Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nothing But Ghosts, by Beth Kephart

In the days since her mother has died, Katie and her father have found their own patterns of living in a house that feels too big. He works away at restoring art and she takes a job gardening at the estate of a reclusive old woman. By chance, she also gets the opportunity to sort through several boxes of ephemera donated to public library. All three plot lines come together in the form of a mystery from long ago and Katie uncovers the truth about the reclusive woman.

I liked Kephart's previous book Undercover because it was an ambitiously-written YA novel, but this one may push things a bit too far. Her intent is to invoke a mood and once it is there, the story/dialogue/characters really don't matter as much (I call this the Curse of the Modern Novel). It might work for high brow adult fiction, but it makes for deadly uninteresting YA. It is a beautiful book, but without the blurb and the author's notes at the end, I really couldn't tell where this was going or why. Disappointing!

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