Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review: Notes From Ghost Town

Notes From Ghost Town
by Kate Ellison
327 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Source: ARC for review (Thanks Egmont!)
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They say first love never dies...

When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithes is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it's only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.

There's a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there's a good chance she's losing her mind completely - just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn't really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It's the only way she can save herself
Honestly, when I first said yes to reviewing this book it was sort of as an after thought. I read over the summary and thought it sounded cool so I gave it a go. Then the book arrived on my doorstep and I had totally forgotten what the book was about. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I decided to start reading Notes From Ghost Town without reading the summary to refresh my memory, and let's just say the first chapter totally threw me for a loop. Sometimes it's good to not reading summaries guys. Seriously.

Olivia Tithe is lost. She was an artist, but now she's colorblind so she doesn't draw anymore. She had a best friend, but now he's dead. She had a mother, but now her mother is both crazy and apparently a murderer. Then Olivia gets visited by the ghost of her dead best friend Lucas Stern and she immediately think she is going crazy. But what if Lucas is right, and her mother is not a murderer? What if there's more to this mystery than meets the eye?

Notes From Ghost town is a brilliant, brilliant mystery. Truth and lies are weaved throughout the story seamlessly and I did not see the ending coming. Maybe I'm just slow to pick up on things, but I had no clue that things were gonna turn out the way they did. Kate Ellison totally threw me for a loop in the best of ways! The stand out point of this novel is definitely the mystery.

The second stand out point was the writing. Kate Ellison's prose is so gorgeous and so atmospheric that every time I opened the pages I was immediately transported into the story with Olivia. This was both wonderful, and a bit creepy at times. In fact, I did not expect this book to be as spine chilling as it was. I guess I was expecting it to be lighter with hints of paranormal ghost strangeness, but no, this book is a full on creeptastic mystery thriller. SO GOOD.

For those of you who aren't so into the mystery/thriller genre don't worry, there's still some contemporary romance aspects thrown in for good measure. There's the melancholy obviously doomed romance of Olivia and Stern (he is dead after all) and then there's the new budding romance of Olivia and rich kid Austin Morse. To be honest, I was not really a fan of Austin. He just rubbed me the wrong way, but that may just be because Stern was obviously superior in personality and awesomeness. Nothing like a piano prodigy ghost to make the heart grow fonder! As for the character of Olivia, I really loved her. She was so lost, and throughout the story I just longed for her to be found again. Her character arc was really well done.

BONUS FACTORS: The unreliable narrator! Who doesn't love an unreliable narrator? The whole "I could be going crazy, is this really happening" aspect of Notes From Ghost Town really added to the story. I also thought that the topic of mental illness was handled really well. Sometimes authors have a hard time writing mental illness related stories without things being too sappy or too insensitive. I felt like Kate Ellison hit the nail on the head with this one.

Overall this book was absolutely fan-freaking-tastic and I highly suggest it to anyone. I wish I had piles of this book to hand out on the street corner to random people passing by. It's that good! If you're a fan of mystery thrillers you cannot pass this one up. GO READ IT NOW.

Fortunately for you my lovely readers, I have been given the chance to giveaway a brand new hardcover copy of Notes From Ghost Town along with a paperback of Kate Ellison's first book The Butterfly Clues. You obviously want to win these awesome books so go enter the giveaway!

Julia :)


  1. I love the sounds of this one---and I can't wait to find out more about the "unreliable narrator" factor! I'll be sure to read this soon!

  2. Ah! This one sounds so good, too. My list of pending reads is simply too long.

  3. Yeah, I try not to read the summaries right before going into a book, as well, to keep the book somewhat surprising in my mind! This book sounds seriously good. I LOVE mystery thrillers and unreliable narrators so this one sounds like an absolute score! Thanks for the rec, Julia!!

  4. A brilliant mystery? My favorite word. Now I'm thinking I need it.

  5. Ahhh I need to read this one!!! I love that you thought it was 'fan-freaking-tastic' and LOVE that it's a mystery and oo the unreliable narrator I totally love too! Thank you SO much, I need this one asap. I think a bookstore trip is in my future now, thanks Julia! <3


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