Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Certain Slant of Light

Whitcomb, Laura. 2005. A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT. Boston: Graphia. ISBN 061858532X [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT is a compelling love story about ghosts. Helen is a ghost over one hundred years old who is presently shadowing a high school English teacher. Each day she sits in the corner of his classroom and observes. One day she is startled to realize that a student is watching her as well. James is a ghost who has inhabited the body of a teenage boy who “had lost his spirit.” James and Helen begin a friendship and James helps Helen seek out an individual that she can inhabit. Helen then becomes “Jenny,” a troubled fifteen year old girl. Because James and Helen are in physical form now, they take their friendship to the next level with little regard of consequences of their actions to the individuals they possess. Over the course of time, James and Helen realize that they cannot continue in this present world. James is the first to leave his “Billy” and then Helen, too leaves “Jenny” after remembering her past, and its mysteries, that will allow her to leave this world and enter into the next.

A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT is the first novel for author Laura Whitcomb. She has expertly woven two worlds into one in this novel. The writing is sharp and paces well. Because of the complexity of this novel, the secondary plotlines are just as compelling as the love story of James and Helen. The ending is gratifying as readers realize that all persons involved in this novel get their just rewards.

Because this story is about the paranormal, readers can discuss and then research various organizations that are devoted to the study of paranormal activity. Readers can study the history of their own communities to see if there are any legends of supernatural activity.

The following are books with the “unsettled spirit” theme:
Colfer, Eoin. THE WISH LIST. ISBN 0641650582
Griffin, Adele. WHERE I WANT TO BE. ISBN 0399237836

By Pamela Kemp

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