenagers, those pitiable creatures caught between childhood and adulthood, not quite grown up but no longer kids. She accurately describes their struggles with peer pressure, being a social outcast, high school dramas, real grown up issues, secrets and a first love. And that's without adding the supernatural element of having to deal with a ghost whose past becomes their present.

This novel also doesn't suffer from what many YA books do - there is no insta-love, no "OMG, I can't live without you" two minutes after the two MCs meet, and certainly no love triangle either.

Connor is a great protagonist, realistically portrayed, though we only see him through Jane's eyes, which to me took away a bit of the characterization because he became somewhat two-dimensional.

Jane is part kick-ass heroine, part damsel in distress, part agonizingly whiny girl on the verge of womanhood and part irritating. I didn't care for how hostile she was with Connor in the beginning.

Written in the 1st person POV, the prose is crisp and concise, and although the dialogue on occasion seemed awkward, it fit into the awkwardness of first love. I also enjoyed how well the secondary characters were fleshed out, especially Ava, who becomes a good friend to Jane and ultimately acts as a guide to help her along.

As for Evan, the ghost - he remained somewhat on the fringes as he wasn't always around, but he is one of the main characters in this story. His backstory will have you in tears, and I was particularly impressed with how well the author portrayed the sadness and angst that surrounds this character.

I also appreciated the inclusion of art (Jane's parents own a gallery, her aunt is an artist), and how well the supernatural element fit into the overall story.

The cover is beautiful and invokes the emotions that permeate the book. It's clear that much thought went into creating that image.

This was an excellent debut from a new author, and I look forward to future offerings from Angel Lawson.

I received a free e-copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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