Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

I was mesmerized from the start: "Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead." Helen has haunted several human hosts since her death more than a century earlier. Her current host is Mr. Brown, a high school teacher. Helen has never taken much notice of Billy Blake, a boy in Mr. Brown's English class, until the day he looks right at her. Helen learns that it is another spirit observing her, a young man named James who inhabited Billy's body when he nearly died of an overdose.

Helen and James are strongly attracted to each other, but there isn't much they can do besides talk... unless Helen finds a body too. She does find one - a teenager named Jenny - but it isn't so easy for young people act on their desires. Especially in a family like Jenny's, where Christopher Hitchens' hyperbolic pronouncement that "religion is child abuse" is apt.

I listened to an unabridged audiobook narrated by Lauren Molina. Her confessional tone wove a narrative spell in my ears. A great ghost story with interesting characters, intriguing moral dilemmas, and passionate romance. Grade 9 - adult

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