Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

Image from Goodreads
Series: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl #1
Author: Paige McKenzie

Publisher: Macmillan Childrens Books

Publication Date: March 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads

Based on the wildly popular YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl has been described as “ Gilmore Girls meetsParanormal Activity for the new media age.” YA fans new and old will learn the secrets behind Sunshine—the adorkable girl living in a haunted house—a story that is much bigger, and runs much deeper, than even the most devoted viewer can imagine…
REVIEW BY LILY – YEAR 9

The Haunting Of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie is a haunting, paranormal thriller that will make you continuously chant in your head ‘one more chapter, just one more chapter’!
Sunshine isn’t your typical teenager, she doesn’t go out partying till late at night,  instead she’s fascinated by vintage clothing and old things. Just after Sunshine’s sixteenth birthday, she and her adopted mother Kat move from Austin, Texas to Ridgemont, Washington. As soon as Sunshine arrives, she senses an eeriness about Ridgemont and the house they have just moved into. Sunshine and her mother have always been close, but shortly after moving in, she feels her mother slowly slip away from their close bond and soon become a distant stranger to Sunshine.

Sunshine soon experiences  paranormal activity, she’s followed by an icy breeze around her house, laughter of a little girl coming from upstairs, and a small voice wishing her ‘good night’.

When Sunshine starts at her new high school she meets a boy in her visual arts class called Nolan. Just like Sunshine, he loves vintage things just like his Grandfather. He is fascinated by the experiences Sunshine has had in her new house, and wants to help her prove that ghosts exist, just as his Grandfather wanted.

Finally, with the help of Nolan, Sunshine finds that to help her mother she needs to accept who she is and pass the test that stands before her.

Firstly, I love how strong the relationship Sunshine and her mother have. Although Sunshine is adopted, the relationship that they share is just as strong as a true mother a daughter bond. This really makes you feel empathy for Sunshine as her mother drifts away, it somehow makes you almost feel as though you are in Sunshine’s shoes and you are truly living every emotion that Sunshine is.
For me my favourite character was definitely Nolan, I like how he was willing to do anything to help Sunshine, it really made me warm to him. The writer made him seem like a knight in shining armour as he never gave up hope in Sunshine and how he always had faith in his Grandfather’s stories and completely idolised him.

I also liked how the author teases the reader with Nolan and Sunshine’s relationship, she makes it obvious that the two have feelings for each other and teases you by making them both too shy to act upon their feelings. She also teases you by adding in some moments when the two get so close to admitting that they have feelings for each other. I can’t wait to read the next book to see how their relationship progresses (if it does).

Normally, I’m not a fan of cliffhangers, but the cliffhanger at the end of this book was amazing. It really turned some of the book around and really spiced it up. By putting the cliffhanger right at the end of the book Paige McKenzie prevent a ‘book hangover’. After reading a really good book, I kind of feel empty as the author usually wraps things up and ties the loose ends, but this cliffhanger really made the end of the book more enjoyable. This was definitely one of my favourite parts.     

There were kind of two points of view to the story. The main point of view was Sunshine’s but throughout the story, the writer slipped in a few small chapters from the point of view of a stranger (a stranger for now). At first, this was confusing. If you were just to read the small chapters on its own, it would seem as a type of diary, the chapters themselves were exciting. They were a good read and I almost found myself  quickly flicking through the book trying to find out how many pages I had left till the next small chapter.

As the book went on, the small chapters started to make sense, I started to realise how they linked into the story from the start, but the realisation only came towards the end of the book.

Linking into that, I think maybe the writer should have changed the layout of the events slightly,  she made the lead up to the big events take over nearly three-quarters of the and when the big events finally came they almost seemed to be rushed. At the end of the book, that was when the biggest event took place, but it didn’t last long. I felt as though the writer was rushing to finish and missed out on fully describing the scenery and the events that happened. She kind of cut between scenes and disoriented the placement of the story. I understand that to make the book seem paranormal and haunted, things will cut off and seem unexpected, but the writer could have been more creative when she did this. She could have made the things that were meant to be unexpected and scary (like the haunting) seem more frightening and described in a more thrilling manner.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book from cover to cover, it was such a page turner despite the description problems. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend. There is no necessarily mature themes and the scary scenes are not overly frightening, so I think this book is suitable for young teens and young adults. I would give this book a rating of 4 out of 5, the only setback would be the fact that the author did not describe scenes enough and sometimes rushed the events that took place.    
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