Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl ~ Paige McKenzie & Alyssa B Sheinmel (arc) review [@hauntedsunshine]

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
Weinstein Books
March 24, 2015
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

Based on the wildly popular YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl has been described as “ Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity for the new media age.” YA fans new and old will learn the secrets behind Sunshine—the adorkable girl living in a haunted house—a story that is much bigger, and runs much deeper, than even the most devoted viewer can imagine…

When a book tells me it's for, "fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural," it has a lot to live up to. Sadly, for me, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl never quite delivered that greatness.

Sunshine Griffith has recently turned sixteen and she and her mother are leaving Austin - where she's always lived - behind. Their new home in Ridgemont, Washington holds a great, new job for Sunshine's mother and more than a little creepiness as far as Sunshine is concerned.

It is almost immediately clear that Sunshine's new home is haunted.  The question is what - if anything - she can do about it. And what the cost of not figuring things out may be.

The flow of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl felt off to me. I liked the introduction to Sunshine, her mother and their cat and dog. I liked that the ghostly activity began almost immediately. Yet, something kept me from really being drawn in by the story.

The timing was tricky, too. I would think things were happening in a certain length of time only to find out in the next chapter or on the next page that weeks or months had passed from when I thought it was. It left me wondering about the in-between. If Big Thing A and Big Thing B were a few weeks apart, what happened in between? She's living in a haunted house, adjusting to a new school and new state but I didn't feel we got a lot of her day to day life.

The 'action' of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is really well done. The who, what and how that is created with the supernatural elements is great. It is original and presents a lot of opportunity for where the story can go in the next book(s). I even liked that there was a bit of a cliffhanger because the developments all led up to it so well.

Back to the Buffy and Supernatural mention, if we get more from the characters - their relationships, time where they're not working on the haunting, their interactions - I could really, really enjoy Sunshine Girl. (It may be the transition from YouTube to novel that kept the focus so much on the paranormal parts of Sunshine's life. In the next book, I do hope to get to know the characters more.)

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is a fun, creative ghost story and the supernatural workings are well imagined and leave a lot of potential for future books in the series.

arc received thanks to the publisher

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