May 18, 2012

Review: The Ghost of Ashbury High

By: Jaclyn Moriarty
Published: June 2010 by Scholastic.
Format: Hardback, 480 pages
First Reviewed: December 2010
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

There's two new people...

This is the story of Amelia and Riley, bad kids from bad Brookfield High who have transferred to Ashbury High for their final year. They've been in love since they were fourteen, they go out dancing every night, and sleep through school all day. And Ashbury can't get enough of them.

Everyone's trying to get their attention; even teachers are dressing differently, trying to make their classes more interesting. Everyone wants to be cooler, tougher, funnier, hoping to be invited into their cool, self-contained world.

But they don't know that all Amelia can think about is her past — an idyllic time before she ran away from home. Riley thinks he's losing her to the past, maybe even to a place further back in time. He turns to the students of Ashbury for help, and things get much, much worse.

In the tradition of the gothic novel, this is a story about ghosts, secrets, madness, passion, locked doors, femmes fatales, and that terrifying moment in the final year of high school when you realise that the future's come to get you.

Rating: 3.5/5

The reason I picked this up was because it had to do with ghosts. I. Love. Ghosts. So it already had one up in that department, even though that part fell a bit flat for me. However, this was one of the most creative novels I've ever read.

Okay, I have to be completely honest when I say this. And before you say anything, I'm admitting it sounds insane. I'm...not too sure where the setting is. Um, what? I know, I know. But I'm 95% sure it's in Ireland, but then there are sentences (e.g. She could have swam for Australia) and Australian email addresses that suggested that it's in Australia. It just didn't make sense to me. I've concluded that I just missed the detail somewhere. It's entirely possible. Edit: Apparently it's in Australia, so now I'm wondering why an Australian school is taking Irish tests...?

Anyway, what I loved most about the characters was that they all had a distinct voice and personality, which isn't easy to do when you're going through many, many different character's perspectives. However, I did have some moments were I was annoyed with a few of them. I felt that some were too immature for my liking, and while I realize that it worked in a way, it kind of made me dislike some. And a couple were not as developed as others at times.

I loved, loved, loved the writing style. Amazing. All right, now, there were flaws that I'll get to in a second, but the style in general is clever, creative, and so different that I loved it. Moriarty wrote this through exams, meetings, letters, and blogs. It's pretty awesome, I'll admit. But what I found annoying at times was the overly immature voice she sometimes gave to the characters. It wasn't all the time, which is probably why I took such a dislike to the !!! and ALL CAPS and lowercase i's at random. Also, some of the sentence structures were a little awkward. Again, not always, but sometimes. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this author's voice and skill.

I'm borderline between love, like, and dislike with the plot. There were parts I loved, mainly the beginning. But then I started to dislike it toward the middle. It became a bit boring, probably because nothing was seeming to connect. They started to disconnect even more. Then it started to pick up again, and I ended up liking it. I have to admit that I was a tad bit disappointed in the outcome of the ghost aspect. I won't tell you why to avoid spoiling anything. But I was also disappointed in how one of the most disconnected parts ended up connecting. It seemed kind of thrown in there. However, I liked how everything else was connected.

Overall, I liked this. I didn't love it, but I definitely liked it and even loved some of the characters and some of the premise. While it had some flaws, it was a different read, and I think any YA fan would appreciate the unique-style this is written in.

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