Friday, August 19, 2011

A Good Old-Fashioned Southern Haunting

Published: 07/12/2011
Texas Gothic
By: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13: 978-0385736930

Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face. 


 Amy Goodnight is the gatekeeper between the normal world and her family's supernatural, kitchen-witch lifestyle. All she wants is a normal existence...or at least that's what she tells herself. So when she goes to house-sit for her Aunt Hyacinth for the summer with her sister Phin (Delphinium!) she's not expecting anything too out of the ordinary. First she's accosted verbally by Ben McCullough, a boy about her age who is part of a family with a 'ghost' problem who resents her family's hocus pocus. Then a spirit attaches itself to her and wants her to find what happened to him. Plus, there's a dig site where Ben's family was building a bridge and multiple human remains have been found. Add that to threatening notes, slashed tires, and hot makeout sessions alternating with verbal blowouts with Ben. Mix it all together and Amy is in for one helluva summer! I truly enjoyed this book. I'm not completely in love with it because it just didn't connect with my heart the same way it did with my funny-bone, but I do like the twists and turns that keep you going and the snarky sense of humor shared by Amy and the author. Also, Phin is a wonderful supporting character, good-hearted and genius smarts, but totally commonsense and human interaction clueless.  I really enjoyed the surprise visit by their cousin Daisy, who has a connection to spirits of the dead. It makes for some fun times. Plus, all the college kids from the dig site were a really great addition to the narrative and added to the flavor of the book. I really liked how Clement-Moore drew from actual historical events and places in Texas.  Amaryllis 'Amy' Goodnight was a self-sufficient, likeable heroine who was in search of her own purpose in life and the place she fits into her family AND into the rest of the world.  It was really awesome to tag along for the ride as she figured it out.  Overall a very enjoyable read and definitely worth the time spent.  I would recommend this to people who don't mind a heroine who is an older teenager (Amy is newly a high school graduate), a fast-paced story and fun characters who keep you hooked.  This book is a true slice of Southern sweet potato pie and you should only dig in if you're not afraid of calories!

VERDICT: 4/5  Stars

*No money was exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores and online.*

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