“I’ve lived with ghosts my whole life, but this is the first time I’ve ever felt haunted.”
Every time I read a creepy book set in the woods, I think to myself, “this is it, this is the last time I read a book set in the woods!” And yet, as soon as I see another story with an eerie forest setting, I toss everything aside and run straight for it. That’s exactly what happened with Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters, and while my sleep schedule might regret it, the rest of me does not.
Ghost Wood Song follows the story of Shady Grove, a teenager living in Florida who is no stranger to ghosts. The house she grew up in is haunted, and her father had the ability to communicate with the dead by playing his fiddle. Now, years after his own death, Shady finds herself searching for his fiddle so she can raise some ghosts of her own to help protect her brother, Jesse. He’s been accused of a murder, and while all evidence points to him, Shady knows he didn’t do it.
Throughout the story, we see how Shady’s past and present come together. She knows the facts aren’t adding up with her brother’s case, and does whatever she can, including putting herself in very real danger, to find the truth.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some wonderful friendships, and relationships, that develop throughout the book as well. That, paired with Shady’s love of music, added a wholesome layer to the story that was a welcome distraction from the spooky stuff that was also happening.
The story blends horror with aspects of a thriller, and comes together perfectly for a YA audience. However, it’s worth noting that I, an almost 30-year old, loved this book. It’s being marketed as “Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures,” and as someone who LOVED Sawkill Girls, I can confirm that the description holds up.
I think my favourite part of the book was the descriptions of the house Shady grew up in. Her Aunt Ena still lives there, and Shady often goes over to visit and brings friends along. During the day it’s not so bad, but at night, the house comes alive with those who used to live there. It reminded me so much of Hill House (the show more than the book), because there were two ghosts Shady spoke about: an old, tall man, and the girl in the ceiling (*immediately gets shivers down my spine*).
Ghost Wood Song has everything I look for in a good horror book: ghosts, a haunted house, an atmospheric setting that will make your skin tingle, LGBTQ+ characters, and family secrets. If you’re a fan of any of these things, be sure to add this book to your list!
Thank you to Harper Collins Canada and HCC Frenzy for sending me a digital copy of Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters in exchange for an honest review. Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters comes out on July 14, 2020, and can be purchased wherever books are sold.