Original publish date: 24 September 2014
A girl and her father move to a new town and into a new home. A lavender Victorian home, supposedly haunted by the atrocious mass murder of the Moss family by the eldest son, Seth, who disappeared mysteriously.
In Abigail Boyd’s Haunted Things, Ash and her father leave Indiana for a Illinois and take up residence in the Moss house despite the horror that took place within those walls, which Ash doesn’t know about until she learns about it from her new classmates. Ash has a haunted (recent) past of her own with the death of her mother and her strained relationship with her father. While settling into her new home, Ash sees a mysterious boy about her age hanging around the house.
She learns that this is Aaron, the sole Moss survivor, and she is rather predictably drawn to him and his mysterious nature. When Ash’s classmates decided to play a ghostly prank on her in her house, Aaron comes to her rescue and stirs up fear of the unhuman in her tormentors, who then target another high school outcast, Oliver. Oliver befriends Ash and fills her in on lots of details on the Moss murders. But Ash has a weird feeling about Oliver and his fascination with brutal death, particularly the ones that involve where she sleeps, and an interesting twist of events occurs to leave the reader ready for the next installment.
The story concept of a need to clarify the events and truth of a crime and ghostly affection reminded me of Meg Cabot’s Mediator series. It was easy to predict what would happen as it followed a familiar, somewhat formulaic series of events. That familiarity of a formula is a double-edged sword: readers can easily immerse themselves into the story, but it also has the distinct possibility of feeling contrived. With that in mind, I still enjoyed the elements of the story that were built upon the frame of the established concept. Ash seems a bit like the “I’m not like other girls” outsider, which is something I’m not overly keen about–since, you know, it pits girls against each other when there are plenty of other forces pitted against girls–but she didn’t continually force that notion down your throat, not to mention that it does fit within the story. It was a really quick read as the story was placed over a short span of time and the writing wasn’t too flowery or abstract.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.