Title: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl: Book One Author: Paige McKenzie
Publish Date: March 24th, 2015
Shortly after her 16th birthday, Sunshine and her adopted mother Katherine move from sunny Texas to cold rainy Washington State. From the moment they pull up to their new house, Sunshine feels the creepy vibes coming off the house. And it becomes evident that very first night that the house is haunted. Doors closing by themselves, footsteps that only Sunshine can hear, children's laughter, and toys and board games being moved and set up for play are all the proof Sunshine needs to believe they are haunted by a 10 year old girl, but Katherine remains skeptical, believe only facts supported by science.
Things go from creepy to downright horrifying when Sunshine realizes she not only doesn't believe, but her mom doesn't even remember the spooky events that happened. Undeniable, unforgettable event that leave Sunshine shaken to her core. With them help of Nolan, her only friend at her new school, can she figure out what's going on before it's too late?
I had never heard of the YouTube channel "the Haunting of Sunshine Girl" before reading the description of this book. So obviously, a did a little research before digging in. I watched the first "season": about 80 1-2 minute videos. There's at least 7 seasons I believe, but not knowing exactly how closely the book follows the videos, I decided to stop there and hopes I didn't spoil too much.
At least compared to the 1st season, the book seems to have gathered loose inspiration from the channel and while throwing nods towards the video, the book seems to be different. So this is a book you could easily read without needing to watch the videos to understand anything.
Cover: I was drawn in by the cover. Girl in froofy dress floating in mid air with an antique-y filter? I'm so down for that! My one gripe is I get a southern belle feel from the cover. I can so see this fitting a ghost story set in Georgia. But I don't care because it's still an awesome cover.
StoryLine: I really enjoyed this book. I'm a scary movie fanatic, I love thrills and I love to be scared. And while this book didn't scare me, there were a few creepy scenes and it was all around a good suspense. The book is shrouded in mystery almost clear in to the end. While there are little bread crumbs dropped here and there to lead the reader on the path of uncovering the secrets, it takes about 75% of the book before the pieces start coming together. That's why I couldn't put it down, I just had to know what was going on.
The lore behind this was interesting and had a nice twist to it. It wasn't one of those things where once it was revealed you roll your eyes and want to through the book. It sort of organically fit in to the storyline and the information we already knew.
Characters: The love story was sweet and innocent and totally G-rated. Not even really a love story, just a hint to love to come, the beginning sparks. In fact, most of this book is G-rated. I could see a young 10 year old me reading it and feeling spooked but not devastatingly scared. The perfect mix for a ghost story to tell around a campfire. If you told me this was middle grade, I would probably believe you. But it doesn't take away from the story in my mind.
Parting Thoughts: I read this in one sitting. I couldn't put it down for more than a few minutes. If you're looking for a mystery suspense, featuring ghosts, demons, and an innocent MC, give this book a shot.
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