by: Caroline Flarity
Genre: YA Supernatural/Paranormal
Release Date: April 13, 2019
Publisher: East Side Press
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"Supernatural meets Mean Girls" in this dark, YA paranormal mystery for older teens.
Sixteen-year-old Anna sees things from another world, the spiritual world, a skill that isn’t exactly useful in high school. It’s bad enough that her mother, possessed by a demon, took her own life when Anna was a child, a loss she remains tortured by. Now her father makes his living “clearing” haunted objects, and Anna’s job as his assistant makes her a social misfit. Most kids in her suburban New Jersey town refer to her just as “Goblin Girl.”
Only Freddy and Dor remain loyal friends. But Anna’s so focused on her own problems, she’s missed that her connection with Freddy is moving beyond the friend zone.
As junior year approaches, a rare solar storm lights up the night skies and the citizens of Bloomtown begin to act strangely: Anna’s teachers lash out, her best friends withdraw, and the school bullies go from mean to murderous. When Anna realizes she can harness this evil power, she sets out to save Bloomtown and the only family she has left.
But to do so, she must keep her own increasingly dark urges at bay.
Caroline gives us the rundown on the characters you will meet in The Ghost Hunter’s Daughter is a dark, YA coming-of-age paranormal mystery described as “Supernatural meets Mean Girls”.
Sixteen-year-old Anna is a grieving teenager who’s bullied at school because her father, Jack, is a paranormal investigator. She doesn’t find peace at home, either, due to Jack’s hoarding. Jack makes a living clearing haunted objects of their spirit attachments, but he has a hard time letting these objects go. Anna is forced to clamber over “Jack’s Crap” in a house that no longer feels like a home. But those aren’t the only reasons that Anna is bitter. Jack has broken his promise to make sure her mother’s soul is at peace. At least she has Freddy and Dor, her two loyal best friends. But instead of relying on them for solace on the 8th anniversary of her mother’s death, Anna finds herself escaping into her infatuation with an unworthy boy at school. Unfortunately for Anna, this infatuation, and everything else in her life, is about to get much worse. Despite wanting nothing to do with her father’s line of work, it turns out Anna has a knack for the family business. If she could only stop feeling sorry for herself, she might be able to save the only family she has left and grow up in the process.
Anna’s father was a plumber before his wife, Helen, was possessed by a demon and died. He promised Anna that he’d make sure Helen’s soul was at peace. Dealing with earthbound spirits and other discarnate entities is his everyday norm, but he’s failed to contact his wife’s soul in the afterlife. Jack blames himself, as does Anna, and has developed a hoarding problem as an outward expression of his inward pain. A hoarding problem that grows dangerously out of control as an eerily familiar evil wreaks havoc on his life and mind.
Geneva is a brilliant scientist who invented a machine that reveals 3-D images of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). EMFs can signify the presence of a spirit or entity, so this invention is a game changer in the world of ghost investigations. It’s her invention that first uncovers hideous electromagnetic anomalies in Anna’s basement. Geneva seemed to bring the sunshine with her from California and was drawn to Anna and Jack almost immediately. She mentors troubled Anna, teaching her about ancient practices of the feminine divine, such as moon bathing. She’s patient with Anna’s skepticism and teenage snark, to a point. But soon Geneva feels quite unlike her usual optimistic, spiritual self. Geneva thought she’d left her past behind, but now she can’t stop thinking about revenge.
Freddy is a space geek often seen wearing shirts embossed with the NASA logo. He loves nothing more than stargazing with Anna and Dor, but lately they haven’t seemed interested in him or his telescope. Anna and Dor are Freddy’s tribe, small but reliable. At least they used to be. Now he feels a growing distance between them. His feelings for Anna have long since surpassed friendship, but he keeps them to himself. Anna has a particularly annoying crush on a vapid guitarist at school. Freddy usually tolerates Anna’s crushes, but this one is clawing at him. A lot of things are clawing at him since the solar storms began. Freddy longs to leave Bloomtown to attend an elite school in Florida, even if it means leaving Anna and Dor behind.
In the friendship trifecta of Dor, Anna and Freddy, Dor is the one that never gets to ride shotgun. Like Anna, she has only one parent. Freddy and Anna are her main support system. She is the quickest of the three to laugh and find joy in life. But when things start to unravel in Bloomtown, Dor must care for her mother after a back surgery. When Dor’s mother begins acting strangely and lashes out in new and nasty ways, Dor finds it hard to ask her two friends for help. She drops hints, but they’re too involved with their own drama to pick up on them. While the rare appearance of the aurora borealis flickers through the night skies, Dor feels alone and abandoned. When her home life deteriorates further, she considers the unthinkable as dark compulsions overwhelm her psyche.
At first Anna thought she was shaking with fear, and then she was sure that a bee had flown into her mouth. Her jaw clenched instinctually, biting down. She braced for the soft crunch and searing sting that was sure to follow, but her teeth met without resistance. There wasn’t a bee, but her teeth continued to rattle as an electric thrumming spread throughout her body. Was this another portal attack? Anna wasn’t sure, but it was a vastly different sensation from the river rage—a much faster and higher-pitched vibration. She waited with dread for the shaking to slow and deepen, for the waves of hatred and misery to roll through her. But the vibration inside her increased in tempo, intensity and pressure.
It was like being in an airplane right before the wheels lifted off the ground—all that power. She was vibrating at a body-numbing, incredibly high rate, but was somehow still at the same time, like a tuning fork. It had been a mistake to try this in her room. What if the mirror gazing had opened her up even more to the destructive power of the portal spew? There was something familiar about it, the growing roar in her ears, but she braced herself and resisted with all her strength. No.
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