Book Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa B. Sheinmel

24997279Title: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl: Book One

Author: Paige McKenzie and Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just … creepy.

In the days that follow, things only get stranger. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening, and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger, Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is a fun paranormal read. It’s apparently based on a popular YouTube channel, but I’ve never seen it – although I might be tempted to check it out now – so my review is based on the book alone, and I have nothing to compare it with.

Sunshine and her mom moved halfway across the country to the small town of Ridgemont, Washington. They changed the sun for the clouds, and Sunshine’s mood seems to have plummeted along with the weather. They moved because her mom, Kat, got a new job at a local hospital. All seems to go well, right until they arrive at their new home. Sunshine tries to look on the bright side, but has trouble finding anything bright about her new home, which seems infested with a creepy, eerie feeling.

And the longer they spend in the house, the more Sunshine grows convinced it’s haunted. Her mom doesn’t believe it, being a practical person, so Sunshine starts to gather evidence. While the ghost grows more powerful, slamming doors, sobbing in the bathroom, and even playing games with Sunshine, her mom still won’t believe her. Up until something frightening happens, and afterward, Kat doesn’t even remember.

Sunshine realizes it’s up to her to solve the mystery of the ghost’s identity before her mom gets hurt.

I loved the relationship Sunshine and Kat have. Sunshine is adopted, but they still have a real bond, a real connection. They’re very much like a real mother and daughter. Sometimes they bicker, but they’re there for each other, and they’re best friends. You don’t often see that in YA, and it’s great when it happens. Unfortunately their bond deteriorates when Kat doesn’t believe her daughter, which drives a wedge between them. But even though, it was still interesting to see what this did to their relationship, and how it estranged them.

The second POV that pops in occassionally was confusing at first, and I could’ve done without. I wanted to read the story of Sunshine and Kat, and the second POV didn’t add to the tension, but instead diminished it.

Sunshine was a loveable character, quirky and fun. Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends, not even at her new school, and I found it a little hard to believe that even after being there for longer than a month, she only ever mentioned one person from school, one friend.

The ghost part worked well, and the suspense is high from start till end. There’s some build up, but from the moment Sunshine first hears the ghost, the suspense just keeps on going. The writing was spot on, with Sunshine sounding like a teenager without jumping to clichés. Some of the descriptions were plain beautiful.

This is a promising start to a new series, with a few exciting twists to the usual ghost story. It left me pleasantly surprised, and I look forward to reading more about Sunshine and her adventures in the sequel. Can’t wait.

 

Comments

  1. Abby Berkland says:

    What happens to Kat in the end of the story? How does she get back to normal? Does Sunshine ever prove the ghost to her??

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