Recipe for a Young Adult horror novel: Abandoned mental hospital for troubled girls: check. Dark power that has issues with being left behind: check. Teenaged narrator who is a troubled girl, with her parents not trusting her: check. Ghosts: check. Narrator who is killed in the first 100 pages but still has no problem narrating: wait, what?
Our narrator is Delia Piven, who has just inherited said abandoned mental hospital from an aunt she never met, but did correspond with for a short time. Aunt Cordelia lived in the asylum, but died outside the property, walking on the side of the road. Delia and her family here there for the week, to clean up the place and make it ready for sale. They will be “camping out” in the asylum during this time; that first night, all hell breaks loose. And that is pretty close to a literal statement; Delia is killed that first night.
Delia then spends time getting used to being a ghost- how to walk through walls, how to manipulate solids, mourning the loss of her family, friends, and dreams of her life ahead, and getting to know the other ghosts (there’s a lot of them on the property). Some ghosts seem friendly; some are malevolent. And there is some evil power there that won’t let any of them go… not off the property or to where ever people go after they die. When Delia’s family returns, the evil comes to life, and Delia has to figure out how to defeat it to save her family.
There are some things that made me wonder, like why Delia could manipulate salt, even with cardboard, when no one else could get close to it, but I liked the book over all. Delia’s younger sister, an annoying tween in the first part, matures into kickass young woman. There is one young male ghost, but he’s just incidental, not a love interest and certainly not a hero who saves the day. It’s all about girl power! I’d call it thriller rather than horror, although there are certainly creepy moments, and it’s a quick, stay up all night, read.
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