Book Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa B. Sheinmel, by teen reviewer Lexi
Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the moment they arrive, Sunshine feels her world darken with an eeriness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows that something about their new house is just … creepy.
In the days that follow, things only get stranger. Sunshine is followed around the house by an icy breeze, phantom wind slams her bedroom door shut, and eventually, the laughter Sunshine hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening—and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger—Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.
I’m not sure I would even attempt to contact the spirit in my bedroom. I’ll go my way and they can go theirs. But this is not the case for Sunshine Griffith. She is set to figure out what goes bump in the night at her house.
Instantly, after reading the first chapter I could tell the writing was as up to par as other books I’ve read. For me it seemed a little amateur. I can’t figure of it was just the childishness of the main character that made the writing seem lacking or if it was just the writing itself. It was to say that it was not hard to read because of the level it was written but because it lacked that Umph that a book needs to grab the reader’s interest.
Also what didn’t sit well with me is the whole ‘I’m not like other girls’ vibe that sunshine gives off. I’m not a fan of putting other girls down to make one girl more interesting and unique. As girls we have enough criticism coming from every direction that we can’t really afford to be demeaning towards each other. Sunshine seemed to radiate this vibe through the whole book and it pretty much ruined her character for me.
In addition, the use of a teenage girl’s love for Pride and Prejudice to further assist in highlighting her difference from other girls is overused and should be put to rest. I have never met a girl in real life that loves Pride and Prejudice that much. I see it too often in young adult novels and I think it’s time to let it go.
Aside from all this the plot wasn’t too bad. However, I only stuck with the book for the little ghost girl and the mysterious person watching sunshine. Personally I wouldn’t recommend this book if you feel similarly to how I feel about everything I’ve mentioned above. But hey don’t let me stop you from getting your quirky spook on with this book.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
SLJ Blog Network