Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Book Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie with Alyssa Sheinmel

Title: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

Author: Paige McKenzie (with Alyssa Sheinmel and Nick Hagen)

Published: March 2015

Pages: 296

When Sunshine Griffith and her mother, Katherine, move from sunny Texas to dreary Washington state, Sunshine isn’t happy. She tries to stay positive for her mother’s sake, but leaving the only home she’s ever known and moving to a cold, dark, mildew-smelling house isn’t her idea of a good time. But there’s more at work here than just homesickness. There’s something definitely wrong in this house, and it’s up to Sunshine and her new friend Nolan to figure it out. If she doesn’t, her mother’s life—not to mention everyone else’s—may be forfeit.

Anyone who has read any of my reviews before knows I love spooky stuff, so with the intriguing premise, weird cover, and established YouTube series (on which the book is based), I was stoked to read this. I was hooked by the first couple of pages and read the whole book in one sitting. That said, some of it fell a little flat for me.

What I liked was the idea of the book. I’m always a sucker for a good ghost story, and this had the potential to be an awesome one. It is often very atmospheric; I could almost hear the footsteps on the second floor above Sunshine’s head, and I could practically see my own breath in front of my face in the wake of an invisible chill. The book delivers some really great visuals, and though I haven’t seen the YouTube series yet, I can absolutely see it being a visually excellent movie someday.

What I didn’t like as much was…everything else, I guess. Sunshine is very much the cute, clumsy girl with the unique eyes and mysterious past that has become customary in a lot of books like this one, and the other characters, despite having a lot of potential to be really fascinating, just don't work for me. Even the plot eventually got boring, despite Sunshine’s ~*One True Destiny*~ that is slowly revealed throughout the book. I guess that’s where it fell off the rails for me. The book starts as one thing and about halfway through becomes something different, and I feel like if it had been kept simple, it would have been more interesting. It also would have allowed for more of a slow build on the tension. As it is, it becomes a little too fast-paced and info-heavy for the creep factor to be given proper time to simmer.

All in all, I’d give it a C. There are sequels coming out, though, so I may try them when they come out to see if I like them. If you give this one a read, let me know what you think!


Want to check out The Haunting of Sunshine Girl? Find it onthe CMRLS catalog and put it on hold!