for ages 11+
If you are seeking an exciting paranormal read which includes everything from murder, mayhem and ghosts to an ancient evil and UFO hunters you cannot do better than read this adventure filled novel by Emily Diamand, which will appeal to young readers and adults alike. Caroline has also reviewed this book and if you would like to have a look at her review too click on the link at the end of this post.
In Ways to See a Ghost, Gray, the teenage son of a UFO conspiracy theorist and Isis, daughter of a charlatan psychic, are thrown together when their parents start dating, after meeting at the scene of a strange death. Both teenagers come from broken homes and whilst Isis lives with her mum, who has parted from her dad some time ago, Gray, whose mum has custody, visits his dad regularly and accompanies him on UFO seeking missions.
After a rocky start, Isis and Gray form a close friendship and uncover the sinister intentions of the charismatic Philip Syndal, the head of an elite psychic society that Isis’ mum has been inducted into. The tale unfolds into one of great intrigue and danger, involving a series of bizarre and ever increasing sinister events, where Isis’ sanity and even her life is under threat. Unlike her mother Isis can really see ghosts, an ability which manifested itself after her little sister Angel died in a car accident. Indeed, Angel’s ghost plays an important role in the story. Isis has never revealed Angel’s existence to her mother for fear that it could traumatize her.
The book is full of strange and sometimes horrific events. Indeed, its opening scene is in the middle of a wheat field where Gray and his dad witness unexplained lights in the sky, which create a series of crop circles which Gray manages to capture on film. There are also references to the many ghosts who seek to communicate with Isis, who is a powerful, albeit unwilling psychic. I enjoyed the descriptions of the paranormal events, which were very vivid and swept me up into the story. As the book progresses, we learn of a connection between the lights seen by Gray and his father and ghosts and events become more and more terrifying before the plot unravels.
I enjoyed all of the characters in the book. Gray and Isis, both strong and likeable characters, form a close bond and their friendship deepens as the book progresses. Whilst Isis is sceptical of the research carried out by Gray’s father to prove the existence of UFOs, Gray is equally sceptical of Isis’ claim that she can see ghosts, until she gives him proof that Angel exists. I loved the character of Angel, who, even as a ghost is a typical precocious and playful three year old, often exasperating her older sister. The way Isis, Gray and Angel interact and work together to try and defeat the evil which manifests itself is one of the most satisfying aspects of the novel. Other characters include Cally, Isis’ mum and Gil, Gray’s dad, who are both a little eccentric, playing their respective parts as a fake psychic and a committed UFO hunter to the full. Gil is a bit of a ‘Jack the lad’ who usually plays the field, but has fallen hard for Cally and Cally, who has been in a dark place since Angel’s death and the breakdown of her marriage, finds that loving Gil has given her a new lease of life.There is also a ghost called Mandeville, who has a key role as the tale unfolds, and Phillip Syndal who runs the elite psychic society, who has many secrets and harbours great evil. A fun character, Stu, a friend of Gil, known as ‘The Keeper’, who holds a lot of information on worldwide conspiracy theories, provides some humour.
The novel covers the usual tensions between parents and teenagers and I found it amusing that the reader sees their parents’ relationship through the eyes of their children, who both find actions such as kissing and hand holding yuk! Some chapters are told in the first person from Gray’s point of view, looking back on events and others in the third person. This is effective in that we are able to view events from multiple perspectives and time frames and adds depth to the story. There is also a mystery person interrogating Gray in his chapters and the author does not reveal to us who this is, which I find fascinating and I am hoping to find this out in the subsequent novel. The book also has an environmental subtext throughout, in its references to the harm man has inflicted on the natural environment.
I recommend this book to young and adult readers who enjoy exciting con temporary tales of the paranormal.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
For Caroline’s review click here
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher for the purpose of an honest and fair review.
Templar Publishing www.templarco.co.uk
Cover art by Ben Kovar
Publication July 2013