*I received an eARC of this book from Scholastic on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
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I always love a good ghost story, and while this one had its moments, I don't think it really lived up to all of the other ghost stories I've read. I mean, don't get me wrong, there was quite a lot I did like about this book - the mystery, the romance, the realistic nature of it - but it was overall just kind of meh. I think if I had read this when I was younger, I would have enjoyed it more.
I think my main problem was that I just really did not connect with Jade at all. She drove me crazy for most of the novel, and I didn't like how she started using people to get what she wanted. Especially Kane. I really sympathized with him more than with Jade, and I felt so bad for him. I also didn't like how Jade would just suddenly jump to conclusions about people who were supposed to be her friends. I would have kicked her to the curb if she had done that to me.
Once I got past not liking Jade though, I thought the story was very interesting. Kayla is murdered in her own house, and the murderer is never caught. Was it an accident? Was it done in cold-blood? A crime of passion? And who would have been able to push her down the stairs without her knowing who it was? It was actually kind of nice to read a standalone book like this so that all of my questions were answered by the end.
I really enjoyed how Kayla's diary entries were included throughout the book. It was kind of cool to get to know Kayla as something other than a malicious ghost, and it was kind of fun trying to figure out which people in Kayla's life were which numbers in her diary. Some of them were kind of obvious, but others took me a little bit to figure out, and I think that added quite a bit to the novel.
Overall, I thought that the pacing was decent, although there were some parts that definitely dragged. Especially Jade's interactions with her stepmother (who was another character that I was not really a fan of). I wish there had been more hauntings and less high school life than there was, but I think this was a pretty decent book for what it is. I would recommend it to the older middle-grade/younger YA crowd, especially those who like a little bit of horror thrown into their mysteries. I'd give this book a 3/5.