by Jeannine Garsee
Published July 17th 2012 by Bloomsbury
Sixteen-year-old Rinn Jacobs has secrets: One, she’s bipolar. Two, she killed her grandmother.
After a suicide attempt, and now her parents’ separation, Rinn and her mom move from California to the rural Ohio town where her mother grew up. Back on her medications and hoping to stay well, Rinn settles into her new home, undaunted by the fact that the previous owner hanged herself in Rinn’s bedroom. At school, her classmates believe the school pool is haunted by Annaliese, a girl who drowned there. But when a reckless séance goes awry, and terrible things start happening to her new friends—yet not to her—Rinn is determined to find out why she can’t be “touched” by Annaliese…or if Annaliese even exists.
With the help of Nate Brenner, the hunky “farmer boy” she’s rapidly falling for, Rinn devises a dangerous plan to uncover the truth. Soon reality and fantasy meld into one, till Rinn finds it nearly impossible to tell the difference. When a malevolent force threatens the lives of everyone she cares about–not to mention her own–she can’t help wondering: who should she really be afraid of?
Annaliese? Or herself?
I was apprehensive about reading this book since I knew the main character was bipolar and I know a few people who are bipolar. I have also read quite a few books over the years written by, about, or to help people who know those with the condition. So, needless to say, I am familiar with the illness but yet I was intrigued by the supernatural aspect of the story and how the author was going to blend the main character being bipolar with the seeing of ghosts, without making it cheesy.
I was quite impressed. The representation of Rinn and how she acts without medication is spot on and not overly embellished, well except for the part about seeing ghosts. The supernatural aspect aside, Miss Garsee portrayed the inner workings of the mind of someone who is bipolar and how they can think and act in a realistic way.
Now for the supernatural aspect; this part was, as was expected, farfetched, but yet had enough “reality” or at least the possibility of the situation being real, to make this part of the story acceptable. I really loved the whole Annaliese portion of the story.
The third element was relationships. There was a bit of a “like” triangle, but the whole relationship part got weird, kind of small town- only a few people to choose from kind of thing. There were secret relationships, people dating friends ex’s, ect… There was also a lot of secret keeping between so called friends. This part of the story is very sad and I am not sure I really liked how things turned out for all of Rinn’s new friends, even Nate was affected, though she was able to help him. Rinn’s mother was also confusing on the relationship front. It seemed relationships started, but really just kind of stopped, abruptly. Rinn’s mom definitely had some issues she needed to work through; she was not a good example for Rinn in any way.
Even though this book was geared toward YA’s in high school, there was strong violence and attempted sex- explicitly described. Basically Rinn was trying to seduce Nate, but he said no. I would not want my middle school kid to read some of these scenes; I am not sure I would want my high school student to read most of them. I would recommend this book for 18 and up, no younger, but that decision is up to you.
I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.