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WinterRose

WinterRose

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The School for Good and Evil
Soman Chainani
The Ghost in the Glass House - Carey Wallace I saw this book in the store and was immediately drawn to the cover. A read over of the plot summary pulled me in, so I downloaded it for my Nook when I got home. Unfortunately it did not live up to my expectations.

The basic premise is that 12 year old Clare and her widowed mother have come to live in a seaside summer house after having traveled many years. Clare is weary and wishes to return home and find some stability in her life. In the midst of this sojourn, Clare discovers a ghost boy who resides in the glass house on the property of the summer home. She tries to keep him a secret from her friends and family while attempting to discover his identity.

On a technical level, the book is not poorly written, per se. However, the transitions are very disjointed (particularly the chapter transitions) and the author has a habit of going off into tangental expositions which causes a loss of focus and confusion in numerous places. The biggest problem was that the story's pace is very slow and overall, it is utterly bland. We have a few tender moments, but I had to force myself to keep reading as there were several times I found myself so bored I wanted to put it aside. Hoping for a payoff, I continued on. There was no payoff.

For me, it felt like the book contained two totally different stories which were not seamlessly blended together. (*SPOLIER ALERT*) I get that the author attempted to wrap the ending up to show a paralell between the ghost,"Jack", not being able to let go and move on and Clare's mother also not being able to do the same and how both, in the end, decide to finally let go and "go home". A satisfying and sentimental ending, sure. However, the journey to that end was not memorable or gripping in any way. (*SPOILER ALERT END*)

The other thing that bothered me was the maturity issues contained within. I found the book shelved in the YA section and yet our main character is only twelve. At first I assumed that it was misshelved but during the course of reading, I found myself feeling that Clare acts and behaves far too maturely for her age. Granted, I understand that there are children with "old souls" out there who have been put in situations where they have had to grow up fast and have matured quicker than there peers. That would have been fine, but the level of detail Clare invokes during her introspective analysis does not ring true or believable for a kid her age. Furthermore, I felt some of the scenes were described far too sensually for a middle grade audience. It is fine for a Young Adult audience, but not Middle Grade. It's too mature and slow for middle grade and the protagonist is too young and unappealing to a YA audience, so I am truly confused about who the target audience for this book is.

Overall, the concept and basic message was good but I don't think the story managed to deliver it in a compelling way. Had the ages of the characters been raised to 15 or 16, more dynamic action occured and the transitions cleared up... it might have been a good YA read. But seeing as that is not the case, I cannot reccomend this story.