Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Reads: A Certain Slant of Light

Haunting and beautiful. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. It's marketed as a YA, and it does have some YA themes--but the main character, Helen, was a woman when she died and has seen many years since, so the balance between YA themes (in some ways she is very much a child) and her adult spirit (she had a husband and family in her human life) are very intriguing. And also, isn't the cover equal parts terrifying and beautiful?

Synopsis:
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. 
First Line: "Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead."

Love.

Beefs: Not so much a beef, it was done very well, but more of a word to the wise. On page four, we begin a bit of back story, all of Helen's previous hauntings. This passage is done well; it's necessary, short, to the point, but doesn't lose the "sensual prose" (got that off a review from Amazon, has a nice ring doesn't it?) that the whole book is written in.

Brownie Points: I was thoroughly captivated through the entire thing. Really, I couldn't put it down. I got made when I was interrupted (it's been happening more rarely to me lately when reading). A combination of her beautiful writing and the naive yet intelligent characters was quite unputdownable. At times while reading I got angry, or scared for them, or an overwhelming eeriness concerning the subject matter, and I just felt so happy, so at peace at the last page with a perma-grin on my face for hours. Ahhhh, love a book like that.

Recommendation: Even if you're not entirely into ghost stories, or if you're looking for an unconventional ghost story, I suggest you try this one out. It's not going to be for everyone, but if you're the right sort of person this is aimed at, I know you'll fall in love.

Would I represent it? Sadly, probably not. It's too literary for my list and tastes, but then again, you never really know until something like it crosses through the slush pile.

Happy reading!

6 comments:

Cally Jackson said...

Wow, this sounds like an amazing read. I'm off to add it to my TBR list post haste!

Katy said...

I loved the first line of this book too... Perfect!

And I felt the same way about the voice... It's very much teen-ish at times, yet very wise and experienced.

Such a great read!

Heidi Windmiller said...

Interesting! I put it on my TBR pile.

I have to admit that I'm generally not into ghost stories (even though I'm reading Anna Dressed in Blood right now). But when the voice is intriguing and the language beautiful, I'll always give it a try!

Martha Ramirez said...

Ooh this one sounds interesting. Thanks!

1000th.monkey said...

I know what you mean about getting that involved with the characters... the last book I felt that was about was, 'The Knife of Never Letting Go' by Patrick Ness. I read it in a few hours, then immediately bought the other two books in the trilogy. I devoured all three books in two days.

...so, if the characters are that *addicting* and the writing is beautiful, I might have to pick that up... so thanks for the recommendation!

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