26 February 2015

Title: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl: Book One
Author: Paige McKenzie
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books, 280 Pages (March 26th 2015)
From: ARC
Format: Paperback
Add to: Goodreads
Order a copy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Amazon UK

Synopsis: In that place where you're more asleep than awake any more, I hear something else. A phrase uttered in a child's voice, no more than a whisper: Night Night.

Something freaky's going on with Sunshine's new house . . . there's the chill that wraps itself around her bones, the giggling she can hear in the dead of night, and then the strange shadows that lurk in her photographs. But the more weird stuff that happens, the less her mum believes her. Sunshine's always had a quirky affiliation with the past, but this time, history is getting much too close for comfort . . .

If there is something, or someone, haunting her house, what do they want? And what will they do if Sunshine can't help them?

As things become more frightening and dangerous, and the giggles she hears turn to sobs and screams, Sunshine has no choice but to accept what she is, face the test before her and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

Review: 3.5-4 stars - As a self confessed wimp who avoids anything vaguely scary I was slightly apprehensive when I started reading The Haunting of Sunshine Girl. The reviews of other readers sounded good, so with the lights on and the doors locked (no ghosties are getting to me) I began reading.

Sunshine Griffith moves to Ridgemont, Washington when her mum Kat gets offered a new job. Sunshine immediately feels uneasy- used to the sunny warmth of Texas, the gloom of Ridgemont makes it eerie. “The world has been grey, shrouded in fog”. The description of the weather always adds to the atmosphere of a book. If the book had been set in Florida, Los Angeles or somewhere else sunny it just wouldn’t have worked.

On her first night living in their new house Sunshine is woken by the sound of footsteps upstairs and a weird dream of a little girl crying also unnerves her. When Sunshine goes to investigate there’s no noise, the house is silent. So Sunshine heads back to bed and just as she’s drifting off to sleep she hears a child’s whisper “Night Night.”. Her mum blames the noises on trees hitting the window, Sunshine suspects otherwise.

When Sunshine discovers things are being moved around her room, she decides to start taking photographs of the strange happenings.

Nolan Foster is the only friend that Sunshine has made at school. They share an art class together and he seems to be the only other person at the school who doesn’t follow the crowd. When she tells him about what is happening at her house, Nolan doesn’t run for the hills or think she’s weird. Thankfully for Sunshine, Nolan’s Grandfather had some knowledge of the supernatural. Using some of Nolan’s Grandfather’s books and research, the pair start to look into ghosts and spirits.

They discover things that will change Sunshine’s life forever.

There are some chapters dotted throughout the book that come from a mystery character who is watching Sunshine- only in the last quarter of the book do we find out who that may be. These chapters although short, had me both worried for Sunshine and intrigued as to what might happen next.

There were some moments in the book that really creeped me out. The bathroom scene; when Kat, Sunshine’s mum cuts her arm when cooking and the meal that follows; fog coming through the house and objects being wet without reason. I did start getting worried more than usual when hearing noises in our house and our central heating creaks a lot.

Overall I did enjoy this book, even if it did creep me out. The reason I gave this 3.5-4 stars and not 5, when I felt so many emotions about it, is that the build up the big reveal seemed to go on for a while. I understand that this was to build the suspense and keep you reading, but I prefer to have something to grasp in a storyline and although there was the underwritten possibility of the reveal the story. It didn’t fall into place until ¾ of the way through, which I know I felt might be a bit late in the story.

Some reader’s may not think it’s the scariest book in the world, but for me it was scary enough for YA.

I haven’t seen the YouTube channel that this book is based on and I don’t currently plan to watch it. However, news that The Haunting of Sunshine Girl film is in development, has me wanting to see it. Your imagination can run wild when reading a book and I know mine often does, I can’t wait to see what a special effects department would do with this book.

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