4.0 out of 5 stars "Each of us is born into this life with a light inside of us..."Sylvie Mason is a bright eighth grader living with her parents and sister in the tiny town of Dundalk, Maryland. They are anything but a normal family, however, as Mr. and Mrs. Mason have quite the unusual line of work -- they help the "haunted" -- souls in need of prayer or something to guide them to peace. Calls often come in the middle of the night -- and Sylvie's parents put on their "costumes" and head out to meet a desperate someone or prepare their basement to receive a guest in need of further intervention. On the night Sylvie hears this particular call, she doesn't realize that her life will change forever and she will be come embroiled in the mystery of discovering what happened to her parents on that fateful winter night. Older sister Rose who has become the legal guardian to Sylvie is abusive and self-centered. Rose and her parents had fought hard and often, and Sylvie senses that Rose has no compulsion to seek answers to how their parents came to be found shot dead in that cold church. Sylvie has a bit of hearing loss as she witnessed the shooting but her memory is faulty and she backtracks to relive the moments that brought them all to the fateful night.
What great characters in this book! I really felt for orphaned Sylvie and detested Rose. Others were not always what they seemed at first exposure. We come to the truth slowly as the narrative is told in the first person by Sylvie and shifts back and forth in time revealing tidbits and teasers. The atmosphere is slightly Gothic and there are shivers and chills when certain pieces of information come to light.
I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and think this book will really appeal to teen and young adult readers as well. The only part of the book that fell a notch short was the conclusion; I was a bit disappointed in the whodunit. Despite that, I was quite satisfied with this and I'll be recommending it!
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