Sixteen-year old Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the damp, dreary town of Ridgemont, Washington. Although adopted, Sunshine and Kat have always been especially close, but from the moment they arrive in their new home, a strange uneasiness springs up between them. Although Kat doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong, Sunshine knows there’s something creepy about the new house. In the days that follow, Sunshine begins to feel that they are not alone. She’s followed around the house by an icy breeze, and she keeps hearing the sound of a child’s laugh, which eventually turns into sobbing. Then there’s the moving of her belongings by unseen hands. It’s soon apparent to Sunshine that not only is the house haunted, but that her mother is in danger from a malevolent entity. Thankfully, she has her new friend Nolan to help her for she discovers that she’s not your typical teenager and that ultimately she is the only one who can save her mother.
First of all I had no idea that this started as a YouTube series with Paige McKenzie playing the role of Sunshine. That’s actually her on the gorgeous cover. After reading the book, I’ve been catching up with the series and I must say it’s quite clever. I’m happy though that I hadn’t heard of it so I was able to jump into the book with no preconceived notions. The novel is a refreshingly original version of a classic ghost story. The strongest part of the story is Sunshine. She’s a well-adjusted teenager who isn’t exactly happy with moving halfway across the country when her mom gets a new job, but she understands the need for the move. Her relationship with Kat is so close that I had the impression she’d be fine living pretty much anywhere, as long as they were together. And that’s what makes it so heartbreaking when that relationship begins to unravel. Sunshine is quirky without being annoying. She loves wearing vintage clothes, much to the dismay of her best friend, and is a bit of a bookworm. She’s also pretty accepting of other people no matter their idiosyncrasies. Nolan is the perfect match for her and I found their budding romance sweet, without being a distraction. The tension slowly builds throughout the book beginning with the odd “Huh” moments to more “creeptastic” ones. I actually found myself wishing that things got a little more scary. Without giving away any spoilers, the mystery involves not only what is going on in the house, but what Sunshine’s destiny is, and peripherally what role is Nolan supposed to play. It’s evident from the conclusion that the story will be continuing and I’m very interested in seeing in what direction the authors take it. Meanwhile, I’ll have to be content catching up with the YouTube series.