May 10, 2012
From: Angel Lawson
Published: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Create Space
Freak. Weird. Crazy. These are the names tossed around seventeen-year old Jane Watts by her fellow classmates. But things aren’t always as they seem. Sometimes there’s a reason for talking to yourself in the hallway at school.
Jane struggles with adjusting to her new home and school after an abrupt move. She wants one thing in life—to be like everyone else at school, but that’s hard to do when you’re the new kid. But she does manage to make one friend, Evan—he’s sixteen, charming, and protective. Everything a girl could want in a best friend…with one minor caveat.
Caught somewhere between life and death, Evan is tied to Jane and the living world unable to complete the journey to the other side. She thinks he’s here to be her friend, to take care of her, and that’s why no one can see or hear him.
That is until a new boy shows up at school after a rumored stretch in Juvie. Connor can see Evan and he’s not convinced the ghost is being completely honest. From his own experience ghosts tend to need something from the humans they connect to and Evan, despite his arguments isn’t any different.
Jane is resentful of Connor’s intrusion but realizes soon enough he’s right. Evan has secrets about his past and not only did his life end tragically but members of his family are still in danger. Jane must face her fears and battle Evan’s human demons to free both of them.
**note** This book was given to The Book Hookup to read but it did not in any way influence this review.
- Christina stores Wraith on her second shelf.
Let me start this review by saying that despite what the description stated, when I picked up Wraith, I thought I was reading a ghost story; i.e., a book that would spook me out of my mind and have me cuddling up next to my husband after I was finished. The story that I actually got was something completely unexpected and more heartbreaking than scary.
The Low-Down: Jane is considered a social outcast by her peers, mainly because of a very public fight between her and her best friend, Evan. Normally fighting between besties wouldn’t label you a social pariah, but Jane is the only person who can see and hear him. You see, Evan is dead, a ghost trapped between this world and the next, and for some unknown reason, there’s a strong connection that wires him directly to Jane.
After many months of blending in and shying away from the spotlight, Jane has managed a certain level of anonymity amongst her classmates and has kept her ghostly interactions to a minimum in front of witnesses. However, that all quickly changes when the rumored bad boy returns to school. More shocking than his good looks is the fact that he tells Jane he can see Evan, too, and that, in his experience, ghosts usually want more than just companionship. If this is true, then everything Jane thought she knew is about to turn upside down. Could this juvenile delinquent, Connor, really be trying to help her out or is just using her social vulnerability to get underneath her skin?
Author Ego-booster: The author definitely captures the spirit and temperament of the everyday teenager. Often times in young adult, I find that characters come off as snotty, pretentious adults trapped in a child’s body with teenage hormones thrown in for good measure. Each of Lawson’s characters had a voice unique to them and characteristics and flaws that made them believable. The best way to make me fall in love with your book is to make me fall in love with your characters, and to to do that, they have to feel real.
I really adored Connor and Evan. Connor was a little rough around the edges in the beginning, a bit confrontational. Slowly though, he showed more depth and vulnerability, and his annoyingly persistent efforts to get Jane to befriend him made me quite fond of his charm. As far as Evan goes, you couldn’t have asked for a better friend, even if he is invisible. He was loyal and protective, made Jane laugh and smile when she thought it was impossible, and filled the lonely void in her life. I’d be lying if I didn’t say these two influenced my shelf rating just a tiny amount.
Drawbacks: Yes, Jane has a distinct voice, but it was often her anger toward Connor that I found a little frustrating. At times her hostility seemed a tad irrational, but in the end I was able to write it off because of Jane’s trust issues.
Another small (Seriously, it’s tiny.) hangup that I had with Wraith was a few noticeable editing issues. There was the occasional missing and/or misplaced word and a few punctuation errors, but even major publications with serious-business editors have these, so it wasn’t anything I couldn’t look over.
Special Notes: ***Possibly Spoilerish*** I went into this story mostly blind, not having read any reviews and without any expectations to where this book was headed. In the description, Lawson alludes to Evan’s tragic death and the danger his family remains in, but I guess I’m just not very good at putting two and two together. So, if you have trouble dealing with domestic violence, be warned that there is some in this story. It’s nothing overly graphic, but having been subjected to that type of violence in my childhood, it struck a very personal note for me.
Verdict: Angel Lawson’s debut novel was a good, quick read. She wrote a refreshing take on ghosts and the people they “haunt.” By the end, which was left relatively open, I still wanted more time with Jane and Connor. If she chooses to write more from them, the chances are high that I’ll want to read it.