As an opening line “the goat was in the tree again” is pretty eye-catching. However I should know to be wary of strong opening pages.
Rosemary Clement-Moore’s ‘Texas Gothic’ had a striking cover and a strong opener, it is also the first book in the Goodnight Family Series. The Goodnights are witches, nice-sounding hippy-style witches who sell suitably wibbly named bath products
Amy and her sister Phin house-sitting their Aunt’s ranch in Texas, with Amy being the ‘normal’ one of the family. However being normal not only take effort, it also requires the right circumstances – which certainly isn’t what is being thrown at Amy!
The book is fairly dated compared to anything that I’ve read in years – it is set in a snapshot of Summer with a very mild haunting; I can’t stress how mild the horror is there no blood, no fresh-bodies, no screams in the night or even anything more than extremely mild peril.
In that regard it is reminiscent of the Nancy Drew books that I vaguely remember reading when I was younger – quickly abandoning them for the Hardy Boys books on the grounds that they didn’t actively reinforce dull stereotypes femininity via the medium of a privileged white girl playing detective!
Amy’s personality isn’t as drawn out as much as I expected and she seems to need very clue to be written in ten foot high letters before she actually grasps that it might be important! Her relationship with the guy next door is a bit weird, apparently him being good looking means she can ignore him being an ass.
The plot is predictable, the mystery is solved, the good guys win (and hook up with someone!) and the bad guys escape remarkably unscathed in order to be punished by the police – probably! It is a fairly light, clean and clear teen/young adult fiction book which is probably far tamer than most teenager’s real lives!
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