A deliciously creepy beginning to a projected trilogy.
As 16-year-old Seattle native Sarah Parsons arrives at her maternal grandmother's funeral, she learns that her family's historic Maryland home, Amber House, has more than its fair share of secrets, having housed her lineage for more than 10 generations. Sarah and her 5-year-old brother, Sammy, feel an immediate connection with the house, and she discovers that she can feel echoes of the past, seeing visions of her ancestors—both good and bad. Predictably, there is the requisite love triangle between Sarah and Richard, a dashing senator's son, and Jackson, the quiet, down-to-earth son of her late grandmother's nurse, and it is quickly obvious who is the right admirer for her. What is truly novel is the spin that the Reed sisters and Moore, their mother, give the direction of the romance, setting this apart from many of the cardboard triangles found in the genre. Those who think that this is a straightforward ghost story will be sorely mistaken: This is a complex, layered tale that bends time and imagination, demanding to be read with all the lights on. Move over Bella Swan: Sarah is a strong, admirable character who’d rather speak her mind than sulk and sigh over some hot guy.
Richly woven, with depth and swift plotting that will leave readers clamoring for the sequels. (Horror/romance. 13 & up)