A Cry Out of Time
(The Esme Chronicles, Book 1)
J. L. Redington
Judy Bristow, Publisher
Fiction, YA Fantasy
DESCRIPTION: Fifteen-year-old Esme never believed in ghosts... until her parents took her for a month's stay at the old Heceta House on the Oregon Coast. Reputed to be one of the most haunted houses in America, visitors report the apparitions of an old woman and a little girl who opens doors and flips light switches. Esme wasn't sure she believed all that stuff, until she starts hearing and seeing things. Even stranger, while Esme can see and hear the house's spirit, her parents are oblivious to the ghost in their midst. The little girl seems bound to Esme in some way, even influencing her dreams. If she can't help the ghost of Heceta House, Esme's coastal vacation may become her own grave.
A Kindle-exclusive title.
REVIEW: A simplistic ghost story, A Cry Out of Time tries too hard not to spook younger readers. The characters tend toward shallow sketches, invariably friendly (if affably clueless, like Esme's parents), and even the presence of a ghost barely elicits any fear. The dead girl hits it off surprisingly well with a modern teen, despite being the product of another time and, essentially, another culture. Usually, ghost stories have a mystery at their core, but the "mystery" here is too obvious to be properly labeled as such. There's a little ghostly action, a lot of silliness, and a moment-of-truth revelation in which Esme has to learn to look beyond her own insecurities for the sake of others. And that's about it. I have to wonder if this was ever intended to be a stand-alone story or simply a setup for the implied series to come. Either way, I found it too flimsy to engage my interest.
(I also have to wonder if anyone bothers double-checking their spelling and grammar software; once again, homophones slip through in ways that make the author seem amateur. "Bazaar" is a marketplace, not a synonym for "strange" - like the intended word "bizarre.")
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