Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ghost Hand by Ripley Patton

Ghost Hand was a very entertaining YA book with a great idea. Imagine being born and growing up with a physical part of your body missing - but not entirely. It is replaced by a ghostly representation of that part, and although it can function like the missing part, it can also have unusual qualities. The author did a wonderful job of creating a world where this condition exists - and gave the condition a name: Psyche Sans Soma or PSS. It makes for a very unique tale.

There is quite a bit of action throughout the story and the book is fast paced. There isn't too much description  - which can be good or bad depending on what the reader is looking for in a story. I find that it happens more often that way in first person perspective (which this book has). The main character, Olivia, has PSS and as a result tends to be a little irreverent and headstrong. She has a strained relationship with her mother - a mother who has difficulty accepting Olivia's ghost hand to the point of being repelled by it. In fact, Olivia has a difficult relationship with people in general because having PSS isn't well accepted. Luckily, Olivia has a best friend who does accept her completely and when the new kid Marcus shows up, he too is drawn to Olivia (something Olivia immediately misinterprets). These relationships all become important once the plot starts moving - and the plot starts moving quickly. The fun begins when Olivia's ghost hand gets a mind of its own, deforms and goes into a classmate to extract something from her. It's a little strange but a great way to get the story going. In no time at all Olivia is in danger. She gets followed by a stranger, is hunted by a fringe group and betrayed by an important member of the community Olivia had known for years. Her weird hand isn't just ethereal energy with a nifty glow in the dark feature. It has weird powers - or you could say it causes Olivia to have weird powers.

Overall, the book was fun and the writing good. There was humour and one wonderfully creepy/tense scene involving hanging razor blades in a hidden basement dungeon accessed through a freezer (you'll just have to read the book to make sense of this sentence). I did flounder a bit with the book in the second half - I thought Olivia became wishy-washy in her decisions and a little annoying. And the real reason behind the CAMfers chasing the kids was a bit of a stretch for me, although there may be more to it in the next book. I did like the new characters in Marcus' group though (even the hot head Jason). As for the relationship with Marcus - I don't know that I really bought it. It's probably something the second or third book in the series will work out but it was a bit too quick to develop I thought. Also, I was hoping for more on the whole PSS thing. It was such a unique part of the book I had hoped the author would give the reader more details.

I do recommend the book to YA readers - it's kind of urban paranormal, action and romance. I loved the whole PSS idea and hope the author will expand on it in books two and three. All of the books can be found on Amazon and other online retailers. A link to Ghost Hand on Amazon is here.