#1 in The Ghost Files series
Published by Limitless Publishing (13th August 2013)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Sixteen year old foster kid Mattie Hathaway can see ghosts. She’s been able to see ghosts since her mother tried to kill her when she was five years old. Mostly, she just ignores them and they eventually go away. However, when she sees the ghost of her foster sister Sally, she can’t just ignore it. Everyone else thinks that Sally is just another runaway teenager who hated the foster home she landed in, only Mattie knows the truth, and when Officer Dan takes an interest in the case, they team up and try to find out what really happened to Sally. What follows is a whole kettle of fish that Mattie wasn’t ready for, but she’ll have to deal with it if she wants to survive.
I’ve had this book sitting on my kindle for probably at least two years. I’m a sucker for books that surround the paranormal and supernatural, so when I came across this one on kindle I bought it. I’m actually a bit angry at myself for leaving it sitting there so long. I think I didn’t hold out very high hopes as this is a young adult paranormal series, yet it honestly blew me away, I was so enthralled with the story and it really surprised me.
Mattie Hathaway is a teenage foster kid, so the voice of the novel is of course going to be teenage girl. At times this did get a tad overbearing because I just wanted to throttle her for some of her childish and airheaded thoughts, but once again, she is a teenage girl, so I tried to just get over it for the most part. I guess this gives credit to Baker because she wrote extremely convincing teenage characters to the point that their ‘teenageness’ really annoyed me at times. Officer Dan is a good character and I loved the development we got with him. I wasn’t sure if he was going to be just a background character or not, and he plays a pretty strong support character to Mattie, I liked that we got to see more of him than I initially anticipated. I had pictured Mattie teeming up with Officer Dan, a middle aged man who had some experience one time that lead him to believe the teenager who is so sure that her foster sister didn’t run away. Then I realised it says in the blurb that Dan is actually a YOUNG policeman and I was left not knowing where I got my assumptions from. Dan is a 20something year old rookie who’s only been on the actual job for around six weeks or something. So they made a good pair, especially because Dan is actually a major skeptic and Mattie sees ghosts, this sort of added to their relationship in a way for me.
It is often brought up how Mattie is a foster kid, and that foster kids look after their own, and that they need to learn to be tough and take care of themselves because no one else will. This is brought up a lot, through the whole series to be honest, and it can get a little bit old at times, so that irks me a little, we get that Mattie is a foster child and that her life has been anything but easy. I guess Baker was going for a false bravado sort of wall that Mattie uses to protect herself because people are always leaving her and she feels like no one really loves her. That’s just my take on it, but I could be wrong. So just be warned there’s a lot of bravado that did have me rolling my eyes occasionally. Otherwise, I honestly didn’t mind Mattie’s character. She was written very real and three dimensional which was nice. She has flaws and I always love that about a character, it makes them seem more real to me.
The story itself is an interesting one. This is a girl who’s been able to see ghosts for the majority of her life, yet she’s never interacted with them because she doesn’t want to be the freak. So it’s not just about her trying to solve the mystery of what happened to her foster sister Sally, but it’s also about Mattie having to learn to deal with the gift that she has and try and learn how to use it and how everything works. I feel like it was nice to read a story where the main character has absolutely no freaking clue what they’re doing, they’re just winging it and hoping for the best. It’s all trial and error, and I really enjoyed it.
I had a little bit of an inkling on who the killer is, as there’s a couple of instances that sort of give away a bit more than what I think Baker was planning, but the reason behind why this person was the killer was not something I had thought of, so there’s definitely points there for me having not guessed all of it.
I really enjoyed the way that Baker wrote the spirits in this book and the overall mystery of the story as well. It just felt really fresh to me for some reason and saw me purchasing one book after the other until I’d read the five main works in the series, I have the two novellas sitting on my kindle waiting to be read. If that doesn’t speak volumes about how good a book was then I don’t know what will.
All in all, this was a fantastic opener to what proved to be a page turning series that kept me glued from page one all the way through book five. Did the adolescence of Mattie and some of the other teenage character annoy me? Yes, they did. But it’s a book written from the perspective of a teenager so unless you are a teenager, it’s probably going to annoy you. Did I feel that this was a solid mystery with some small creepy parts thrown in? Most definitely. If you like paranormal and supernatural reads and you are not afraid of a little bit of gore at times, and enjoy the young adult genre, give this one a go. Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I did.
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