Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

Standalone
416 p.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 9/30/14
Source: ARC from publisher for review
When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, "The Art of Racing in the Rain". 
In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after. 
But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.
My thoughts:
I admit it took me a few pages to really get into this story but when the ghosts started interacting with Trevor and he fully became engaged within his family's own mystery I was caught. Trevor is an ususal kid who is smart and brave. He is only 14 but reads much older in some aspects of the book. It makes sense since he is a near genius and has had to parent his dad through much of the book. He also finds his vulnerability and you see him as only a kid at times. This created a character I wanted to know.

The ghosts in this story aren't too scary and are either helpful or mysterious. All help him to unravel history that had been going on for a few generations. The characters are lovable except for the aunt, but then again she was very manipulative. I don't want to say too much since following Trevor while solved the mystery was the most interesting part of the book. I also loved the character of the grandfather who is a mystery to himself.

I give this book 4 stars. It had a rocky start for me but finished strong. It is a book that isn't so young that adults wouldn't like it. I recommend this to those that love a good family mystery.

24 comments:

  1. Oh it's nice to have a good ghost story, it's been a while since I've read one. Plus, I love the cover!

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    1. Trevor is an interesting character. I think you'd like him.

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  2. I tried to read his previous book, but got so angry, I hope this one would be better for me

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    1. Yea, I avoided his other book because I was afraid I would feel the same way.

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  3. I have this on audio and hope to get to it soon....sounds like one I'll enjoy!

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  4. I'd much rather read a book with a rocky start that ends strong than one start starts out strong and then falls off toward the end:( Glad you were able to settle in and really ended up enjoying this one!

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  5. I like stories that go much into deal especially the history. Because history can tell us many things. Glad you like this one.

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    1. I really liked the mystery mingling with the history in this book.

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  6. I've read mixed reviews of this one, especially how everyone seemed to love the "The Art of Racing in the Rain". I do, however, like that the book has both YA and adult appeal. I'll have to check it out.

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    1. I haven't read that one and I can see how it was mixed.

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  7. Oh I have to admit i'm intrigued about this one although i'm not a hundred percent sure it's my type of read. Either way i'm going to give it a try and see how it goes! Lovely review!

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    1. It might be a good one to try from the library. :)

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  8. I love a good ghost story. I am glad it paid off with a little patience.

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  9. I really enjoy ghost stories and this one does sound very interesting, glad you pressed on, despite the rocky start

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  10. Oh this is new to me Melissa and love that it features a young hero who is geeky.

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  11. Love the sound of this one. it also seems like something I could share with the nieces and nephews.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  12. I rarely go into books with slower starts because it's so hard for me to keep at them but a strong finish is always such a relief and that's the overwhelming feeling that usually lingers as well. Wonderful review, Melissa--thanks for putting this on my radar! :)

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  13. Okay, I'm glad to hear he comes across as older than 14. And I've found that this genre usually starts slow for me, so I understand that aspect.

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  14. I really love ghost stories so this one sounds pretty fascinating to me!

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  15. That's awesome it finished strong. I love mysteries like that that have been ongoing. Definitely has me curious :)

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  16. I like the sound of this one! I'm willing to get past the rocky beginning if I can get a good family mystery. Thanks for putting this one on my radar!

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  17. I am dying to read this one.

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