I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Ever Near (Secret Affinity, #1) by Melissa MacVicar
Published by Red Adept Publishing on September 11, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Paranormal
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Love is ever near. But trouble is never far.Nantucket Island is haunted, but only sixteen-year-old Jade Irving knows it. Ignoring the disturbing spirits isn’t an option, because one dwells in the enormous historic home she shares with her newly blended family. Jade is finding it more and more difficult to explain away Lacey’s ghostly, anguished tantrums, especially with Charlie, her gorgeous, almost step-brother, living right across the hall.When a power-hungry ghost hunter tracks down Jade and blackmails her, Jade’s secret teeters on the edge of exposure, and her entire future hangs in the balance. If anyone finds out Jade can talk to ghosts, her life will be forever changed.Can she save herself, free Lacey, and hang on to her tenuous connection with Charlie? Or will everything she ever wanted slip through her fingers?
Ever Near is a story about sixteen year old Jade who can see ghosts. She has been able to see ghosts ever since that one summer when a man chased her from a graveyard. A man no one else could see.
Her mother is getting married to the successful and rich Mike and their fortunes have improved from divorcee-single-mom-and-daughter to part of a family. Unfortunately for Jade, its the family of Charlie: her childhood crush since forever.
A down to Earth ghost story that harks back to the days when YA was actually written for adolescents and not adults.
Melissa MacVicar devises a story that is both believable and childish in a very intelligent manner. Her characters act realistically to experiences and their thinking is on par with someone with limited life experience. The budding romance between Jade and Charlie is a great example of a couple of kids who live in the now, rebel against their parents who “do not understand their love” and many of Jade’s reactions to her situations are acceptably self-centered. It’s a bit annoying, but let’s be honest, we all did things when we were Jade’s age that we now cringe over.
Looking at Charlie for very long is a bad idea. We don’t generally look at each other in the light of day—never mind in the middle of the night in my bedroom—because locking eyes is something that could lead to kissing. That’s how it feels to me at least, and kissing would be so very wrong now that we’re going to be steps. Wrong Wrong Wrong.
The novel fits in with the current reader trend towards requesting more diverse characters in YA. Jade is a black female protagonist who seems to have a bit of a chip on her shoulder concerning whites. Although not full blown racist because of her white mother, Jade is definitely struggling with her identity as a black woman. She often makes remarks about the color of skin and racial issues which highlights her own inner conflict. I can only hope that Jade learns to become comfortable with her race in the coming books of the Secret Affinity series. .
They probably assume I’m the black foster child that this nice white family rescued from the gritty streets of some impoverished inner city. No, I want to say to them. I belong to the redhead.
I definitely loved that this book is a true Young Adult novel complete with reactions from the cast that was realistic. MacVicar wove a tale that was perfect for young readers without all the YA-adult politics, behaviours and thought processes. MacVicar is a genius at writing real teenagers for real adolescents.
I didn’t like Jade’s character and the scene where she threatens to lie about a man raping her pretty much solidified by distaste for her. I hope she never threatens to lie about rape again. The fact that she continuously links it back to Jane Austen only made matters worse. Romanticizing rape is never cool and Jade needs karma to bite her on the ass.
I didn’t much feel for Charlie. I didn’t believe his desire for Jade or understand his belief in her wild tales of ghosts. The one dimensional feeling of his character was unfortunate since they are risking their parent’s happiness for their own. I do understand that this being their first love I suppose the behaviour is completely within it’s limits when dealing with a true YA novel and is not specifically written for adults.
And when I finally do, when I allow my eyes to open, the surge of energy takes over. I scream, “You can’t have her!” I scream it again and again, flailing my arms. She grabs at me, trying to get a hold of some part of my body, and we tumble to the floor. I’m losing. Losing control. Losing my mind. Mike and Charlie are shouting. I think they’re shouting, anyway. Their voices are muffled and getting more distant. Lydia’s crushing me from the inside, drawing the life from every one of my cells. My skin. My heart. My legs. I’m weak.
This novel will appeal to those who love ghost stories, YA that is actually YA and not a New Adult variant, paranormal, young love or first love. I would certainly recommend this as a clean read (kissing/touching but no sex and very little detail beyond the kisses).