Hail, blogketeers! As you know from my guest policy (you have read my guest policy, right?) I'm not accepting review requests at this time, and I don't really read books quickly enough to ever turn this into a review blog. That being said, I do owe favors all around town, so from time to time I do actually review books, and, when they're particularly deserving, crosspost to the blog. Melissa MacVicar is a good friend who you may recall from our "rumble" two years ago. I finally got around to reading her book and wouldn't you know it, it's pretty good. So let's have a look.
About EVER NEAR
Love is ever near. But trouble is never far.
Nantucket Island is haunted, but only sixteen-year-old Jade Irving knows it. Ignoring the disturbing spirits isn’t an option, because one dwells in the enormous historic home she shares with her newly blended family. Jade is finding it more and more difficult to explain away Lacey’s ghostly, anguished tantrums, especially with Charlie, her gorgeous, almost step-brother, living right across the hall.
When a power-hungry ghost hunter tracks down Jade and blackmails her, Jade’s secret teeters on the edge of exposure, and her entire future hangs in the balance. If anyone finds out Jade can talk to ghosts, her life will be forever changed.
Can she save herself, free Lacey, and hang on to her tenuous connection with Charlie? Or will everything she ever wanted slip through her fingers?
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You should know this about me: I think ghosts are total horseshit. The idea of spirits and specters and hauntings and exorcisms and all that stuff are so patently absurd to me that I just can't even take it seriously.
You can imagine, therefore, that when it comes to paranormal fiction I have a high bar. No one's going to get the "ah, but you've heard creaking in your attic late at night" benefit-of-the-doubt kind of thing from me. And that's what makes Melissa MacVicar's debut EVER NEAR so great.
This is exactly what I imagine ghosts and mediums (media?) would act like in the real world. Jade Irving is a fairly ordinary sixteen-year-old girl who sees ghosts every now and then and wishes she didn't. Teenagers don't have time to be dealing with ghosts and shit. Jade's busy trying to carry on a steamy, semi-taboo affair with her stepbrother. Actually, the way MacVicar presents it makes me wonder why more step-siblings don't end up together. Hell, maybe they do. I dunno.
But back to the ghost thing. The only person who even remotely believes Jade is a complete charlatan. Martin is on of those ghost tour guys you see in every resort town, complete with a top hat and an overexaggerated style. Oh, which reminds me. MacVicar, a native of Nantucket, presents us with her home island as a world apart. We've all been to beach towns during the summer, and no doubt wondered idly what it got like when the tourists (in Cape May they call us "shoobies" and in Natucket, apparently, "Chads") are gone. This is the milieu we're introduced into, and I think it fits in well thematically with what's going on in Jade's life. There's the side you present to the world, and then there's the real you.
And the ghosts. Remember I said I think ghosts are horseshit? I think it's because we tend to project our own wants and desires on what we perceive as "ghosts." The ghosts of EVER NEAR have their own wants and desires, personalities, even including, notably, a Civil War-era ghost who doesn't even want to cross over because he fears the wrath of all the people he's killed. Makes sense, doesn't it? These aren't the cookie cutter ghosts of most of pop culture who are stuck bemoaning their fate because they didn't accomplish XYZ in their lives until Jennifer Love Hewitt shows up and solves their glib little problem so they can pass over.
MacVicar's ghosts have as much character as the living members of her cast. With a strong love story, excellent characters, a glimpse at a very unusual setting, and a unique take on the paranormal, EVER NEAR is top notch. This is supposed to be YA, but this OA didn't even notice because it's such an engrossing novel.
About Melissa MacVicar
Melissa MacVicar has lived most of her life on Nantucket Island. A true native, she’s able to trace her ancestry back to the island’s first settlers. After attending The Pingree School, she went on to graduate from Franklin and Marshall College with a degree in English. She also received a master’s degree from Boston University School of Social Work. When she turned forty, Melissa decided to renew her adolescent passion for fiction writing. Having once thought writing a novel to be an impossible dream, she’s proud to be achieving her childhood ambition.
Melissa currently lives with her husband and two children on Nantucket where she teaches 7th grade Writing Composition. When she isn’t teaching, parenting, and writing, Melissa enjoys running, eating expensive chocolate, and watching her beloved Patriots.
You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.