Notes From Ghost Town
by Kate Ellison
Genre: YA Mystery
Format: ARC received for review from Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for my honest opinion.
Expected Publication: 02.12.13
Midnight Minute: Girl kisses boy, girl goes colorblind, boy dies, girl’s schizophrenic mother is accused of the murder, boy haunts girl, and girl deals with potential mental illness while getting her inner private detective on.
They say first love never dies…
From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.
There’s a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?
With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can save herself.
~ I wanted to love this book but I ended up just liking it.
~ I love this title, even though Ghost Town is a nickname Olivia and her friends give to a condo development, I still dig it. It sounds like a place I’d want to at least visit.
~ There is a lot going on in this book. Like a lot. Lots of elements that I find really interesting- murder, schizophrenia, colorblindness, ghosts, mystery, quirky homeless beach ladies, vicious pianists, hot rich boys and tense family relationships. But it wasn’t as cohesive as I wanted it to be.
~ The first 70 pages or so I thought Olivia was in college, since in the beginning she is leaving Miami to go to art school in Michigan, but she’s in high school. I actually think this would have worked as a New Adult novel, so her being older would have been cool.
~ While I never really connected with Olivia, I liked a lot of the supporting characters like Stern, Wynn and Austin.
~ I did however, completely understand how Olivia felt about her dad’s fiance.
~ A week before Olivia’s best friend Stern is killed, they finally kiss. But it leaves her colorblind- she actually has cerebral achromatopsia, which only allows her to see shades of grey which led to some of my favorite little details in the book like:
~ In order to function, Olivia memorizes the depths of certain known colors- like the particular shade of grey on a stop sign to help her identify the color red. And I love how she gets Wynn to help her sort her closet into colors so that she’s not dressing like a crazy person.
~ One thing I’ve learned from books- if you think you’re going crazy, you probably aren’t, but it wouldn’t hurt to actually go see a professional!
~ There is no physical reason for Olivia’s colorblindness, which is fine, but I don’t feel like it’s ever really explained. This could be me though. The timing of the colorblindness confuses me.
~ I really enjoyed the mystery even though I suspected almost immediately who the real culprit was, I liked how Olivia tried to find the answers for herself and her belief in her mom.
~ There were a few loose strings at the end of the book (like did Olivia’s car ever get fixed?) but it is an ARC, so I don’t know that they’ll stay loose. All the major issues are resolved (if not explained).
~ Olivia makes a reference to Dirty Dancing, which is awesome, but then says how old the movie is, which makes me realize how old I am. But I still have to give her points for the mention. ~ The friendships between Olivia and Raina, and Olivia and Austin, felt very realistic. There is a lot of love and history between Olivia and Raina, but they also get on each other’s nerves as only really good friends can.
~ It might seem that Olivia is a little harsh towards Heather, but that was one area that I completely felt for her. I’m always amazed when families go through divorces and re-marriages and there aren’t lots of resentment and tension. Your dad meeting his new girlfriend at a meeting for family members of those suffering from mental illness? Yeah, not cool.
~ I realize that it sounds like I didn’t like the book, but I did. I think my expectations were just too big going into the reading. I’m not sure I’m digging the YA trend in mixing up mental illness with seeing ghosts, but I will say that the author never makes fun of schizophrenia and goes out of her way to showcase the positive in Olivia’s mom. At least YA no longer avoids any real mention of mental illness.
~ I really need to read Kate Ellison’s The Butterfly Clues. I promise I will.
Lucas Stern– the ghost, talented pianist all around good guy. He made for an interesting ghost, would have loved to see more of him.
Austin Morse– hot preppy guy that at first Olivia can’t stand.
Ted– Austin’s step-dad and business partner to Olivia’s father.
Raina– Olivia’s non-ghost bestie.
Dave – Olivia’s dad. He kind of drove me nuts at times.
Miriam– Olivia’s mom, brilliant, talented, it’s easy to see why Olivia wants to get her mom out of jail.
Wynn– 5 year old future step-sister. Adorbs.
Heather– future step-mother.
Marietta– pianist with her eyes on Julliard.
Medusa– homeless beach lady who seems to know more than she should.
The other midnight moment was when Olivia speaks to Debra and finds out what became of Greg Foster, her mom’s original lawyer. It was one of those “and the plot thickens” kind of moments. I truly love those moments.
While I think there’s maybe too many unique elements stuffed into a murder mystery, I still enjoyed the book. I’m interested in reading more books by the author so even though this particular book wasn’t a home run, I’m down for a few more innings. (That was all proper baseball lingo, right?)
Kate Ellison — Website |Kate Ellison
Notes From Ghost Town gets a Midnight Book Rating of:
Bonus: I like the new cover, even if it looks like the cover model is making out with herself. Here’s a picture of the ARC cover:
This cover is almost perfect (except for the hair color). I’m always interested to see different versions of covers, so I wanted to post this.