Review Blog

May 23 2014

The haunting of Lily Frost by Nova Weetman

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University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702250156.
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Mystery and suspense. Ghosts. Growing up. Moving house. Loneliness. The last thing Lily Frost wants to do is move to the tiny country town of Gideon. She is happy where she is and she has her best friend Ruby to smooth the way with friendships and life at school. But her parents are determined on a new beginning and have found a large, strangely inexpensive house to live in as their finances have become very difficult. On arrival at the house, Lily is drawn to the attic room, but when she enters it she is overcome by someone's secrets. It is haunted and Lily is determined to find out what happened to the girl who lived there. She is thrown in the path of gorgeous local boy Danny who was the ghost's boyfriend and she gradually builds up a picture of what has happened.
Weetman has written a totally engrossing story that has some very scary moments. Readers will be holding their breath in fear as the intrepid Lily continually goes back to the attic where messages and puddles appear on the floor. Water is a continuing theme in the book: Lily almost drowned in a neighbour's pool when she was five and the teens meet near a river.
Suspense is built up as Lily finds out why the house was so cheap, weaves her way through the politics of a new school, where she doesn't know who she can trust and learns the hard way about friendship without the crutch of her friend Ruby. There is a budding romance with Danny, but she is unsure about his motives. Lily is a complex character, on one hand unsure of herself but she has the ability to stand back and work out why she acts like she does. She gradually gains confidence in a new situation without the help of the charismatic Ruby to make life easy for her. Her snappy dialogue adds to the interest of the story.
A gripping ghost story set against a background of adolescent anxiety, this book is sure to appeal to its teenage audience.
Pat Pledger

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