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Thursday, January 3, 2013

ARC Review: Beyond: A Ghost Story by Graham McNamee

The first line of the summary is this: "What if your own shadow turned against you?". I thought it was no big deal. How is that even possible? But I had no idea I'd be in for some scare when I started reading this book.

Title: Beyond: A Ghost Story by Graham McNamee
Release Date: January 3, 2013
Published by: Hodder Children's Books
Source: Publisher (Thanks Victoria!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


What if your own shadow turned against you?

Jane is not your typical teen. She and her best friend Lexi call themselves the Creep Sisters.

Only Lexi knows why Jane is different from anyone else: Her own shadow seems to pull her into near-fatal accidents. Jane is determined to find out why these terrifying things happen, and to overcome her shadow enemy.

But her sleuthing with Lexi connects her own horrors to the secret history of a serial killer ...

They were called the Creep sisters for a reason. Labeled as freaks by their peers, Jane and Lexi are different. Lexi had a fascination with death and creepy things, while Jane, literally has cheated Death a couple of times. People thinks she's suicidal, even her parents think she has a problem. But Jane has a secret. All the freak accidents she had experienced happened because of one reason: her shadow was trying to kill her. But why? With a nail lodged on her brain, and the operation date looming before her, Jane must find out how her shadow and its past are related to something horrible that has happened a long time ago, because if she didn't, her shadow's next try to kill her might just succeed.

Considering how scary the premise is, I breezed through this book and finished reading it in two hours, which I think says something about how much I liked the story. It is freaky, yes. I had to stop every so often to take a deep breath and convince myself that this is just a story. My hyperactive imagination has been fed to tipping point by the things Jane's shadow can do. How can an 8 year old child drink poison willingly? Walk straight into a live wire's path after a storm? Shoot a nail gun to her own head? Thinking of it happening makes me wince. All of these were not random events, and part of what gives the story an edge is how the author makes the reader think: is Jane just really losing her mind, doing it to herself willingly or something else is doing something harmful to herself? Read, read and read. Then think, think and think.

What upped the creepy factor in this book were the events that connected Jane to a murder, not just of one child, but a few of them. Young boys, never to be seen by their parents again. As if it was not enough torture for a girl to know that her own shadow wants her dead, she had to be involved in the horrors of crimes committed by an evil person. The readers get to live through it, and feel the hopelessness of the victim through Jane. I shivered all the while when I was plowing through those particular parts of the book.

There was a certain bizarreness in the novel that gives it an appeal, especially when the reason behind Jane's suffering is revealed. I give kudos to the author for being able to smoothly combine the prospect of the afterlife and ghosts to a murder case. I also give plus points to the author for writing such lively characters. Jane certainly wasn't normal, nor was Lexi, but what is normal, anyway if everyone around them is mediocre? Lexi's presence in the novel gives it a dark, funny element. Lexi makes sense, though morbid and weird she is. And believe it or not, Jane has a love interest. I find myself chuckling at the most random of times whenever I read of her interactions with Ryan, they have very awkward but sweet moments.. For someone who thinks she's losing her mind because of the things that is happening to her, she was doing quite well with a boy. Too bad her shadow doesn't like it.

A tip to the readers: do not read this book when you're in a festive mood. It will leave you wide eyed in the end. It's an unconventional read, and it is definitely not a type of book I usually read, but it is most certainly enjoyable. Unlike most thriller/horror books, this is past faced and short. The horrors of death, the prospect of facing it and moving on to the other side, the despair of being unable to, combined with some chilling and grisly events and an assorted array of quizzical characters makes Beyond a book worth the read if you're brave enough to. You might want to turn on (or off?) the lights while reading it, just to confirm that your shadow is not doing anything you don't want it to do. It'll make you feel wary, paranoid and suspicious of a lot of things, but it's mostly a fun experience, though a little spooky.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
Like I said, I am not really a fan of scary books, but this one made me get through it while enjoying the reading experience. It's a little weird and confusing at times, but overall, a nice read. Not something I'd read often though.
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
Cool beans!


  1. I'm fascinated by the concept. Being threatened by your own shadow.. And I like that there is also a murder mystery. Nice review and I'm happy you liked it despite the fact that you're not a fan of scary books :)


    1. It is fascinating, just that the author mixed more stuff in the story and it was a lot more creepy than I expected it to be. If you like scary books, then you should definitely read this!

  2. I'm such a wimp but I actually really liked this story-the shadow plot was handled so smoothly.

    1. Me too, but I was really surprised at how fast I was able to read this. The shadow plot is seriously freaky. Poor Jane...

  3. I completely agree with you, the creepy factor was sky high in this one, but it was so readable, I breezed right through it.
    Wonderful review. :)

    1. Thanks, Maja! Iy was, it was... and I'm still shocked at how readable it is despite being really scary!

  4. Ooh. This one sounds so interesting! What a lovely review! Thanks for sharing with us Kai and opening my eyes to another great book!

    1. Hey Faye! Glad my review helped you out, you should give it a try :)


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