Title: Ghost Time
Author: Courtney Eldridge
Source: Received for review from Literary Lushes
Release Date: 6/11/2013
Description from Goodreads:
Thea Denny hates the tenth grade, and her home life isn’t easy. But she’s passionate about making art — and about her math-genius boyfriend, Cam, a recent transfer to her upstate New York high school from California. One day Cam mysteriously vanishes — and then things really get weird. The stars on the school flag go missing, eerily cut out. Intimate videos of Cam and Thea start going viral online — videos they never took. The FBI gets involved. And Thea can hear the voice of Melody, a beautiful, disabled girl her age, whose illness has left her mute since birth. Cam once claimed to be the world’s foremost hacker. . . . Is he trying to reach her, send her a sign — or is Thea losing her mind?
Ghost Time was another book that Literary Lushes put on an ARC tour. I read the description and thought it sounded interesting, so I signed up.
As soon as I cracked open Ghost Time, I knew that it was going to take a while to get into. The writing style is very strange. For one thing, and what was the most irritating, there were no quotation marks. Ghost Time was narrated in first-person, so sometimes, it was really hard to tell whether Thea was thinking or speaking. For example:
I go, All right, all right, but tell me what you were going to say before that, and Cam goes, Oh, yeah.
That’s not one of the more confusing instances, but it gives you an idea of the writing style, as this continues throughout the whole book. Also, and this is more of a personal pet peeve, but there were no page numbers. I don’t know if this was unique to the ARC or if the finished copy also lacks page numbers, but that annoyed me. I like knowing what page I’m on. So you know what I did? I counted pages as I was reading, and no, I am not even joking!
Also, going along with the writing style, Ghost Time focuses a lot on time, and it jumps around. For example, the first chapter is “Monday, April 4, 2011 5:27pm”. The second chapter is two hours later, and the third chapter is two hours earlier, and that’s how it continues. The chapters alternate between the past and the future and how they relate to the initial chapter.
Anyway, now that I got the writing style out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about the story line. If you read the Goodreads description posted above, you know the gist of it. Thea’s boyfriend disappears, and then weird things start happening. Honestly, they had me absolutely confused, trying desperately to figure out how and why this was happening, and this was the main reason I kept flipping the pages. So the strange things that happen, along with Thea’s interactions with the FBI agent assigned to the case, and her reactions to Cam’s disappearance take up the majority of the “future” chapters. The “past” chapters mostly revolve around her relationship with Cam, though sometimes we get some back story on her as well. Some of these past chapters appeared relevant to some of the strange happenings that occur, but some of them just seemed extraneous at times. If I got bored reading Ghost Time, it was most likely during a past chapter.
Thea was not a very likable character. She seemed to have a very short temper, as several of the past chapters demonstrated. There was also just something a little off about her, which almost had me wondering if she was crazy and this whole story was in her head or something. I don’t know; I just didn’t find her easy to relate to. Cam seemed kind of like an arrogant jerk, but then in the next scene he’d be a really romantic, caring boyfriend. Detective Knox and Melody were interesting characters, and Agent Foley was just all kinds of creepy, though I haven’t figured out why.
As I said before, most of the reason that I kept feverishly flipping through pages was because I was so confused and needed an explanation. I will admit that I was extremely frustrated with the ending, as it really didn’t seem to give much information at all. Honestly, if this wasn’t a book that I had to pass on for the tour, I probably would have thrown it. However, I did a little googling and found this on the author’s website:
her young adult novel, Ghost Time, the first of a trilogy, will be published by Amazon Publishing
Okay, so it’s going to be part of a trilogy. This makes me feel a little better about the ending than if the story really just ended there, but I will say, after 416 pages, I really needed a little something to be resolved! Needless to say, I’m still frustrated by the ending and also a little disappointed. However, Ghost Time absolutely had me hooked, and I will definitely be reading the sequel, so I’m giving it 3 stars.