In Ways to See a Ghost two teenagers, Isis and Gray, are brought together during strange circumstances, in which thereafter their parents start dating. In many ways, as well as being a paranormal adventure, this book is a fun read, with Gray’s father, Gil, believing in many different conspiracies relating to UFO’s and the Government, and Isis’ mother, Cal, working as a psychic! However, Isis can see the ghost of her dead, little sister, Angel, and has been able to do so since the terrible ordeal that took her. Isis has never been able to tell anybody that she can see her sister, but this is all about to change since she has formed a friendship with Gray. The drama heightens when Cal, Isis’ mum, joins the Welkin Psychic Society where the intentions of its leader, Philip Syndal is not as they seem. Isis and Gray begin to piece the jigsaw together but will their parents believe them? Will they be able to prevent the danger that lies around the corner?
The reader instantly feels for Isis. She has lost her little sister in a terrible accident, her mother has taken a downturn because of the distressing situation and to make matters worse, Isis can see her sisters ghost and feels that she cannot tell anyone for fear of being labelled as crazy and/or creating more problems for her mother. In addition to this, Isis doesn’t support her mother’s psychic work and this causes a rift between the two at times.
It was Cal’s psychic work that brought Isis and Gray to meet. Cal was visiting a client, Sondra, for a psychic meeting to try and work out where Sondra’s boyfriend, Norman Welkin, was. Meanwhile Gil, Gray’s dad, worked as a gardener for Norman and had taken Gray with him. Whilst in the garden, Gray came across Isis, sitting on a bench, waiting for her mum. Words were exchanged between them before the raised voices of Sondra and Cal could be heard. Trying to get back to her mum, Gray showed Isis a short cut through the garden, when they discovered the body of Norman Welkin.
This discovery really opens the story out as it was confirmed that Norman had died from natural causes. However, Gil with his theories disbelieves this. How can a man be found frozen in Spring as the temperture begins to rise? Gil automatically believes that there is a cover up and that the circumstances are suspicious. Meanwhile, Cal is invited to join the psychic society that Norman had set up. Cal, although dating Gil at this point, is taken in by Philip Syndal, the society’s leader, and worships the ground he walks on. Isis sees through Philip’s charm and between Angel’s ghost, Isis and Gray they begin to work out why Philip is so interested in Cal!
My favourite character is Gray. I love his sense of humour and the manner in which he explains happenings and the descriptions of people. He is full of wit and so honest – maybe a little too honest at times, but this is what makes him so funny and likeable! If he thinks that something is plain rubbish he says exactly that. A couple of examples, whilst in the garden at Norman Welkin’s house he notices Norman’s girlfriend, Sondra, through a window:-
“…I looked through the window into their living room, but there was only Sondra, his girlfriend. Not like that sounds, because she’s really old, as old as him……..She was as weird as him….”
Gray goes on to explain Sondra’s artwork:-
“She said she was an artist, but she showed me a couple of her pictures once, and they were all…swirly and mixed up. Rubbish, I thought.”
Despite Gray’s honest and sarcastic side, he also shows empathy towards Iris and helps her in times of need when no one else will or can. This is quite a sweet side to him, although I bet he’d hate me to say that!
Although both have their own reasons for being isolated from the other kids, Isis and Gray can, overtime, be sympathetic towards each others differences. Isis didn’t want to open up to Gray as she feared his reaction would be to laugh and make fun of her. And yet as they become closer, Isis does decide to open up to Gray, who ,soon enough, has reason to believe her, making him the only one aware of the full story – Isis and Cal’s angle and his father’s UFO theory. Emily Diamand has approached both characters with the reader feeling quite sorry for them as well as making it fun with Gil and Cal at complete opposite ends. It’s surprising that they got together! The story and characters are exciting and interesting. And it is great how it can be witty and funny one moment, scary and creepy another and then dramatic and sad in other parts.
I really liked two of the supporting characters, Mandeville and Stu The Keeper! Mandeville is a ghost that regularly reaches out to Isis. Even though she really doesn’t want him to, I like the idea that she can see him and other ghosts and the settings in which she can see them at times is brilliant. And Stu The Keeper is a great, fun character. He is a friend of Gil’s who is also very serious about conspiracy theories – even moreso than Gil. He visits Gil from time to time with his anorak on to disguise himself, carrying his laptop that has The Database saved and between them they cross reference their findings and discuss in secret what they believe is happening. It is quite hilarious at times!
Whilst Ways to See a Ghost is planned for release next month, July 2013, there is a sequel planned for 2014. It would be great to see how Isis and Gray’s relationship grows further and leaves me wondering what adventure they will be going on next!
Look out for Tina’s review of Ways to See a Ghost over the coming weeks!
Ways to See A Ghost was received gratefully from Templar Publishing in return for an honest and fair review.
Other works by author, Emily Diamand, are Flood Child (2009) and Flood and Fire (2011)
Cover art by Ben Kovar
Reviewed by Caroline Barker