Notes from Ghost Town - Review and Giveaway (US/Can, ends 3/6)

Publication date: 12 Feb 2013 by Egmont USA
ISBN 10/13: 1606842641 | 9781606842645

Category: Young adult mystery/suspense
Keywords: Murder, schizophrenia, color-blindness, family
Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Source: ARC for review


They say first love never dies...

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death. 

There’s a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can save herself.


Kate Ellison lets spots of color and light shine through Notes from Ghost Town's bleak and dreary premise. The main story revolves around the murder of Stern, Olivia's best friend, whom her unstable mother admits to killing. Ellison touches on all the nuances of love: kindness, friendship, family, first love, and even love turned to hate, to make this a moody and tender read. The settings sometimes seem contrived, missing flavor and making Miami seem like just any other locality, but enough of the characters and their occasionally surprising interactions are relatable enough to keep you reading.

Some readers might find Olivia's brattiness intolerable, but I felt invested enough in her heartbreak to want to know what really happened to Stern. I liked how she interacts with her soon-to-be step-sister, despite really hating the fact that her dad is remarrying so soon after divorcing her mother. I was hugely annoyed whenever she took unnecessary risks or behaved like a spoiled child, but I think it was mostly because I was starting to like her and wanted her to succeed, to heal, and to change for the better. Most intriguing of all is her worry that she has inherited her mother's condition and is herself headed for a psychotic break.

It's hard to articulate what I felt about this book. It's not so much that I enjoyed reading it as that I wanted everything to turn out ok, and so I kept turning pages. Fans of fast-paced mysteries should go look for another book: this one is slow, misty, and contemplative. I think this would make a great mostly-black-and-white movie.

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*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

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You can enter to win both Notes from Ghost Town and The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison. Just use the Rafflecopter widget below. US/Canada only; I will randomly choose a winner after March 6. Thanks so much to Egmont for sponsoring the giveaway.

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