Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Review: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

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A Certain Slant of Light
(A Certain Slant of Light, #1)
Laura Whitcomb
Released September 21st, 2005
by Graphia

Helen is a disembodied spirit who “attaches” herself to humans in order to possess their bodies. Unable to remember the circumstances of her death, and with no idea why she’s in this precarious state of limbo, she knows this much: she’s been haunting the living world for 130 years. But when Helen inhabits the body of a high school teacher, everything changes. For though he remains quite unaware of her presence, a certain boy in his class is clearly able to see Helen. This realization, and Helen’s subsequent introduction to him, rocks her world.

Uncomfortable with the boundaries of her existence, Helen continues to test them and takes hair-raising risks — often for love. Moved by her passions, she is stymied by limits placed on her that she doesn’t yet understand and is unable to control.

Well, if I had one word to describe this book it would be Weird. It is definitely weird and maybe a bit disturbing if you really thing about it. But this is fiction so I’ll take the disturbing and roll with it, and I still quite enjoyed the story.

It’s hard to explain what the book is about without getting spoiler-y. So just quickly, it’s about a ghost with no recollection of her death who clings to humans to escape her hell. For the 130 years she’s been a ghost, no one has ever been able to see her, until now. It’s more of a love story than anything else, but there is still a bit of suspense and mystery. Although it’s not your usual love story, or even ghost story, that you find in YA novels. I’m actually surprised it’s considered YA at all. They’re basically adults in teenager’s bodies. So their romance is passionate, more mature and more descriptive than what you usually find in YA.

It takes a while for the meaning of the story to become known. I really only understood it near the very end. However I was never bored, just curious as to what direction it was going to go. So this isn’t an action packed novel; it’s a story of love and self discovery that you sit, ponder and enjoy.

The writing is magnificent. The protagonist has been dead for 130 years and the author really adapts the dialogues for her day and age. It’s wonderful. The characters become painfully real, extremely likeable, and the obstacles they go through are unimaginable. I also loved the poetic and dark aspect of the story. You feel their pain and, when she was recalling her death, my heart was really breaking with hers.

This is the type of book where you either love or hate it. It’s not for everyone, but you should still give it a try. It may surprise you.

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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16 Responses to “Review: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb”

  1. Demijel

    I’ve been wanting to read this book for four years. Four! I still haven’t gotten around to it. There was a copy of it in Chapters (the B&N of Canada)but when I came back to buy it, it was gone xD I think I would really love this book. I hope so. Anyway, great review!

    Demi @ Only Somewhat Queer

  2. Mimi Valentine

    LOVE or HATE books? Ooh, I’m always so worried about these ones because I’m afraid I won’t like them! But I tend to adore them anyways, so you can bet I’ll take the chance and read this one! 🙂

    Plus, the idea of body possession? Totally creepy and cool at the same time!

    Awesome review, Giselle!

  3. Andra

    wow it definitely sounds nothing like anything I’ve ever read! I love the idea of a mature love story for teens. I read a TON of YA…and I get so irritated with the whole…”I met you 20 minutes ago…but I will love you until my DYING BREATH!”…cough…okayyyy? lol Thanks for the great review!!

  4. Silsbee

    Thanks for stopping by my WoW post today. I think this book looks even better than your WoW pick! 🙂

    I may have to give it a read… 🙂

  5. June G

    This sounds awesome! I’m definitely getting it! I’ve never heard of it before. Graphia, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin is known for edgier books. Graphia=graphic…get it? Lol…
    Thanks for dropping by. Your comment made me realize my WoW post for today didn’t go through cause you commented on the one from last week. I guess I was so sleepy, I dreamed I pressed the “publish post” button! Lol…I corrected that mistake though and now this weeks, WoW is up.*shaking my head*

  6. Meghan @ Books and a Cup of Tea

    Such an awesome review!

    I agree that it’s not one that has a lot of action, but I simply adored this book and I cannot wait for the next one, though it seems like I’ll have to wait a while on it.

    They definitely had an older voice, though, and am quite surprised it’s classified as YA, as well.

    Sadly, I borrowed my copy from the library, so I don’t have this beauty on my shelf, but I will someday :P.

    I’m a new follower :).

  7. Candace

    I read this book a few years ago. I know I absolutely loved it, but it’s so hard for me to remember it real well. I do sort of remember the part about them being adults in teenage bodies though. I think I need to reread, but I’m afraid I won’t like it as much. Glad you liked it even though you felt confused so much of the time.

  8. Jena

    I agree with your review. I read this book for a college assignment and I thought it was weird too. I honestly was having a hard time with it. But, I agree that the writing was fantastic.

  9. A Canadian Girl

    I was recommended this one by a friend and while I liked the writing, I found the story hard to get into. I think you’re spot on in saying that this book is one that you’ll either love or hate.