THE GHOST HUNTER’S DAUGHTER
by Caroline Flarity
Sixteen-year-old Anna sees things from another world, the spiritual world, a skill that isn’t exactly useful in high school. It’s bad enough that her mother, possessed by a demon, took her own life when Anna was a child, a loss she remains tortured by. Now her father makes his living “clearing” haunted objects, and Anna’s job as his assistant makes her a social misfit. Most kids in her suburban New Jersey town refer to her just as “Goblin Girl.”
Only Freddy and Dor remain loyal friends. But Anna’s so focused on her own problems, she’s missed that her connection with Freddy is moving beyond the friend zone.
As junior year approaches, a rare solar storm lights up the night skies and the citizens of Bloomtown begin to act strangely: Anna’s teachers lash out, her best friends withdraw, and the school bullies go from mean to murderous. When Anna realizes she can harness this evil power, she sets out to save Bloomtown and the only family she has left.
But to do so, she must keep her own increasingly dark urges at bay.
“Want a new nick name?” Sydney asked. “How ‘bout Frankenskank?”
Damn. Anna had spent so much time on her eye makeup that morning that she forgot to cover her scar. Her fists clenched. She was microseconds away from smacking Sydney right in her perfect face. Her palm actually tingled in anticipation of the after-slap burn.
“All dressed up and no place to go,” Lyric sneered, indicating the cleavage exposed by Anna’s scoop neck.
“Except maybe a whorehouse!” Sydney yelled, attracting the attention of everyone in the commons who wasn’t already watching.
One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi. Breathe. Anna restrained herself, knowing that in her current state of mind one slap wouldn’t be enough. In fact, while the river raged, she might also decide to go ahead and slam Sydney’s head into one of the metal lockers, perhaps several times. Nausea rolled in Anna’s gut. She was disgusted by the burst of pleasure the violent fantasy brought her. She took her eyes off of Sydney’s smug face and scanned the commons. Was there a portal here, too? There must be, but Bloomtown High wasn’t on Saul’s list.
Anna forced herself to walk away from Sydney and Lyric, ignoring their parting sneers. Was she being paranoid or was everyone in the hallway gawking at her? Anna picked up her pace, her heart dropping into her churning stomach as she passed a blur of scornful faces. Everyone was looking at her, and the worst part—she thought about Craig’s snub that morning—was that she might know why.
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I’ll be honest. When I first started reading this, I wasn’t sure what I’d gotten into. The story concept seemed solid, and the setting was interesting. But the characters all just seemed so strange. The teen angst was there in a big way, and it wasn’t just the teens. Almost everyone was angry, and the choices people were making weren’t all working for me.
This book surprised me in a lot of ways. It’s subtle, masterfully subtle. There are a lot of big-picture issues in here that almost snuck by me. The author makes some bold statements but in a way that doesn’t preach. If you’re careful, you’ll see them, and they will wow you.
The story itself is also subtle. At first, I was rather annoyed with Anna. She seemed to be the most angsty, pissy teenager who ever went through hormonal changes. And the rest of her school seemed no better. I wanted to grab the entire place, shake it, and ask what was wrong with it.
In fact, this is exactly what I should have done. I won’t spoil, but this book went on to reveal explanations for just about every thing I disliked in its characters. And the explanation was good. It made perfect sense in the story. Like the issues this book touches on, it was so subtle that I missed it until it smacked me in the face. It really turned my opinion around.
There is some content some readers may find gross. This book isn’t necessarily for the weak of stomach. While the story did explain away most of my issues, there were still a few things that bugged me. Maybe I’m overly critical of teen thought processes. I’m perfectly willing to accept that my dislikes are 100% subjective. I really do recommend this book. Not in a shout it from the rooftop’s kind of way. More like in a “hey, I read this, and it resonated a couple of days after I finished it” way.
Caroline Flarity is a web content producer living in NYC. Her fascination with fringe topics and love of scary movies led her to begin her writing journey penning creepy screenplays. Her debut novel THE GHOST HUNTER'S DAUGHTER started life as a feature script, placing in the finals of the StoryPros Awards and as a semifinalist in Slamdance Film Festival's writing competition. She enjoys pitting her characters against both supernatural and cultural evils.
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Caroline Flarity will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway