The dead of winter in a Maine inn, a hunky guy who’s interesting and interested, a pair of young ghosts and a 16-year-old girl on her own—the perfect ingredients for a creepy paranormal romance.
Abandoned once again by her irresponsible mother, who is off hunting ghosts in the Pacific Northwest, Penny is sent to spend the Christmas holiday with her mother’s old friend who runs an inn and is helped out by her handsome, college-age adoptive son, George. Penny’s mother has never had much success with ghost hunting, but Penny immediately spots a pair of them: benevolent and good-looking young Blue, who teaches Penny how to “dream journey”—travel into the past by spirit—and angry, vengeful Starla. As George and Penny’s evolving relationship gets physical, jealous Starla exacts near-lethal revenge, although her ire appears out of proportion to any particular justification beyond death-addled suspicions. Penny’s evidently attracted to Blue as well as George, but the paranormal relationship seems oddly attenuated, suggested but never sufficiently developed. After Penny’s mother lets her down yet again, the teen realistically has to find ways to cope, all revealed in her believable, mildly snarky first-person narration.
Though not as suspenseful as the ingredients would suggest, it’s still an amusing and engaging romance with the added spice only a pair of specters can add. (Paranormal romance. 11-18)