BOOK REVIEW: Ghost Town {Saranormal, # 1} by Phoebe Rivers

“It’s hard to see what others can’t, isn’t it, my dear?”

Having grown up obsessed with the show So Weird, and believing that I was an amateur paranormal investigator, my heart skipped a beat when I learned of Phoebe Rivers' Ghost Town {Saranormal, # 1}. This is a series that my younger self craved - so much so that it felt eerily familiar to me; though I can't recall ever having read it in the past. Clearly a mystery in, and of, itself, yes? But I digress...one part Ghost Whisperer, two parts Meg Cabot's The Mediator, this is a short but sweet start to a series that is ideal for those who like a little paranormal phenomena in their lives.

From the outside, twelve-year-old Sara Collins appears totally normal. In fact, her blonde hair might even lead you to believe that she runs with the popular crowd, and is always fielding texts from admirers. You'd be half right. She is quite the popular character - just not with the living. You see, Sara is hiding two things from the world: 1} she can see dead people {ghosts}, and 2} she's psychic. Pretty crazy, right? Armed with the ability to see, and interact with, ghosts since she was a tot, Sara has grown used to her abilities - and the fact that they are detrimental to relationship-building with peers. After all, how can you find a bestie when you've got dead people dancing in your peripheral vision? When Sara's father uproots her from sunny California for an old shore town in New Jersey she thinks maybe things will change for the better...until she reaches her final destination.

Stellamar is everything that Sara didn't want in a new home. Quaint, charming...yes; but also old. Historic old. The type of historic old meaning there are ghosts everywhere - and they're all vying for Sara's attention. The worst part of it all? They're inescapable, because many are residing in the old Victorian she and her father are living in with the intriguing {yet oft-times odd} Lady Azura, an 80-year-old so-called Medium. But that's not the worst of it. While Sara has grown used to seeing ghosts around her, this is the first time she has ever been able to communicate with them - adding a whole new layer of bizarre to her abnormal abilities.

Sara wants to help the dead, especially one older gentleman who seems desperate for her assistance; but she's worried that there will be no turning back once that channel is opened. And now that she has finally begun to build strong friendships with the locals, Lily Randazzo in particular, she's reluctant to do anything that could get in the way of making Stellamar a home, and finally fitting in. Now she's left with the choice of ignoring her calling, or somehow melding it with her social life so that she can have a bit of both worlds for the first time ever.

NGL, mid-grade books tend to be my preference when it comes to reading because I l-o-v-e discovering series that I can share with my students. Plus, many have far more depth then other genres available - at least IMO. While Ghost Town feels more surface-level/shallow in regards to reading, it is a fast-paced tale full of friendship, charming sights, and a subtle mystery that female readers, especially, will enjoy diving into.

Sara is a reserved, fairly one-dimensional character who, while likable, will hopefully open up more in future installments; whereas Lily is a big personality who is playful and fun. While there are hints of future romance to come, I am most interested in learning more about the mysterious Lady Azura, who seems to be full of secrets and suspense. All that said, I found the climax to be an incredible letdown {hence the 3 stars}; and I don't feel anything, or anyone, really intrigued me enough to return for book two, Haunted Memories {Saranormal, # 2}. Not saying I won't; but the jury's still out.

Star Rating: ***



ellie said...

Such a great start! Maybe the second one will be even better. We can only hope. Thanks for the great review on this series!

Ivy's Closet said...

I am not familiar with this one. I want to look for it now. Sounds so interesting..even if the ending isn't going where one would hope.

Caitlin&Megan said...

Such a wonderful review! It was great hearing about this series. Such potential!

The Book Group said...

Wow, what a great name for the series. It seems no matter what the age these series feel like one commercial to the next. Some of us notice this from the get-go.

Hollyn'Stevie said...

This does look like a great premise. I hope it gets better. Thanks for the wonderful review!

R's Rue said...

I love this. I hope you’re doing well. I think of you often. Sending hugs your way.

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