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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Past Midnight, by Mara Purnhagen (Book One in the After Midnight Series)

Let me set the record straight. My name is Charlotte Silver and I'm not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV…no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I'm usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven't gone unnoticed. Something happened on my parents' research trip in Charleston—and now I'm being stalked by some truly frightening other beings.

Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents' creepy occupation a secret from my friends—and potential boyfriends—is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear.

All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive….

(From the back of the book)
Charlotte's always been a partial member of the family paranormal research team. She's not the "sensitive" daughter, like her older sister, able to tell before the investigation begins that they'll be successful. She's sound crew. But that all changes while visiting and investigating in her sister's college town, Charleston.
Paranormal fiction can be really well done or it can be cheesy as all get out--in my opinion there is no gray area. Purnhagen does it well, because the After Midnight series isn't just a paranormal series. She includes a secondary focus on Charlotte just being a high school student, dealing with the usual angsty things as well as coming in to her own as a young adult in high school.

The characters are approachable, believable. You've got the down to earth ones, the slightly nerdy guy, and that one girl driven to succeed, even if it means stepping on the ones trying to help her. The only bit that just doesn't work well for me is that Charlotte's friends seem rather unphased by her sudden "outing" as the daughter of the famous ghost hunters. With just a minor bauble, they seem to take it in stride. I'd expect a little more, I don't know...teenage behavior.

Regardless, it's a good read. Believable for the most part, and page turning for those who love a good "ghost story."

Purnhagen, Mara. Past Midnight. HarlequinTEEN. September, 2010.

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book is part of the library collection for the school library I work in. I was not solicited to write a review, nor am I receiving any compensation. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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