The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1)
Author: Paige McKenzie & Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Rated F for freaky and flippant ghosts that may be more flimsy than frightening.
“Mom, the house is creepy.”
Sunshine and her mom just moved from Austin, Texas to Ridgmont, Washington into an old house with a morbid history. It’s haunted and it’ll take some help to put an end to it. As Sunshine continues to look into what’s haunting her house, she discovers dark secrets and revelations connecting the house’s past to her own.
As things grow more dangerous, the haunting’s giggles turn to screams and sobs, and her mother becomes unhinged, Sunshine must face this darkness threatening her life before it’s too late.
This was definitely for a more sheltered teen that doesn’t have a heart for scary stories and that’s okay, but it’s just not for me. With the lighthearted “gosh golly” and “oh wow” that came off over the top and unbelievable. Yet, as a young reader’s intro to spooky-town, that makes sense. Plucky, and well-timed jokes make this less dark, yet the creepiness still remains a factor. The comic relief balanced the grief in the book. Still, the plot came off cheesy and it was difficult to keep my attention. In horror, in ghosty tales, perky positivity stuck in child-like wonder on a constant isn’t possible and it’s too much.
The writing isn’t much to be desired. If it wasn’t the tone that threw me off, it was the fact that it felt like the writing was ADHD. It was all over the place at times and left me confused at times. I lost my place more than once and interest more than that. There’s was just too much going on at once.
Before getting started on this book, I watched a good portion of the YouTube series. While the very short episodes became quite addicting so did the story with its tiny tidbits of intrigue. Great with the jump scares, I was able to see what would be in store for me in the books. I am sad that the mini-series seems to hold more for me than the book.
I wish I had more to say but the book did not strike me as a spectacular, verbal vomit-worthy read. The characters had zero chemistry. The attempt to create any was just an utter flop. Sunshine’s ditsy clumsy “I’m adorable, just watch” routine got old before I even got to the end of chapter 1, so when her new friend (and nope, I can’t even remember his name) entered the picture and basically did all of the work for her, solving the entire haunting, I was pretty done with this book. And the depth to really draw me in just wasn’t there. Goosebumps beats this one out without even trying. There was a lack in imagination and imagery that just made my brain ooze. Makes me sad.
For what it was, it was okay. While I feel like this could’ve been elevated to so much more, it was cute. Not typical for a ghost story. It’s also what steered me away and left me struggling for words. Usually, I have too much to say but it’s just the opposite this time. A ghost story that wasn’t scary? Eek. The inability to embrace the possible scary keeps this book from being good. maybe the next one will help evolve this story into something more.
“Empathy can be a powerful tool.” (p. 113)
More to come soon…
Song Today? Fear Nothing by Riverdale Cast.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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