Author: Tara Hudson
Genre: YA, romance, paranormal
Publication Date: June 2011 (expected)
Synopsis: Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.
☆: 5/5 – a great 2011 debut!
Review: There’s one thing I simply must say about this book – how naturally it flowed. Everything – from the supernatural elements, to the romance, it never felt forced and never faltered once throughout the entire story. And that’s really hard to do.
Amelia saves Joshua – not because she’s immediately in love with him, but because she (unthinkingly) wants to save him from her own fate, though she doesn’t yet know it. From there, their friendship (and eventual romance) grows at a good pace. The pace of this story as a whole is very fast, but like a rollercoaster, quite enjoyable. You get enough time to spend with all of the characters (even the antagonists), even if the entire story is told to you by Amelia herself. You get to know everyone. I can’t tell you how rare this is starting to become in YA lit as of late – or, that’s how it feels to me. Lately, it feels like there hasn’t been much in terms of significant, thoughtful character development within so much of mainstream YA lit, so this book (as well as many that I’ve put on my best of 2011 list so far) is really refreshing in that difference.
And then there’s the portrayal of evil and corruption through Eli and his ‘bosses’ – this was really well-played by Hudson, I must admit. She doesn’t explicitly say that Eli’s bosses are from Hell, but with the way she writes it, she doesn’t have to. Just like we have the feeling that Eli’s something good gone horribly horribly wrong instead of just being the misunderstood boat-driver on the High River Bridge/River Styx – she doesn’t need to say how he went bad, but the way she has him tell his story to Amelia, there isn’t a need to. This is so nice – so many YA books as of late have been telling instead of showing, when it should be the other way around.
If you want a good, natural romance story with supernatural elements, this is for you. If you’re looking for a teenage ghost story, this is for you. This book has a little something for everyone, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you give it a read.