Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart

Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: July 2009
ISBN: 006166796X
Source: Library

Nothing but Ghosts 

Katie is still trying to deal with the loss of her mother and help her father deal with it as well.  Working for the summer for the rich and elusive Miss Martine, digging a hole for a new gazebo, she stumbles upon a mystery.  Why did Miss Martine disappear 50 years ago and why hasn't anyone seen her since?  What is the real reason for the hole they've been digging?  And most of all, if she finds Miss Martine, will she also be able to fill the hole her mother left in her life?

Things I Liked:
This is a sweet story with a heart.  I liked Katie as a character - she felt real, dealing with her grief and watching her dad deal with his.  I especially loved the librarian, of course, who helped her find info while looking spectacular.  The writing is absolutely lovely, though. Probably the best part about the whole book for me.  I wasn't too interested in the mystery itself, more of why Katie felt compelled to figure it out and how that related to her grieving process.  

"People come from all over to see my funky-looking, super-nerdy dad.  Paintings arrive by crates, in trucks, on canvas rolls - favored paintings, paintings with stains and tears, paintings smoked all over by a fireplace fire or left in somebody's basement, forgotten by everything but the thick, black mold.  He studies what comes through his pairs of glasses - the thousands of pairs he wears on his head or around his neck when they aren't on the bridge of his nose." p 4
"And maybe I don't know how you put regret inside a painting, maybe I can't figure out Miss Martine, maybe I can't really save my dad from sadness, but maybe so much time goes by that you start to understand how beauty and sadness can both live in one place." p 165
A woman has gone missing for fifty-three whole years.  That's more than three of my lifetimes.  And if I know where she is, maybe it will be easier to find my mother, or some way of living, of moving forward though she's gone. p 202
Things I Didn't Like:
It was a bit short.  I thought that it ended very neatly and was a little too swift in wrapping things up.  The ending even felt contrived - it almost didn't fit with the rest of the story.  I wanted more about Katie's mother.  But, I still enjoyed the book and look forward to more Kephart.  I definitely preferred Dangerous Neighbors to this one.

Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart

Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff

s-factor: !
maybe one or two

mrg-factor: X
a little implied stuff, not much

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

It seems like there are more good stories with ok writing than ok stories with good writing.  Can you think of any?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

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