Review Blog

Oct 13 2011

Deception by Lee Nichols

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A Haunting Emma novel. Bloomsbury, 2011. ISBN 9781408819609.
(Age 14+) Recommended as an easy light read. Ghost. Paranormal. Emma Vaile's parents go missing while they are away on a business trip and she is left to fend for herself in their eerie old house in New York. Worried not only by her parents' disappearance, she is frightened when she glimpses strange things out of the corner of her eyes. When the cops arrive at the party that her friend Natalie has persuaded her to have, she is taken into custody as she has no parental supervision. Then Bennett Stern, gorgeous best friend of her brother, arrives posing as her guardian, and takes her to New England. She makes a new start at a private school, but strange things are happening in the old museum where she lives. Can she really see and talk to ghosts? Why does she have uncanny memories of places she has never been to?
Nichols has used the popular formula of removing her heroine from her parents and putting her into an exclusive school. This time, however, the heroine is not living in a boarding school, instead she is living in a museum that is inhabited by ghosts, which Emma believes only she can see. These ghost characters, who talk to Emma, make the narrative very interesting as the author takes the reader into a bygone era where there were chefs, maids and chimney sweeps, not to mention a ghost from her past who teaches her how to fence with a sword. Neos, the evil being who is determined to kill Emma, who learns that she is a ghostkeeper, brings plenty of shudders to the tale, acting in a terrifying way in a particularly nasty finale.
Emma is obsessed with Bennett Stern, but the romance seems to be rather rocky, with Bennett ignoring her for most of the book. However she consoles herself with the most popular boy in the school, Coby, even though she knows her heart belongs to Bennett. No doubt there will be further developments in future books.
The reader is left with enough questions to ensure that the next book is read. What has happened to Emma's parents and brother? ? Can she depend on Bennett? How many people will die because of her involvement with Neos? There is a trailer for Betrayal, the second book in the series, to entice readers.
This is an entertaining, light read that is a page turner and is sure to please teens who like ghost stories, romance and the paranormal.
Pat Pledger

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