Book Review: Notes from Ghost Town by: Kate Ellison

Rating: 4/5

Publisher: EgmontUSA

Publish Date: February 12, 2013

Origins: From Publisher for Review

Format: Hardcover

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: They say first love never dies...

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.

There’s a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can save herself.

Review: Kate Ellison’s second book ‘Notes from Ghost Town’ is a haunting tale of murder and mental illness. I read it in one sitting and the story and the characters really touched me. Olivia’s always known her mother was different, special, creative…schizophrenic. Lucas Stern is Olivia’s best friend, since the time they were little, and right as Olivia was packing to go to an art school she and Stern kiss and her world is rocked. She goes colorblind, losing her perspective on the world and even worse, while she’s at art school Lucas is murdered. Everything thinks her mother did it, even her mother…but now it’s less than two weeks until her mother’s hearing and Olivia’s determined to find the truth. She has a little help from an unexpected source – Stern’s ghost.

It’s difficult having a parent with a mental illness, especially as they are hereditary. When Olivia goes color-blind right before Stern’s murder, she’s afraid it’s starting for her. And when her mother is accused of Stern’s murder, she’s afraid of what she may be capable of doing. I really felt for Olivia, as she started on her journey to discover the truth of Stern’s death and no one would believe her or support her. To feel isolated and like you’re going crazy and then you start seeing your best friend’s ghost, you too would think your cheese had slipped. I admire Olivia’s strength and the depth of her devotion to both her mother and to Stern. Some of the ‘twists’ and ‘surprises’ on Olivia’s journey were easily figured out beforehand; but this didn’t draw back from the story for me at all. ‘Notes from Ghost Town’ is a beautifully written story which will capture your imagination and make you wonder at the nature of reality.


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