17 year old Catherine is visiting her grandmother in California while her parents take a trip to Europe over the Christmas holiday. Catherine is in agony over the death of her friend, Kirsty. While in California, she meets Noah, a mysterious presence -The Presence – who promises to put her in touch with Kirsty and put her mind at ease. But who is this Noah, and does he have ulterior motives?
It’s October, and I wanted to join in on RIP and I wanted to read a ghost story targeted towards readers 8th grade and up. Eve Bunting seemed logical to me because – hello! – wonderful picture books! I didn’t know Eve Bunting had quite the reputation for suspense fiction among young adults.
This book really creeped me out. It did. I didn’t look ahead in the book – mainly because my friend Eve made me feel somewhat guilty about it the last time I mentioned that nasty little habit of mine. When things grew suspenseful, I just leaned in and read harder.
This book is really and truly about a ghost. And worse, about a third of the book is written from the ghost’s, Noah’s, point of view. He isn’t “nice” and his intentions aren’t noble toward Catherine. Of course, Catherine doesn’t know this until much later in the story. But as a reader we know and are screaming for her to pull her head out of her behind and see the truth. Hello! Let’s not try to talk to dead people, okay?
And this is what creeped me out about the book – more than the fact that it was a ghost story and that I am obviously a wimp – Catherine wants to go talk to her dead friend. She says, “I don’t know if what I’m doing is right or wrong. Bu you are an understanding God, and if its wrong I know you’ll forgive me” (85). Uh. Okay that’s presumption of God’s mercy, no doubt. But, in my experience whenever I preface an action with “I don’t know if what I’m doing is right or wrong…” I prrrrobably know that it’s wrong and I’m looking for justification. Ya know?
So whenever people want to talk to dead people, I’m out.
On top of that, there are just some really weird notions of hell and damnation. Noah, of course, was mistreated and verbally abused – spiritually abused – by his adopted parents. They tormented him with threats of hell. So when, in the 19th century, he accidentally murdered a girl – he was only choking her to keep her quiet, he wasn’t trying to actually kill her – and then met his own death. His soul departed and he was left at the church. The site of the murder. In the end, there is some kind of idea that he made an atonement – as a ghost – for his life on earth.
A quick read – I read it in a day.
What You Need to Know
- Role Models/Authority Figures – Parents are married and happy, grandmother is supportive. I’m wondering where the pastor is in all of this? Book seemed not immoral, but amoral. Or ag-moral (like agnostics?)
- Violence – Noah is pretty clear on what he wants to do to Catherine, and what he has done to the other girls. It’s violent, and scarey.
- Langage – None.
- Sexual Content – Kissing
- Consumerism – None.
- Drinking/Smoking/Drugs – Girl drank too much so had her friend drive the car.
- Religion – The haunting takes place in a St. Matthew Church – a Methodist church.
- Other –
- Neat stuff –