Please note: I received an ARC copy of this book from Irish Banana Tours in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect the opinions of my review in any way.
Synopsis (From GoodReads):
Megan Henske isn’t one to heed warnings…
When the last letters in her alphabet cereal are D, I, and E, she doesn’t crawl right back into bed. When her online girlfriend won’t text a photo, she just sends more of herself.
And when she realizes that Cynthia, her boss at a Chicago ghost tour company, isn’t joking about making stops more haunted by killing people there, she doesn’t quit her job—she may even help.
But who is responsible for the deaths of prominent figures in the murdermonger industry? Could it be the head of the rival tour company? Or could it be someone near and dear to Megan?
Soon after she learns that she has an uncanny resemblance to a flapper who disappeared in 1922, Megan receives a warning she can’t ignore: the next ghost on the tour might be her.
What a premise! The book is about a group of young adults running a "ghost tour" business around Chicago. But this book is also about trust and relationships. Can you believe what a person says in an online relationship? Do you know when someone is manipulating you? Megan, who longs for connections with others, finds it challenging to know which truths she can accept, and which are simply justifications for bad behavior.
What I liked:Setting:
I loved the setting of downtown Chicago! I have never been to this city, but I felt a need to take a trip there after reading this book. In the book, the tour takes people around crime scenes, disaster sites and the haunts of various notorious gangsters. I was fascinated by all the actual ghost stories that are associated with the area.
Use of Language:
One of Megan's coping mechanisms when she is upset is to look up strange old English words on the Oxford English Dictionary site. She finds lots of ways to work in such words as croft, lair-stow, and the worm's kitchen (all old words for tomb). This was a fun aspect of the novel that I loved.
As I said in the introduction, the book works to explore issues of trust. What does Megan really know about her online girlfriend? Despite Megan's pleas (and increasingly raunchy sexting), Zoey won't send her a picture of herself. Is this a smart privacy precaution or a way to avoid an uncomfortable truth? Could she be actually a 50 year-old man? A 12 year-old girl? As the book progresses, Megan becomes more and more concerned that, while Zoey knows everything about her, Megan really doesn't know much about Zoey.
Megan also doesn't know if she can really trust her former babysitter, Cynthia. Cynthia flatters her and makes her feel like an adult. Then, after gaining her trust, begins to involve Megan in activities most reasonable people would find criminal and insane. Could Cynthia be plotting to kill her and others who stand in her way of becoming a reality TV star?
What I didn't like:
I am going to try and talk about this without revealing spoilers.
I had a problem accepting that a certain group of people dying over a short period of time would not be investigated. Some of this is explained away, but I still think the authorities would have been suspicious if this happened. The characters seem unconcerned about this. I also thought Megan was remarkably unfazed by what was going on. For these reasons, I had to deduct 1/2 a star on my rating.
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Source: Irish Banana Tours
Format: Physical ARC
Recommendation: This was a fun, lighthearted story about a young person making their own choices beyond high school. With interesting touches such as the real-life spooky stories, this will be a fun book to read for the Autumn.
About Adam Selzer:
His first book was How To Get Suspended And Influence People (now available in a "Now With More Swearing" edition). His next one is Play Me Backwards (for satanic young adults) and his best known is probably I Kissed A Zombie And I Liked It, a Twilight satire that was not marketed as a satire.
He also writes the Smart Alexk's Guide series and has published a bunch of Chicago history.ghostlore books.
You can find him under the name SJ Adams, the name he used for Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue (Almost) Holy Quest Of Debbie, which won a Stonewall Honor and made the YALSA popular paperback list.
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