Choice #1: Messy dark hair. Piercing blue eyes. Broad shoulders. Recovering delinquent. Choice #2: Curly blond hair. Dimpled chin. Boyish grin. Dead.
Jane Watts’ parents have given it all up – the suburbs, working as lawyers. They don’t even wait for Jane’s school year to finish, all three of them landing in the city so they can open up their antique store. It’s hard enough for Jane to make new friends, but when she starts seeing Evan, it is both a blessing and a curse. At least she has someone to talk to, right? Despite the fact that he’s a ghost, and no one else can see him? Eventually she crosses over to official “freak” when she has a huge argument with Evan. At school. In the middle of a crowded hallway. After trying to explain what she is seeing to her parents and they take her to a psychologist, she realizes that it is safest to keep it all to herself.
There’s a boy at school, though he looks more man than boy. Returning to school after being gone for a year, Jane hears the rumors about Connor and his stint in a hospital after trying to burn his house down. Unlike her, he seems to get a free pass, though; people are either scared of him or drawn to his good looks. One day Jane sees Connor staring at her – well, not her, exactly…behind her. At Evan.
Connor tries to talk to Jane about Evan, but she assumes he is making fun of her and her “freak” status at school. Eventually, he shares his own experiences with ghosts and talks about how they seek him out to help them. When Jane tells him that Evan doesn’t want anything, that they are friends, Connor tells her that Evan has to want something; he’s stuck between worlds. This revelation leaves Jane determined to find out the truth about Evan’s death and to help those he left behind, whether he wants her to or not. Jane finds a strength she didn’t know she had to start righting the wrongs that she can, being herself with her parents and trusting someone who loves her.
Wraith is a ghost story with strength, love, trust and determination. The characters were all three-dimensional and real. Jane’s outcast status due to something she couldn’t control or understand was wrenching. Just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, but not enough to make one’s head pop off. I have said this about other books, and it is true here as well: I forgot I was reading, I was so into the story. I highly recommend this read.
Will there be more Jane and Connor? It seems like every book is a series these days. I remember reading a great book when I was a kid and wishing I knew what happened next. Other than Nancy Drew and Little House on the Prairie, seems like most kids books were one-offs. Sometimes it’s best to leave a story because all of the secrets have been told and the second volume would not be able to hold up its own weight. I have no idea if Ms. Lawson will write any more with these characters, but I think encounters with other ghosts could be very interesting. I do know one thing for sure: Kristen Stewart will NOT be playing Jane in the movie.
4 of 5 Stars
Ages: 14 and up
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Paranormal
Wraith by Angel Lawson was published February 6, 2012 by CreateSpace. A free copy of this book was received by Ink and Page in return for an honest review.