(#94) Book Review: Texas Gothic

When Amy Goodnight told her aunt that she and her sister would watch over her ranch for the summer, she didn’t know that it would entail discovering bodies and dealing with a ghost who wants revenge.  To complicate things, her hot cowboy neighbor keeps showing up and driving her crazy.  As she and her sister Phin try to solve the mysterious ghost sightings, Amy realizes that struggling to be normal in a family of witches might not be worth it.

Rosemary Clement-Moore’s atmospheric, fun paranormal novel about sisters battling ghosts is the epitome of fun summer reading.  Clement-Moore’s prose is light and Amy’s narration is conversational.  The characters in the novel are exceptionally well-developed and the story is compelling.  Apart from some slight pacing problems and a feel that the book could have been a bit briefer, this is an incredibly enjoyable read.

To her credit, Clement-Moore has created a world where the magic feels natural and the characters use it and comprehend it in an authentic way.  Nothing about the way the magic is inserted into their world feels clunky or unlikely.  Amy and Phin have grown up using magic and science together, and they respect it (though Amy does fight against her own power in her quest to be seen as normal).  The supernatural mingles with the natural in this story, as Clement-Moore inserts quite a bit of physical anthropology into her story (this book is the equivalent of a love child between Supernatural and Bones).  All of this is done exceedingly well, and it’s clear that Clement-Moore did her research.

There’s something inherently charming about the novel as well.  It might be the conversational tone that Amy uses to narrate, or it might be the palpable chemistry between the characters (all of whom are given care and detail–even the minor ones).  Whatever it is, this is a very fun read.  Although it starts to feel overly-long in the last third, Clement-Moore’s rising action is enough to temper even the most impatient of readers.

Recommended to fans of paranormal ghost stories.  Although it’s definitely good for summer reading, it would also work right around Halloween.

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore.  Random House Children’s: 2011.  Library copy.

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