Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: "The Summoning" by Kelly Armstrong

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.
All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost—and the ghost saw me.
Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.

I grabbed this book from the library on a whim, not knowing anything about the author, the series, or even what it was about really. I was pleasantly surprised by this fast paced page-turning book. The Summoning has familiar elements of "kid sees dead people," like in The Sixth Sense, but what makes the book intriguing for me is watching Chloe Saunders try to figure out what is going on in her own head, what's real and what's fantasy, and how to cope with life in the group home for troubled teens she's been forced to live in for her supposed mental illness, ie: seeing ghosts and freaking out. The added element of her not knowing who to trust and several surprising plot twists made this a fun read.
I appreciated Chloe's realistic attitude toward what was happening to her. Too many times when the paranormal aspect of a story first comes into play, the characters just swallow it down without a second thought. (Example: "Guy I love is a vampire/werewolf/faerie/pixie/etc??? No prob!") I liked that Chloe very slowly worked her way into believing in the supernatural things that were happening around her. The truth of what was going on in the group home, Lyle House, and why each of the other teens is there are unraveled slowly and not even completely resolved in this book. There are plenty of ongoing mysteries to be wrapped up in the two remaining books in the series. Oh, and you'll want to have book 2, The Reckoning, on hand because The Summoning ends right in the middle of an important and pretty dramatic conversation with nothing resolved. If you're like me and you need some closure at the end of a book, it will drive you nuts until you can read the next installment and find out what happens. Which is why I'm headed back to the library this afternoon. :)

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