Title: A Certain Slant of Light (Light #1)
Author: Laura Whitcomb
Publication: September 21, 2005
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Teens YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen–terrified, but intrigued–is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.
I found A Certain Slant of Light in a pile of books my daughter purchased from the Salvation Army. To be truthful, the premise didn’t intrigue me, but I was on the hunt for something new to read. Surprisingly, though, the story held my attention. I finished the story in one day. Laura Whicomb’s light-handed writing kept the story from feeling bogged down in a complex plot. At times, though, I felt she sacrificed plot and character for a fancy sentence, but this was minimal.
The characters of Helen and James were believable. Years of living among modern people desensitized them to their old-fashion beliefs. Their relationship progresses quickly, yet believably. At times, though, I found Helen grating, but James was easily the requisite book boyfriend: handsome and flawed. Neither Helen nor James remember much about their past lives until they find bodies to inhibit. Then the past they’ve forgotten comes back in bits and pieces.
In the end, A Certain Slant of Light is about redemption. Both James and Helen have something they haven’t forgiven themselves for, and it holds them hostage to this earth. They cannot move on until they “walk through hell” and face “the demons lurking within.” You will root for them to find freedom–and each other–in the great beyond. Helen’s redemption story WILL warm your heart. And James will leave you pining for a ghost boyfriend of your own.
A Certain Slant of Light is the perfect read for a rainy day. I recommend finding this book and saving it for a time when you need a reason to cheer. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.