This is book # 8 read for MotherReader's 2009 48 Hour Book Challenge (the 7th read start to finish). I spent three hours and forty minutes reading it, and 45 minutes reviewing it.
The Guidance is the second book in Marley Gibson's Ghost Huntress series (after The Awakening). It's quite similar in style to the first book, and a bit of a contrast to the other books that I've been reading this weekend. The Ghost Huntress books are aimed straight at the CW's target audience of fashion- and music-conscious young women. There is even a nod to one of the characters from Gossip Girl in this one. Both books are filled with more references to specific clothing brands and URLs than I personally enjoy (let along recognize), and a smidge more profanity than seems strictly necessary for character development. And yet, in much the same way I enjoy the occasional CW series, I've enjoyed both books. I can definitely see the appeal for teens, girls at any rate.
The Guidance begins about two months after the close of The Awakening. Kendall Moorehead is settling in to her new life in Radisson, Georgia, and to her newly discovered role as a ghost huntress. She's helped along in this by a team of three friends and fellow ghost huntresses, and their associated boyfriends. Kendall also has two flesh-and-blood mentors, one a local psychic and the other her parish priest, as well as a spirit guide named Emily. The girls use all sorts of high-tech tools to record evidence of the ghostly happenings (recording EVPs, taking infrared photos, etc.).
Kendall has clients who seek her help with ghostly problems. In addition to these ghostly problems, however, Kendall has issues of her own. Her religious mother is concerned that instead of a gift, Kendall has some type of brain disorder. Kendall's boyfriend, Jason, while pretty much perfect, would like a bit more time alone with her. And she's having particular trouble getting that alone time, considering that Emily is always in her head. All of these problems pale in comparison to the grief that Kendall starts to receive from teenage diva Courtney Langdon, Jason's former girlfriend, and Kendall's current lab partner. Things come to a head when Courtney starts to experiment in the paranormal world, and gets into real trouble with the ghost of a Civil War soldier.
Kendall's voice in this first-person novel is wry and believable. She sounds like a modern-day teen, with the occasional rebelliousness and snark that often goes along with that. Here are a couple of examples:
""You were home early last night," Mom says the next morning, pouring Rice Krispies into a bowl for me like I'm not almost seventeen and can't do it myself. She's such a ... mom." (Page 18, ARC)
""Read it," I say. "It might help you to understand what I'm going through. That I'm a teenager just like you." Okay, I don't, like, throw up everything I eat, like she does, but that's a problem to solve another time." (Page 71, ARC, this to Courtney, who is apparently bulemic)
"I love kissing. It's so persona. And so giving. There's nothing like it. I think I was born to do nothing but kiss this boy... It's like the best dessert I've ever had without the guilt of thousands of evil calories." (Page 219, ARC)
The voices of the other characters aren't quite so distinct, though I do enjoy the way that Kendall and her best friend quote Shakespeare at each other, and the way another friend lapses into French from time to time. I also like Loreen, Kendall's spirit guide, who wears t-shirts with slogans like "Ghosts Were People Too". I like the small-town southern setting of this book. The Civil War feels like it happened not so long ago. This offers a nice contrast with the high-tech tools of the ghost-hunting trade.
The Ghost Huntress books are not going to be for everyone. But I find them an entertaining diversion, and the ghost-hunting paraphernalia intriguing. I think that teens will, too.
Publication Date: September 7, 2009
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher
Other Blog Reviews: None, but here's the link to my review of Book 1: The Awakening
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.