The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

Author: Paige McKenzie, Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Source: NetGalley
Genre(s): YA, Paranormal, Ghosts
Spoilers: Mild

Rating: ★★★★☆
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Few books give me the heebie-jeebies, but The Haunting of Sunshine Girl did just that. Several days after finishing the book I found myself glancing over my shoulder and jumping at ordinary sounds. I haven’t been able to stop recommending it to others to read. It really is one of those books that grabs you at the start and doesn’t let go. Now this book is based off of a Youtube Channel that is pretty popular. I haven’t seen any of it, so I can’t comment on if it follows that or not. Regardless of that, this is worth a read.

Haunting of Sunshine Girl follows the story of Sunshine Griffith and her mom Kat after they move from Texas to Washington state. At first this gave me pause, and I sighed heavily preparing for another “girl moves from warm place to rainy Washington and meets vampires/ghouls/werewolves.” Luckily, it isn’t like that at all. Sunshine is a reader of the classics, Austen most often, loves vintage clothing, taxidermy, and isn’t much for following the cool crowd.

Her mom, Kat, is a down to earth nurse, who loves her daughter more than anything. Together they are a pretty cool duo. I mean, they have to be cool to have named their cat Lex Luthor, right?  It isn’t long after arriving to their new house that Sunshine feels a bit creepy. While Kat brushes it off, Sunshine knows that there’s something more to it. With help from her new fried Nolan, she is able to find the truth, and face the unknown with a mostly steady hand.

Now that you know the premise, let me tell you about how wonderfully written this is. From the moment you start reading, you feel the same creepiness that Sunshine does. The musky, mildewy smell creeps from the pages and surrounds you. Sunshine’s room, house, and town come to life in your mind and every detail just makes it sharper.

The prose of the book is, well, creepy. It draws you in slowly at first and keeps you hanging on every word till the end. The only reason this book took me a couple days to finish is because I could only read it when the sun was up. Even with all the unsettling feelings of specters watching over shoulder, this is one of my favorite books of 2015.

Final Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. I liked how there wasn’t an insta-romance aspect, but the relationship developed over time and was a typical, super awkward teen dating situation. Sunshine is weird, quirky, and very likable.  The novel is fast paced, but doesn’t throw so much information at you that details get lost in the flurry. The authors have crafted a beautiful tale that sticks, and keeps you coming back for more.

None of the twists were anything I could have predicted, and I actually ended up guessing wrong several times. It was a wonderful change from the cookie-cutter YA books that are typical, predictable, and, well, boring. I’m not sure how many books are in the works after Haunting of Sunshine Girl, but if they keep writing like this, they’ve made a fan out of me.


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