published by: Simon Pulse
publish date: January 3, 2012
Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
I was surprised by this book. I liked it a lot more than I was expecting. It dealt with some serious issues like mental illness and the struggles of blended families in a thoughtful manner, but at the same time kept up the humor and snarky teenage sarcasm.
The setting for this book was perfect. The new stepfather moves the family into his estate on a tiny island off the coast of Washington. Everybody knows everybody and they all know the murdurous history of the creepy mansion.
Honestly, I wasn't too thrilled with the relationship between Isobel and her step brother Nathaniel. However, I suppose those things happen (specifically two older teenagers falling in love with each other when they have only become brother and sister because their parents have just gotten married). I'd be a hypocrite for fussing about it here when I accepted it in Tabitha Suzuma's Forbidden and that was blood relatives. There I specified that book was for older YAs so I think I'd probably make that stipulation on this book too. This topic has led to a lot of discussion about what is and what isn't appropriate in YA literature. What say you?