Plot Summary: Chloe Saunders only wants to make friends. But she starts seeing ghosts, and the ghosts see her. This gets her locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems, and there might be more to her housemates than meets the eye.
I’ve been hearing about this book for quite some time, and had intended to pick it up for months now. I finally got a copy from the library, and Christina Farley asked if I would share my thoughts on it. So, here they are.
The author did a great job with the secondary characters. Actually, I think she did better with them than she did with Chloe. Her writing style suggests she’s more comfortable with third person than first. Some of her execution would have been brilliant in third person, but came off as awkward in first – such as describing things Chloe was doing as though someone else was watching her. Except no one is, because we’re supposed to be inside her head.
The story starts off slow, really slow. But things get very interesting about two-thirds of the way into it, and I didn’t want to put it down. I found myself cheering for the characters, and I did not see the plot twist coming at the end. But the actual ending, well...sigh.
I seem to have a thing with endings. : ) They’re very important to me, and if a story doesn’t end on a satisfying note – which is not necessarily a happy one – then I feel I’ve wasted my time with the rest of it.
As with all my book discussions, there are SPOILERS below.
This book is the first in a trilogy about kids with paranormal abilities. Because of this, the author seems to have taken one story arc and cut it into thirds – the first third being THE SUMMONING. Just as the action was ramping up, much like the way things pick up in the middle of a story, everything ended.
Anyone who’s read my review on SKIN HUNGER knows how much I dislike that. : )
I realize that the pioneers of trilogies, like Tolkien, wrote their stories this way. And some stories need to be told this way. But I didn’t get that feeling when I got to the end of THE SUMMONING. The beginning was way too slow and repetitive, and dealt only with questions surrounding Lyle House. The same questions over and over again.
As soon as Liz did her ‘poltergeist’ thing in Chloe’s bedroom, I knew there was more to the purpose of this house than we'd been told. But it takes Chloe several more chapters to get to that point, using her 'movie' perspective as an excuse: in movies, the characters always seem to believe in the supernatural right away, but she wasn’t going to fall for that because she’s not in a movie. Well, yes and no. Yes, she’s not in a movie. But no, because she is a fictional character, and therefore should be believing things at the same pace as the reader. But she doesn’t, and, to me, that felt contrived. Like the author was trying to stretch out the story.
But all of that was better than the story being cut off right when the tension was building. I felt like I was being manipulated into buying two more books just to find out how one story was going to end, and I don’t like that. Especially when I think much of the beginning isn’t necessary.
I might read the other books in the trilogy, but I certainly won’t buy them. I’ll wait for my library to obtain copies.