"I've seen a ghost," said Emily. "Well, not seen one exactly. Heard one. At least, I think I have..."
Woodsville is not like other towns. Night falls a little earlier there, the shadows are darker and denser, and everyone knows it's a place where strange things happen. Even if they won't admit it.
Bethan would prefer to be anywhere but here. Jay has his theories, but isn't ready to share. Hashim sees more than he'll say, while Kelly's demons are all too flesh and blood. But Emily's freak-out brings them out of denial and face to face with the supernatural.
Anywhere else, Friday night would be date night. But not in Weirdsville...
I wasn't sure quite what to expect from this book as I've not read much in the YA horror genre but the when I saw Nearly Departed was described as Skins meets the supernatural I couldn't wait to read it. I really wasn't disappointed & this was a great start to a new series.
From the first chapter I was transported back to my school days - the class dynamics have been very well set up and I'm sure that everyone, young or old, will identify the characters with people they were at school with. I was also very impressed with the descriptions of the estate in Woodsville where the students live. The vivid descriptions took me back to days spent in a very similar South London estate when I was growing up.
I loved the fact that the main characters weren't just the popular kids. You have Bethan who is intelligent but feels like she doesn't belong, she doesn't want to be like everyone else and dreams of escaping from the estate and making a better life for herself. Jay is the self-confessed geek but has a caring side to him that I really liked. Hashim has brains but doesn't want anyone to know it - he is only interested in playing football and acts like the class clown. Kelly was the one I didn't think I'd identify with - she is beautiful and one of the popular kids but also a bully which isn't something I like in a character. As the story unfolds and you find out more about her it is easy to understand why she is the way she is and she becomes much more likeable. Then there is Emily - the least popular girl in school. Often the subject of bullying by other students she tries to disappear in the classroom and hardly ever speaks. Most of the time no one even realises she is in the room.
But it is Emily who is the one who first speaks up about the strange things that are happening in the town. By speaking up in class she attracts the attention of the others and is teased mercilessly, I'm sure you will all remember similar scenes as the one that plays out from your own school days. As a punishment the unlikely group are made to work together for an assignment. It is when they get together outside of school that they find out more about about what Emily has experienced. Jay and Bethan are determined to help Emily but Kelly and Hashim take a little more convincing.
Emily belives that her house is haunted so Jay decides they need to do a paranormal investigation to prove to her that everything is fine. The others agree to help and from that point on nothing will ever be the same for any of them.
The plot is fast moving, full of twists and downright spooky in places. It kept me gripped from beginning to end and even though I'd guessed at the major twist about halfway through the book I couldn't be 100% sure I was right until the end of the book. Overall I thought this was a great start to a new series and I'm looking forward to reading the next installment!
Source: Recieved for review from publisher HarperCollins
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