Continuing in my plan to read the other books in the 2016 NaNoWriMo Story Bundle, I picked up Jenny Adams Perinovic’s A Magic Dark and Bright. This is a young adult paranormal thriller that turns horror in the final stages. It’s also clearly a book one as it ends on a cliffhanger, but possibly not the cliff you might suspect.
Amelia Dupree is a young woman haunted by her brother’s recent death and her involvement in the steps leading up to his car accident. Her life has gone from driven and fun-filled to withdrawn. Even the ghost that had literally haunted her for years vanished from her life when Mark died only to reappear suddenly.
Charlie Blue comes to Asylum to live with his grandmother, a woman branded an actual witch by most of the townsfolk. He’s drawn to Amelia from the start, and as Amelia’s mother is one of the few willing to befriend a MacAllister (his grandmother), Amelia is encouraged to make Charlie welcome.
Their love story is sweet and poignant as they work through the troubles both have experienced and Amelia’s lack of self-worth, but that’s not the whole of the story. With the help of Ransom, the intern working with Amelia’s mother on the town’s history, they set out on a path of magic and mystery to free Amelia’s ghost.
There’s a lot more going on here, and the seeding is nicely done with Amelia reliving the ghost’s past in her dreams, but I’ll let you discover those on your own. I found the characters engaging, and though horrific things were happening, the focus is more on the people and their connections through most of the book. It’s not just teenage love and doubts, though. Life doesn’t stand still around the main characters, but rather they learn more about their own families and what’s been happening under Amelia’s nose as well, giving the world a well-rounded feel. The history of the town and how it’s all blended into the present is also interesting, and the ending left me wanting more, a more I’m promised by the series title. I enjoyed my time with these characters and would be happy to hang out with them again…well, most of them.
P.S. As stated above, this is one of the books included in the eBook Story Bundle with Shafter, and that drove my choice to jump it in my reading queue (the bundle is only available until the 21st of March).