Monday, October 25, 2010

BR: A Certain Slant of Light

A Certain Slant of Light
by Lauren Whitcomb

"Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead. Though I could not feel paper between my fingers, smell ink, or taste the tip of a pencil, I could see and hear the world with all the clarity of the Living. They, on the other hand, did not see me as a shadow or a floating vapor. To the Quick, I was empty air.Or so I thought. 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 of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess."
-A Certain SLant of Light back cover

I really enjoyed this book, but the whole time, I kept thinking, "Did I really pick this up in the YA section? It must have been shelved wrong." The characters are late-twenty-somethings spirits who steal teenage bodies, and therefore have adult relationships, and obviously just think like adults (which, again, made me think it was an adult novel--- the characters were adults, and had more maturity and wisdom than most of the characters in YA novels). I've read in other reviews that a lot of other people recommended this book to older women... I think it just got catergorized wrong at the publishing level.

That said, I really, really enjoyed this book. First off, Helen spent like 130 years as ghost, but during those years she served as a muse to five different humans who all sought out a lifestyle of writing. Her "Saint" as she refers to the first one who penned her own verses; a writer of children's bed stories; a poet; a playwright; and a modern English teacher working on his own novel.

Um, yes please: I'd devore any story with that premise. I wish the story had continued in that angle, but unfortunately, it fizzled out pretty early in the story.

The plot visited many different sort of life-styles and sometimes seemed to almost skip into different genres (is it a gothic romantic piece? Is it a edgy young adult book? Is it a teenage Christian novel?), but strangely, it worked. The writing was rich and very skilled, and the storyline, while sometimes a little flat, dealed with the sort of paranormal genre that is popular right now, but it was in a fresh, creative take. I definitely look forward to reading more from Laura Whitcomb.

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