Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

My Thoughts

Wonderfully creepy and suspenseful,
eliciting an addictive chill that keeps you feverishly turning the pages.

4halfstars

Synopsis

the haunting of sunshine girlShortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just … creepy.

In the days that follow, things only get stranger. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening—and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger—Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

My Review

“A scream so bloodcurdling I can still hear it echoing in my ears.

A little girl’s voice begging for mercy.

A darkness so black, it felt like I’d never see the sun again.”

Paige McKenzie hits the sweet spot by successfully adapting her much-loved, super creepy YouTube series into a novel that touts a great balance of chills and humor. At times, it’s terrifying, other times it’s lighthearted, and sometimes, it’s even sweetly emotive. Through the peaks and valley, twists and turns of the story, the mystery of the haunting intensifies, keeping us readers entirely engaged. The writing is solid and between all the mysterious things that go bump in the night, my vivid imagination, and the witty, sharp characters, I thoroughly enjoyed The Haunting of Sunshine Girl.

“This cold is something else entirely. It’s snaking underneath my clothes and covering my skin in goose bumps. It feels kind of like when you have a fever and you’re shivering despite the fact that your temperature is rising and you’re bundled up under layers of covers in bed. The kind of cold that’s damp, as though the whole house needs to be run through a dryer.”

When Sunshine and her adoptive mother move to Ridgemont, Washington from Austin, Texas, an oppressive, wet cold settles upon Sunshine. Everything is gray and creepy and stale. Almost immediately, she begins to experience mysterious noises, cries, giggling. It quickly becomes clear that someone is haunting their home. Perhaps even more than one ghost. And even more frightening, it seems that only Sunshine can sense it. What starts off as small shifts, slamming doors and alarming sounds, quickly escalates into something else much scarier. Our unlikely heroine, Sunshine, becomes enthralled by what’s happening, determined to prove the paranormal activity her mother seems to easily dismiss.

Sunshine meets a new classmate, Nolan, who has familial (and sentimental) ties to the paranormal and thus becomes Sunshine’s only friend in Ridgemont, as well as her partner in crime. Nolan is intelligent, inquisitive and willing to help Sunshine unravel the mysteries that chill the air of her new home. Time becomes a less bearable burden when her mother begins to act strangely, withdrawing from the person she was… the person whom Sunshine loved the most in the entire world.

I loved the constant creepiness factor, the suspense and anticipation, and the quick-witted dialogue. I would have loved to see more big action scenes to terrorize and tantalize… I think that would have made the momentum even more dynamic and exciting, but nonetheless, between the questions that swirl, the likable characters, and the eerie, supernatural events, I devoured this novel quickly and enthusiastically. It’s a must-read for those who love paranormal thrillers (especially YA).

The novel ends in a way that leaves the story open for more to come, but also satisfies readers who crave a standalone story.

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Book Trailer

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