Lange is fairly new to the small town of Shady Springs and the house her and her mother have moved into was the site of the brutal slaying of an entire family, followed by the killer hanging himself in the barn. Lange isn’t so sure she wants to investigate the murders but she’s spurred on by Vaughn, the cute boy at school she has a crush on. Problem is, their other friend Stace likes Vaughn and Lange knows she shouldn’t date a guy her friend likes. Not only that but someone is leaving threatening messages for Lange and Vaughn and they have to find the answers before they meet the same fate as the long ago Chopain family.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book and I’m mad that I let it sit on my bookshelf so long before reading it. It’s a great blend of romance, mystery, and paranormal and has some interesting ideas on reincarnation. The ending is very suspenseful, if a little out of left-field, but overall a wonderful read.
I really enjoyed the romance between Lange and Vaughn. I don’t read a lot of young adult anymore but whenever I do I’m always reminded of why I like the wonder of young love. There’s so much innocence in the building relationship but that innocence also creates a great tension between the characters. My favorite part of any romance is the development of actual romance and love which is created through small, intimate moments. Things like holding hands, caressing faces, slow kisses, sweet cuddling and the feeling that you’re perfect for each other. I’ve always found that young adult puts more stock in these moments because the character don’t need to jump into bed the way adult characters do. Jennifer Walkup does a great job of showing these parts.
The creepiness of this book surprised me as I wasn’t expecting it but I really enjoyed it. There was a great mystery and Walkup’s writing really develops the mystery around the Chopain family’s death and the new threat in the present day. Both Lange and Vaughn are amateur sleuths but they still manage to get themselves into plenty of trouble. The last 25% of the book is a wonderfully suspense filled adventure as the town’s annual Hunt — a whodunit game for the high schoolers — begins.
Not only is there mystery and romance, but there’s a pretty substantial paranormal side to this story. After the séance, Lange and Vaughn begin having “experiences” of dreams, hearing voices and feeling compelled to find answers. Not only that but there’s some paranormal elements surrounding Lange and Vaughn’s relationship concerning the idea of reincarnation and rebirth. I really enjoyed this part of the story and liked the take that Walkup presented on the subject.
••• Book Details •••
Young Adult, Romance, Suspense • Luminis Books • October 1, 2013
Lange Crawford’s move to Shady Springs, Pennsylvania, lands her a group of awesome friends, a major crush on songwriter Vaughn, and life in a haunted, 200-year-old farmhouse. It also brings The Hunt: an infamous murder mystery festival where students solve a fake, gruesome murder scheme during the week of Halloween. Well, supposedly fake.
Weeks before The Hunt, Lange and her friends hold a séance in the farmhouse’s eerie barn. When a voice rushes through, whispering haunting words that only she and Vaughn can hear, Lange realizes it’s begging for help. The mysterious voice leads Lange and Vaughn to uncover letters and photos left behind by a murdered girl, Ginny, and they become obsessed with her story and the horrifying threats that led to her murder.
Murder Yet to Come
But someone doesn’t like their snooping, and Lange and Vaughn begin receiving the same threats that Ginny once did. The mysterious words from the barn become crucial to figuring out Ginny’s past and their own, and how closely the two are connected. They must work fast to uncover the truth or risk finding out if history really does repeat itself.