Starfish. Necklace. House on the hill. It all seems a little normal at first…and then it seems a bit strange…and then it seems just a little bit…well, terrifying!
Title: The Starfish Talisman
Author: Lark Griffing
ISBN: 978998871929 Language: English
Themes: ghosts, superstitions, history, legacies
What’s it about?
This book sees 17 year old Reagan leave the city behind to spend the summer with her Aunt Willow (her Dad’s sister) that she barely knows and is a little…odd. At first everything seems quite normal at the old house on the hill but then Reagan meets the mysterious Seth who gifts her a handmade starfish pendant, then she overhears the people in town talking about her family, and what is with all the strange things going on in the house – like objects being moved in the night. The longer Reagan is in the house the more uneasy she feels as to what is real and what isn’t – and what is all means.
The pace of this story is edge-of-your seat! A really strong point of this book is the character development – this author has nailed it in that department (more in My Thoughts). The ending – won’t give it away but very satisfying. Oh and I do love the cover.
Just a note on content this one does have a healthly serving of ghostly occurances, a bit of blood, some messing with your head, and other such things (Awesome, huh? I know, the content may not be suitable for all audiences).
Okay, so it’s pretty evident that I get a lot of books for younger readers but because they take up so much time I don’t always get to read in my favourite genre – which is YA (Young Adult). I must say off the bat that the author was rather brave in gifting me a copy knowing that I can be blunt – it can be a scary thing for a seasoned author but for an independent (Indie) author it’s probably even more scary.
Now, my reading taste in YA does go a bit everywhere, the main point I look for in a good YA book is character development and plot. Reagan, the protagonist of the book, is your typical 17 year old and comes across as just that. She’s not trying to be anything else other than a teenager and that is a really relatable quality. She is a quirky sort of character but very real. Other characters who I do feel warrant a mention is Emma and Willow – their characters are equally well developed throughout the story and have distinct personalities of their own.
So with the characters aside what about the story? Well it doesn’t disappoint. I read the book in a couple of sittings – first when my kids were busy in their swimming lessons and then I picked it up again when they were in bed which was probably a wise thing because I kind of got so engrossed in reading the book that I couldn’t stop…until it ended. I will say I had an inkling about a few of the plot points but not to the point where anything is annoying or cliched – more the case of having read so much and my overactive brain.
The starfish talisman (as the title should let you all know) is an important recurring object in the book. I liked the way it was at times subtly woven into the plot without it being obvious – so difficult to write without giving away the plot!
Another point I would like to make is that while the ending is very satisfying (the addition of the Epilogue was a perfect way to finish) it isn’t the type of story to have everything tied up with a pretty bow – so my kind of book. In actual fact, the more you think about the ending the more questions your brain will ask so just be warned that you’ll probably be thinking about this novel for a few days after reading it.
I’m actually rather keen to sit down and read the book again as I have the feeling I probably missed key points or clues at some point. If you’re looking for educational value – well, it made me sit down and read it! – but it’s probably not going to be on the school list for a class set (not unless you have a rather progressive school). This book however would be a big hit with readers (I’m going to say more on the female side) who like a bit of a thriller, romance, and all things magical/unexplained. The book definitely deserves a place in any school or public library. And if you push me I could see it being used as a great discussion point as to historical events such as the Salem Witch Trials.
Overall, I recommend this as a read to any weary teacher (or adult for that matter) in need of a pick-me-up or distraction and for teenagers around the age of 14+.