Young Adult, Paranormal
HMH Books for Young Readers
January 1st, 2005
Received in Books ‘n’ Bloggers swap
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.
The synopsis of A Certain Slant of Light makes it sound like a YA romance. And certainly it has romance in it (handled very maturely, in fact), but this book is so much more than that. Essentially, it’s a ghost story…told from the perspective of the ghost.
The romance and sex are handled in a way that didn’t make me embarrassed. Confession time: sex scenes in books are difficult for me to read. I feel like a voyeur and they totally turn me off- especially when wildly unrealistic or when they do that YA thing of ellipses with undertone of “it was perfect because we’re in lure.” Kids, if you’re reading this, that’s not how sex works. Ahem. Anyway. This was handled maturely, and I really liked the blend of candor and passion.
Mostly, though, this story is a mystery. How did these ghosts become ghosts? Why can’t they move on? What happened in their life? How do they navigate going from late twenties a century ago to young teens in modern day? It kept me engaged, all the way through. And then the ending made me cry. That doesn’t often happen, so it’s worth noting: have tissues ready.
Big thanks to Classic on the Sidewalk for giving me this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed and wouldn’t have otherwise picked up.