Publication Date/Version: June 2010/Hardcover and Paperback
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)
When Emma Vaile's parents leave on mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. Throw some parties, get a tattoo (or maybe just a piercing), and enjoy the first few weeks of her junior year. Then her best friend stops talking to her, the cops crash her party, and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian—her college-age "knight in J.Crew armor," Bennett Stern—and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.
After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular legacy crowd. But she can't shake the strange visions that are haunting her. She has memories of Thatcher she can't explain, as if she's returning home to a place she's never been. Emma doesn't trust anyone anymore—except maybe Bennett. But he's about to reveal a ghostly secret to Emma. One that will explain the visions . . . and make Emma fear for her life.
After being reported to Child Services because her parents have seemingly abandoned her, Emma is taken to Echo Point by Bennett, her older brother's friend whom she's always had a crush on. Things haven't been right lately with Emma, though. She can feel the presence of ghosts, as well as see them. Most of them are kind, but others seek to do harm. Emma must learn to control her gifts with the help of others like her before darkness strikes again.
Why haven't I read ghost stories lately? I don't know, but Nichols made it clear to me that I need to pick up more! I had no idea I would enjoy a story like this as much as I did. While the beginning had me wary, I quickly warmed to this book and I'm glad I delved in.
Emma, though she seemed a bit too typical in the beginning, shows herself to be a truly lovable main character. She's nice, mature, and handles her situation well. She respected the ghosts that surrounded, while many others treated them as servants. That aspect was what I admired most about her. She seemed to be a kind and nurturing person, one you would like to know in real life.
The story started out a bit odd, only for the first 30 pages or so, but the confusing events were explained later on. I loved the atmosphere of Echo Point, a quaint New England town, as well as the manor that Emma resided in while there. Nichols managed to take a worn out paranormal genre and add something completely new to the mix. I was fascinated by Emma's powers, as well as her daily experience with ghosts. She saw them everywhere - home, school, parties.
Helping her all the while, though they didn't know the specifics, were her wonderful friends. hey were perfect: understanding, humorous, and always there. The amount of lovable characters in this book tops most all other books.
The ending came as a bit of a shock. And whoo boy, what a cliffhanger! I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel.
Overall: Great, engaging characters. Beautiful setting. Amazing plot. A must read.
My Advice: If you're a fan of paranormal in the least, buy this. I'm excited to have my own copy.
Cover: It really fits the story with the manor, the girl, and the jade necklace. I would like to see something different with the title treatment, as it's a bit blah and plain. But, overall, I like it.