Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Title: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
Author: Paige McKenzie
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Publisher: Weinstein Books
Release Date: March 24, 2015

I received an e-ARC of The Haunting of Sunshine Girl through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Usually I just let Goodreads to the plot summarizing (I am the worst at summaries), but the description over there actually tells you nothing about the story. And it uses "adorkable" in a serious way. So I can't possibly use it.

Summary (via me)

Sunshine, a quirky girl with a love of old things,  moves from sunny urban Texas to gloomy small town Washington when her mother gets a new job. After already feeling uneasy about the move, she discovers that her new house is a bit creepy. Well, majorly creepy. Haunted creepy. With her mom acting strangely, a new friend Nolan being the only one to believe her, an odd art teacher listening into her conversations, and the ghost in her house becoming more terrifying, Sunshine tries to understand what is happening to her house. And to her.
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl was a pretty fun read. I had never heard of the YouTube channel that the book is based on, but it seemed like a good read so I gave it a shot. In the end, I was surprised about how much I enjoyed this book. For the most part, this is a well-written, gripping story. This book was nothing like the description that I read, and I'm glad! The story's plot becomes more and more complex that it just drags you in and had some pretty good twists that take it beyond the average ghost story.

While this book isn't scary per se, some moments were just bone-chillingly good! (Though I was reading it at 1am on a rainy night in the pitch dark. So the ambience may have been a factor.) These were my favorite parts of the story! Paige McKenzie really shows some storytelling talent in leading the reader through some great spine tingling suspense. I still have chills from the bathroom scene.

Honestly I only really liked Sunshine about 40% of the time. She just really annoyed me. While I love unlikeable narrators, it takes a lot for me to get past an annoying one. Sunshine has this focus on being "not like everyone else" which is fine, but she repeats it over and over again. I get it! You are odd and quirky! Give it a rest already! And yet she keeps going on and on. It just hit on a major character pet peeve that I have.

But I did enjoy her character when she interacted with people. Her relationship with her mom is so sweet and at times super heart-wrenching. In the beginning of the book, you can definitely see how adorably close they are, and it just makes it harder when their relationship shifts during the haunting. Sunshine and Nolan's friendship is a lot of fun too. They are both a little odd but make friends with each other. I loved watching their friendship grow and how Sunshine became more confident around Nolan. But one of my favorite relationships is between Sunshine and the little girl ghost. I don't want to give too much away, but it is really interesting to see how their interactions with each other change over the course of the story.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5. Good story! If I wasn't annoyed with Sunshine, I would have enjoyed it more, but the plot and ghost parts were fantastic. 

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