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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Review: My So Called Haunting

Author: Tamsyn Murray

Release date: 24th September 2010
Genre: Paranormal comedy
Target audience: 11+
UK Publisher: Piccadilly Press

Summary from Amazon:

Skye, a fourteen-year-old who can see ghosts, is very stressed. Not only is the ghost of a sixteenth-century witch giving her fashion tips, but she's struggling to settle into life with her aunt, and is developing a crush on the most unattainable boy in the school, Nico. When her aunt asks her for help with a troubled teen ghost called Dontay, she's glad of the distraction. But then Nico starts paying her attention, and she's soon facing a battle to keep her love life and her psychic life separate. As things get ever more complicated, it looks as though Dontay's past might cost Skye her future.


My So Called Haunting is another witty paranormal read from the queen of comedy Ms Tamsyn Murray.

Skye is fourteen and she has just moved from Edinburgh to live with her aunt Celestine in London. Her aunt happens to be a psychic of rather extraordinary abilities. Skye’s mum is working away in Australia so Skye has to start a new life. The thing is that Skye is not your average fourteen year old – at least in one very important way – she speaks to dead people. Skye is a psychic who conveys with ghosts which when you add that problem to the huge issue of being a teenager – you get a really entertaining story.

Skye can’t help that feel like the world is against her. She is the Bruce Almighty of paranormal fiction – Bless her! Trying to fit into a new school is rather difficult when your day starts by seeing a ghost jump off a bridge. But aside from her ghostly difficulties there is the issue of falling for the most swoon-worthy guy ever and having a best friend who will marry you off to the handsomest bidder.

My So Called Haunting is a really funny book. It is comical – there’s slapstick, puns and the over-active cursing of a sixteenth century witch. But underneath all the wit and humour are some deeply serious issues. I felt reading this book that the author was making a statement about contemporary British culture. This is very much a book of our time. There are references to the Twilight phenomenon, commentary about the age of the love at first sight stalker types in our young adult fiction. But there is also the theme of crime and I thought the author was brave to tackle an issue such as gang culture in what is a very funny book. It is the literature of the absurd teenager and it really works.

Skye is a down to earth character despite her otherworldly contacts. I really liked that about her. I think it took the author a couple of chapters to really find her voice. Perhaps because she is more of a realist than Lucy from My So Called Afterlife and finding the soul of a new character is a challenge. By about the third chapter, Murray had nailed it and I was sucked into the world. Skye had my sympathy and my attention. I was cheering her on!

I am amazed at how much the author can cram in to such a short book. How does she do it? My So Called Haunting is the paranormal genre minus the gut churning angst and multiplied with adolescent humour. A fun read!

Thanks to Piccadilly Press for sending the book to review.

Read for the British Books Challenge 2011.


Vivienne said...

I love the sound of this story. Definitely one I want to read. I love ghosts!

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

I am always fascinated by books in which characters can communicate with the dead. There is something intriguing about it. Great review, Becky! Some authors just have a gift.

Keren David said...

The next one is even better!

Raimy-rawr said...

I love thed sound of these books, I muist get myself them at some point!

I Want To Read That said...

I love this series! I hope there are many more to come:)