Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review: Giving Up The Ghost

Giving Up the GhostAuthor: Phoebe Rivers
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Simon Spotlight
Series: Saranormal # 6

Sara discovers an exciting new paranormal ability—but will it hurt more than it helps? Though the paranormal has become nearly normal for Sara Collins, life has been stranger than usual lately. Accidents and mishaps are happening at home, and Sara’s dad and Lady Azura aren’t getting along very well. Lady Azura blames the negative energy in the house. Sara’s not sure what that means, but she’s also a little preoccupied dealing with a new power she’s just discovered: the ability to read minds.
What starts off as fun insight into people’s thoughts quickly leads Sara down a frightening path. Is Sara hearing the true thoughts of her friends and family, or is some sort of negative energy wreaking havoc? Sara confides in Lady Azura and together they discover that Sara’s new ability is not a gift like her other abilities. Rather, it’s a curse. A curse that Sara needs to overcome before it destroys her most important relationships.

“I’d been able to see spirits – dead people- for as long as I could remember. Recently that power had intensified, and for a while now I’d been able to interact with the spirits, to talk with them. Since I’d arrived in Stellamar last summer, I had gradually come to accept these powers. Before moving here, back when I lived in California, I’d hated them. They made me feel different, and I just wanted to be normal. But with my great-grandmother’s help, I was actually starting to look at them as the “gift” she insisted they were. Most of the time, anyway.” – Finished Copy pg. 3

“My dad and I had come to live with Lady Azura, my great-grandmother, at the end of last summer. She and I had something in common: the power to see the spirits of the dead.” – Finished Copy pg. 10

“I leaned back in my chair and stared straight ahead. I definitely wasn’t liking this new skill of mine, the ability to read minds. Not one bit.” – Finished Copy pg. 27

“I wanted to know more about this “negative energy” she kept talking about. I kept thinking there was more to the story than Lady Azura was letting on. It bothered me that she was keeping it from me. As though trying to protect me. Did she think I couldn’t deal with it?” – Finished Copy pg. 43

“I wasn’t scared anymore. I was mad. I swung my legs out of bed and set out in pursuit. I felt this overwhelming urge to follow it, to keep it from harming my family.” – Finished Copy pg. 62

It has been one of my goals since the beginning of the New Year to try and read as much middle grades fiction as I possibly can. Books like this one make me wonder why I don’t read more of them? This book is number six in an ongoing series by Phoebe Rivers about a girl who can see and talk to spirits. Sara, our heroine, hasn’t quite figured out if this is a curse or a blessing as of yet, but with the help of her great-grandmother, in this book, she may just come around to the idea a little bit more. In this installment, Sara and her great-grandmother Lady Azura, who can see spirits as well, are sensing a negative energy in the house and Sara is bound and determined to figure out what it could be before it hurts her family.

I love to see how Sara’s character grows throughout the series. For example, in this book Sara obtains a new “gift”: reading the minds of others. Just when Sara thinks she can accept the fact that she can see and talk with spirits, she is thrown another curveball. I love how Sara continues to try and live a normal life and still submerge herself in her crowd of friends and not single herself out or label herself “different” or “odd.” Sara finds solitude and comfort in her family as well, and I think this sends out an awesome central message for the targeted age groups for this book. She puts her family first and does anything she can to ensure their trust and safety.

These books are so unbelievable cute and so easy to read. I was finished with this book before I had even started it, and Rivers relates the text and the events in Sara’s life to things that pre-teens might experience today. She draws in central issues like problems or disagreements among Sara and her close friend in order to draw the reader in and hopefully relate them more closely to Sara herself. I love this series and my younger cousin loves when I receive books like this one too. So not only do they have one vote, but now they have the vote of one eager eleven year old as well! Check them out today. This would be a wonderful book to tempt younger children that don’t always have the desire to read.

***A HUGE thank you to the publishers at Simon Spotlight for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

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