Ghost Flower is Michele Jaffe’s chilling sophomore YA novel and is a highly atmospheric read. When Eve is approached by two rich teenagers who comment on her remarkable similarity to their presumed dead cousin, Aurora, she is paid to imitate her to help them gain their grandmother’s inheritance. The obvious culture clash between ‘poor’ Eve and the rich family is a clear cause of concern and one aspect to the story is a ‘My Fair Lady’ esque set-up. However the central plot is concerned with Eve working out what happened to Aurora, and also Aurora’s best friend, Elizabeth, who died on the night Aurora went missing. Did Aurora murder her? Run from the murderer? Eve needs to know and as Liza’s ghost begins to haunt her, Eve needs to know quickly.
The spooky and creepy moments, particularly in Aurora’s room at night, were very well written and had me at the edge of my chair, needing to know more. Jaffe writes mystery and that is-it-paranormal-isn’t-it atmosphere extremely well. That said, at times I felt like the rest of the writing didn’t pull me in quite as much. That said, the familial relationships and snipes between relations was very entertaining to read and Jaffe’s representation of upper class wealth and families illuminating.
The ghostly scenes were almost claustrophobic, the phone calls especially and I think that the unusual, eeriness of the Silverton house and novel’s themes really work in Jaffe’s favour. When I read the summary for this book back in February, I knew I wanted to read it because of the paranormalesque, horror tone to the book and it did really draw me in.
One relationship that really interested me was that between a police man who knew Aurora and Eve; here, we saw a character who didn’t view Eve as Aurora, even if he thought she was her, but began to see the differences between the two. In a book about becoming someone else and so concerned with identity, I felt that this was a strong contrast in the novel.
Overall, I was not sure about the twist. While in terms of the greater plot and overall plausibility on some issues with the novel, it made sense, I don’t know if I was a little too surprised by it for it to convince me fully. I won’t spoil it for the reader, but it was one that genuinely took me by surprise and that I have spent such a long time mulling over my feelings about before writing my review.
I don’t think this book will be for everyone but for those of you who like a little bit of creepy and a crime story to your YA, like me, it’s an engaging read and it’s play with the Prince and Pauper trope is worth checking out, particularly when the twist at the end is considered.
I received my copy of Ghost Flower for free from Atom Books – I apologise to them for taking a while to get this review out, but would like to obviously thank them for the chance to review this book. Ghost Flower is available to buy now: