A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
Published: September 21st 2005
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Helen is a ghost, who attaches herself to "hosts," although she doesn't know why. She doesn't haunt her place of passing, or someone she once loved. No, she haunts people she doesn't know. When one dies, she haunts another. She doesn't even remember how she died, just that she's been dead for more than 130 years.This book is amazing, with some minor bumps in the road that are flattened by the sheer awesomeness of the rest of the book. Laura Whitcomb gave a fresh take on the ghost cliche, that I loved.
When she attaches herself to a high school English teacher, Mr. Brown, things change drastically for her. One of the boys in his class can see her. And not in the way that he just happened to look in her direction. He can see her and is perfectly aware of her.
Helen, who is uncomfortable at first by this new turn of events, finds out the truth about this new boy, and with his help, she goes on a quest so they can be together. In flesh.
The characterization was beyond phenomenal. I knew these people. Laura Whitcomb wrote their personalities and fear and hopes so well, that you feel like you know them. You ache when they ache. I loved the romance between James and Helen. It felt so real. It did, however come way too fast and that is one of the minor bumps that I was talking about. But the realness of the romance flattened this bump out right away. All the other minor characters had personalities too, and depth not normally received from minor characters in other books.
The plot was awesome. The way Whitcomb described "Light" and "Quick" was effortless, and you pretty much instantly knew what she was talking about, once she explained. She described things so wonderfully and it makes me not want to take for granted the small things like the way things taste and smell and being able to touch people. The twists were well thought out and placed, keeping my attention to the final page. The writing in this novel was fantastic. The other minor bump in the road didn't bother me, but it might bother other people. There are swear words and teenage sex (not graphically written, just the bare basics). Like I said, that fact didn't bother me, so it does not effect the score I gave this book.
The ending was one of the best endings I've read in a novel. I actually got tears in my eyes and was smiling as I read. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful book.
Overall, this book stands high and proud. This was a wonderful first book by Laura Whitcomb. If I didn't know better, I would have assumed she had years of experience by her excellent writing. I am now a fan of hers and will pick up any new and/or old books of hers in a heartbeat.