When seventeen-year-old Amelia’s best friend, Matthew, kills himself in the old Telford barn outside of town, she is devastated and suspicious. Unerringly upbeat, Matthew was the least likely person to commit suicide, despite his odd behaviour the night before his death. Amelia never told Matthew that she loved him, or that she can see ghosts. But Matthew’s was not the first tragic death in the Telford barn. Teaming up with Morris, the resident ghost-hunter, and his gorgeous son, Kip, Amelia uses her paranormal perception to uncover the mystery surrounding the Telford ghosts before they can claim another victim.
Quick-paced and satisfyingly creepy, Gail Gallant’s first young adult novel, Apparition, delivers up a tightly plotted mystery within a page-turning ghost story. Gallant’s experience as a television screenwriter shines through in her theatrical staging and vivid portrayals of Amelia and Kip. She is less successful with Matthew, whose clingy, whining apparition erodes the dramatic tension of the paranormal love triangle, eliminating any suspense over Amelia’s ultimate choice. Further, though less noticeable, Amelia’s clairvoyant abilities are inconsistent and seem to occur at Gallant’s convenience with no logical explanation. Amelia can see her dead mother but not her father, she doesn’t see ghosts in the seniors’ residence, and only sees one (a complete stranger) in the cemetery, yet she can see all the ghosts in the Telford barn. Despite these minor flaws, Apparition is the stuff of urban legends. Just scary enough to entertain, its macabre love story will delight those who like their romance spiced with a hint of the afterlife.