Monday, 16 August 2010

Book Review: A Certain Slant of Light - Laura Whitcomb

Someone was looking at me. A disturbing sensation if you're dead.
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 if their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.
From the back of the book.

This book has everything it needs. There are ghosts, romance, mystery. You couldn't help but get chills while reading, and it was hard to put down. The world that Helen and James belonged to was so different to my own, yet I found it easy to slip into their world for a few hours and lose myself in their story. Helen, as a character, was wonderful. It was so easy to imagine her feelings, her surprise, confusion, joy and pain at all the previously unimaginable things that are happening to her. She goes through so much in a few days, and this must take it's toll on her. It's so heartbreaking, James and Helen not being able to be together, and then they finally find a way, only to have it taken away again.

James is an interesting character. He, like Helen, is Light (a ghost/spirit), but unlike Helen, he has possessed the body of Billy Blake, who deserted his body and left it empty. The only problem? He needs to think and act like Billy, something hard to do if you have no memories of the person Billy was. Although it was only meant to be temporary accommodation for James, he finds himself unable to leave the body. Making it hard for Helen the Light to be with James the Quick (human). It makes you think. What does it mean to be alive? It's not just simply living, there's more to it than that. It's being able to handle everything, everything that life throws at you, emotions, and whatever else may come. While rejoicing in being alive together, they also have to figure out how to cope with everything their host is going through, as well as everything they themselves are going through.

It is obvious that the characters well thought out, and well understood. Laura Whitcomb knew her readers too, and this makes this book stand out. There are so many books in this genre out there, some good, some bad, and this is definitely one of the good ones. Certainly one of the best ghost books I have ever read. It has been sitting on my shelf since October last year when I got it for my birthday. I was disappointed, because I didn't get the book I wanted, so I was reluctant to read it, as it wasn't something I asked for, and therefore didn't know anything about it. But now, almost a year later, I am so glad I have read it.
I would just like to say, the plot was quite complex, and there is lots of sexual tension, it's definitely more of a later teen/adult book. Though I am neither of those, I will re read it again in a few years, and I think, being older and wiser, it'll be even better.

I give it 4 Feet

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