Author Apryl Baker
Published August 2013 by Limitless Publishing
I must admit when I started reading the book I was tempted to put it down again. It was a bit too teen-y for my liking in the first few pages. Silly of me really; what else would you expect from a book for young adults? But I read past it and it actually got quite interesting.
The main character, Mattie Hathaway, is a sixteen year old in foster care, having been in the system since her mum attempted to kill her and successfully killed herself. She is the typical character of these types of books; “I’m normal other than this thing that really makes me not normal.” Mattie’s personal “other than” thing is her ability to see ghosts. Mattie spent most of her life ignoring the ghosts that ask her for help until something changes her mind.
When Mattie sees her foster-sister, Sally, by the bonfire at a party she’s attending she is confused. Sally was not invited to the party, and even if she had been it was not the sort of place she would go. Especially not wearing her nightie. Her confusion turns to horror when she realises that Sally’s mouth is taped over, and there is a bullet hole in her forehead.
Of course Mattie hurries home to try to prove it not true. Sally is probably in bed. Maybe she imagined it. But Sally is nowhere to be found.
Neither police nor the foster parents are willing to take Mattie’s concerns over Sally’s disappearance seriously. They chalk it up as a run away; Sally has a history of escaping from foster homes, after all. Mattie knows that Sally is dead, and is not willing to let the case be closed so easily. Desperate to find answers she turns to the ghosts that she had long ignored, and starts to ask questions.
A young, newly qualified policeman joins Mattie in her investigations. The only person willing to give her the benefit of the doubt with regards to Sally’s disappearance. She even tells him about her ability to see ghosts. Officer Dan is understandingly sceptical but, as is said several times, more than willing to believe that she believes.
The Ghost Files seemed to be mostly middle to me. The beginning was a reasonable length, but the ending seemed rather rushed. The perpetrator seemed to come somewhat out of the blue; perhaps a bit more framework there would have been preferable. Nonetheless the tension and fear of the situation is fairly well written. The story is gripping, the ghosts are well-defined and explained. I would say that the love interest (which apparently every young adult book requires) struck me as somehow unrealistic. It seemed to go from “this will never happen” to “oh look it’s happening” rather suddenly.
Despite these niggles I did find the story enjoyable. My initial reluctance passed and I became entrenched in the story. The ending as I said seemed a little rushed and did slightly push me out of the story, but it was not enough to spoil it for me. Whilst the story was concluded and the mystery solved, the final chapter provided a strong hook to keep the reader intrigued and hoping for a follow-up.
The Ghost Files is not a particularly challenging read, nor overly long. It is a relatively quick read, and whilst it has its taut moments is on the softer side for a horror. I would recommend it for anyone who likes paranormal young adult books, ghost stories or mysteries, and wants a quick and easy read.