Updated: Sep 20, 2019
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for providing an honest review.
Since I’m being honest, I desperately avoid any and everything scary. Shows, movies, books … they keep me awake at night. I don’t mind gory, but scary things immediately turn me into a huge baby. So understandably, I was a little apprehensive about reading a book that delves into the realm of the paranormal. But, we all have to face our fears sometime, right?
I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter by Brian K. Henry is a unique blend of horror, humor, ghostliness, and teenaged angst. I absolutely loved it, much to my surprise and delight. It’s the story of 16 year-old Devin, who is a barista in small town Northern California. He has his hands full with an awful boss, a single dad who’s never around, best friends who are always bickering (quite humorously), and these weird “phase-outs” that keep happening. As if that isn’t enough, a girl at his school is obsessed with the spirit world and is spreading rumors online about his connection to the spirit world!
After a strange incident happens at the abandoned Rousten mansion next to a friend’s house, Devin gets roped into investigating with his friends. Rex is a tech wiz who brings the ghost hunting gear, and Clive tags along in hopes of recording some material for his offbeat musical compositions. What they find is a formidable ghost who wreaks havoc on the town and appears in Devin’s dreams. The only chance to save the town and Devin’s sanity is to face the spirit. Will they vanquish the ghost and restore peace to the sleepy town of Arcata? Guess you’ll have to read it to find out!
The story quickly drew me in with an interesting plot line. The language is descriptive and I could easily picture the scenery. The author worked humor into the story effortlessly, using puns at times (“ghost traumatic stress disorder,”) and using cleverly dark titles for Clive’s composition titles (“Elegies for Two Dead Mice,” “Suite on a Collapsing Coffin.”)
Some of the words would be challenging for a young adult reader. Heck, they were challenging for me. Thank goodness for my Kindle, since I was able to easily look up a lot of the words without interrupting my reading. Words like “disquisition” and “epistolary” were definitely unfamiliar to me, among others, but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. In fact, I actually enjoy when a book challenges me to learn new things. However, I could see this being somewhat frustrating to younger readers.
I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I would have given it the full 5 stars, but there are some errors in spelling and grammar. I absolutely love the humor, the plot, and the way that the characters interact. It’s been quite some time since I was 16, but I do remember being that age, and I think the author did a great job of accurately capturing his characters at that age. Overall, this is a great book and a highly entertaining read. I’d definitely recommend it as long as you don’t mind a bit of mild profanity.
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