This is a book about a ghost, Helen, who is stuck in a purgatory-like state. She figures out how to attach to living “hosts” and haunt them to stay away from hell. They don’t see her or know she’s there, but she has to stay in their proximity. When one dies, she moves onto a new host. After about 130 years, Helen notices a human, James, that can actually see her. It turns out that he’s actually a ghost like her that took over an empty body that a teenage drug-addict left behind. They fall in love and James convinces Helen to take over an empty body too. She finds a body of a girl with really overbearing Christian parents. This is a love story, but it is more so about accepting your past and finding happiness and resolution.
A Certain Slant of Light is a pretty creepy story. From a superficial perspective, its about two humans that get their bodies possessed by ghosts who are avoiding eternal damnation. However, from a deeper level its about analyzing the simple parts of human life. The story is told from Helen’s perspective. Her observations highlight how strange some of our daily actions may seem to outsiders and how we take for granted certain things, such as smell and taste. It is an interesting perspective and really made me think about who we are in today’s society. It also made me think about how hard some people’s lives are and how some people have shut down mentally. They just go through the daily motions, almost like their body is there but their souls aren’t. The descriptions of the Christian family were perfect. I could feel how controlling the parents were. I felt stressed reading those sections just thinking about how suffocating it must feel to live like that.
I always have a slight issue with books that include a whirlwind romance. Helen and James fall in love immediately and then quickly cannot live without each other. I just don’t think that romances happen that way in real life—but it always seems to in books. However, I’m okay with it in this book because I think that love was what caused Helen to start “living” again. I also have a problem with the idea of possessing human bodies and basically using it for their own benefit. I think that the whole idea just horrified me more than anything.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a really quick read that I couldn’t put down. The descriptions and observations were beautiful and enchanting. I would recommend this book to teens or older. Its great for people who love spiritual or ghost stories, romances, or books with a deep meaning. There’s supposed to be a sequel, but I think some stories are just meant to end and leave the rest to your imagination, especially this book.
Let me know what you think if you have read this book!
* * * * 4/5 Stars
Also check out my Q & A session with Laura Whitcomb!