Review of Ghosted by Amanda Quain @WednesdayBooks @quainiac

Ghosts and a nod to Jane Austen. What fun!

Blurb: Hattie Tilney isn’t a believer. Yes, she’s a senior at America’s most (allegedly) haunted high school, Northanger Abbey. But ever since her paranormal-loving dad passed away, she’s hung up her Ghostbusters suit, put away the EMF detectors, and moved on. She has enough to worry about in the land of the living―like taking care of her younger brother, Liam, while their older sister spirals out and their mother, Northanger’s formidable headmistress, buries herself in work. If Hattie just tries hard enough and keeps that overachiever mask on tight through graduation, maybe her mom will finally notice her.

But the mask starts slipping when Hattie’s assigned to be an ambassador to Kit Morland, who’s just transferred to Northanger on―what else―a ghost-hunting scholarship. The two are paired up for an investigative project on the school’s paranormal activity, and Hattie quickly strikes a deal: Kit will present whatever ghostly evidence he can find to prove that the campus is haunted, and Hattie will prove it’s not. But as they explore the abandoned tunnels and foggy graveyards of Northanger, Hattie starts to realize that Kit might be the kind of person who makes her want to believe in something―and someone―for the first time.

With her signature wit and slow-burn romance, Amanda Quain turns another Austen classic on its head in this sparkling retelling that proves sometimes the ghosts are just a metaphor after all.

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In the before times, before her father died, Hattie Tilney was a ghost-loving geek; it was something they shared. When her dad died, that died too. Hattie replaced her geekness with a need to fit in and be driven, just as she thinks her mother wants. When she’s volunteered by her mother to be Northanger’s ambassador to Kit Morland, a ghost-believing geek whose scholarship was given by a ghost hunting group, Hattie does everything to inform him that she doesn’t believe. And when they are paired for an assignment to look into paranormal activity, her desperation increases. But then a strange thing happens. Kit starts to barge his way through the walls that Hattie has built around her and for the first time in a very long time, she might just be herself again in Ghosted by Amanda Quain.

I really enjoyed this ghost story/YA romance with the almost irrepressible Kit and the uptight Hattie. If there is ever a character who dances like no one is watching, it’s Kit. He embraces his passions. On the other hand, I think Hattie’s uptightness sometimes went just a tad too far. In some ways I did understand her behavior but it also felt like being knocked over the head with it.

Ghosted involves takes on a lot of relationships besides the one between Kit and Hattie. Friends, siblings, parents. Quain does a great job of depicting these relationships and working through them in a believable way. Her depiction of Hattie’s relationship with her siblings is really nice.

The novel opened with a scene three months in the future from the action in most of the book that showed Kit and Hattie on a “stakeout” of sorts with the promise of perhaps ghosts but never seemed to follow through–unless I missed it. Possibly? Perhaps but doubtful since I was actively reading for it. Or maybe I was sleep reading. Oh, well.

Enjoyable and fast paced.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for a copy.

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