Friday, 19 August 2011

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens (7 July 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0552564931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552564939

A spooky, electrifying love story.
Amy Goodnight's family are far from normal. She comes from a long line of witches, and grew up surrounded by benevolent spirits and kitchen spells. All fairly harmless, but Amy can't wait to get to college and escape the "family business".
But things take a darker turn when she and her sister Phin spend the summer looking after Aunt Hyacinth's ranch. Amy is visited by a midnight spectre who is clearly trying to send her a message. It seems that the discovery of an old grave on a neighbour's land has been the catalyst for an apparent ghost uprising.
Aided by local friends and Ben, the handsome cowboy who just can't take his eyes off Amy, the sisters investigate. And they soon find that there's something strange and dangerous going on, deep in the heart of Texas...

I have seen this a lot in the YA book community, and I haven't read Rosemary Clemet-Moore's other book The Splendor Falls but thought this sounded good and stood out amongst other YA paranormal fiction.

Cover:  This is a great paranormal YA cover, the girl is just how I imagined the protagonist Amy to look.  

Plot:  Amy Goodnight knows she comes from a long line of kitchen witches, but ever since a bad experience with a ghost when she was younger she has avoided interaction with the supernatural, instead trying to make her and her family appear normal to everyone, acting as a shield and buffer for her family.
But when she and her sister Phin look after their Aunt's ranch Amy has little choice but to be near the supernatural once again.  Human remains are found on the neighbouring McCulloch ranch, for which Ben McCulloch seems to blame the Goodnights, as well as blaming them for the rumours about the ghost on the ranch on which Amy and Ben argue.
Suddenly Amy finds herself bound to helping a ghost as well as being attracted to the moody Ben McCulloch.  But are the sinister happenings really down to Amy's ghost or are they the result of a more human culprit...or both?


Amy (Amaryllis) Goodnight-  Is not comfortable with magic and the supernatural- she's been repressing that part of herself for years, when the ghost appears a part of her she's buried resurfaces.  A fiery temper leads to confrontations with the handsome but moody Ben.

Phin (Delphinium) Goodnight-  More accepting of her talents and family.  Is into her science experiments and numerous gadgets, some to help ghost hunt.

Ben McCulloch- A moody but handsome cowboy.  After his father's death he had to leave school to help his Mother on the ranch.  He blames the Goodnight's for the town's gossip about the ranch ghost but is secretly attracted to Amy, no matter how he tries to hide it.

Hyacinth Goodnight-  Amy and Phin's aunt.  She is on a cruise and so needs them to look after the ranch.

Mark- An archaeology student there for the finds.  He's interested in Phin but she is oblivious to flirting.

The Kellys- A family that once owned part of the McCulloch land and still seem bitter.

Steve Sparks- Helps Ben out on the ranch.

Writing Style- Overall it was a standard writing style.  Some parts were a little slow and I thought some parts were unnecessarily over described.  The whole book is from Amy's perspective.

Rating- 4/5 stars, because I really enjoyed this book and the supernatural mystery really kept me guessing up until a certain point when it became blindingly obvious and I was frustrated that the protagonist remained ignorant of something that was practically screaming at me.
It was well structured and well thought out, and I felt it had an original plot and wasn't recycled from something else.
I really loved the love/hare sparring between Amy and Ben, it was refreshing and amusing to read.  You knew the attraction was there.
I am very interested in anthropology so the references to it because of the human remains were something that I really enjoyed reading about, a forensic situation in a paranormal YA.  
I also really liked Phin's eccentric character as she really was funny to read, however I wish there was more with her romantic interest, Mark.  I wanted to know what happened with them and sadly I didn't get to.

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