Expected Publication: October 1st, 2012
By: Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, & Larkin Reed
Arthur A. Levine Books
"I was sixteen the first time my grandmother died . . ."
Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that's been in her family for three centuries. She's never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she's never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.
But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds--and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house's past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house's secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.
Sarah Parsons is not really excited when she is forced to travel to Maryland with her feuding parents and little brother to attend her estranged Grandmother's funeral. But once she's there, Sarah and her little brother Sammy both feel some sort of intrinsic connection to the family's ancestral home, Amber House, that neither can explain. So they manipulate their Mom into staying for a few weeks until they can sell the house and everything in it. During that time Sarah discovers that there might be a hidden fortune in diamonds and decides to find it with the help of Jackson, who is a distant cousin and the grandson of her Grandma's housekeeper Rose. She also finds herself falling into the world of Richard Hathaway, the son of a Senator (who is her Mom's old boyfriend), as her Mom gets ready to throw her a lavish sixteenth birthday party that will double as an open house. But as the day of the party draws near, more and more family secrets become exposed leaving Sarah to wonder if perhaps there is a sinister presence in the house after all. And if there is, can she save herself and her family from it before it's too late? So I was not really expecting to be drawn into this book as much as I was. Then again, as a reader I can never resist a good family secret. I loved Sarah because she was a very realistic, average teenager. She never knew quite how to feel about either of her parents due to her Mom's cold tactless behavior and her Dad's infidelity. As the constant caretaker of her autistic little brother Sammy, Sarah also feels like it's her responsibility to protect him no matter what, because she has an unexplainable psychic connection to him and always knows where he is. She does find out that there are reasons behind her Mom's seemingly unexplainably mean behavior and that she has suffered a lot in her life. Sarah gets to discover that nothing is black and white in the real world, which fleshes out the side characters very nicely. There is a love triangle that is not quite a love triangle, a search for lost family treasure that turns into something much more dangerous and the possiblity of changing the past. Sarah inherits the ability to see and be part of echos of the past that haunt the house. She is privy to the actual happenings of her ancestors in a way that makes me geek out cause I'm a total history nerd. I loved that the house was almost alive with the energy of the past. The ending was perfect in my opinion and seriously made me want to cry because I found it beautiful. Overall, one of the best books I've read so far this year and I highly recommend it to fans of romance, Gothic novels, ghosts, time travel and history.
VERDICT: 5/5 Stars
*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is October 1st, 2012.*