haunting of sunshine girl book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

Sixteen-year old Sunshine Griffith is less than thrilled about moving to “creeptastic” Ridgemont, Washington from Austin, Texas, but having no say in the matter, she decides to give it a chance. Along with her mother Kat, their dog and cat, the little family settles into their large, older home while Kat prepares for her new position as head nurse at Ridgemont Hospital. The house and the area immediately give Sunshine an uneasy feeling and soon she will learn the root causes of those feelings in a strange and haunting fashion. Kat and Sunshine are close; Sunshine is adopted and the two interact with love, humor and fun conversations/traditions, acting more like friends than mother/daughter at times. When the darkness that Sunshine immediately senses begins to manifest, that dynamic will dramatically shift.

With her mother at work most of the time and on strange shifts as she becomes acclimated to her new position, Sunshine does her best to ignore the lingering feeling of dread, the strange smell in their new house and the fact that she is almost constantly cold. Kat believes none of Sunshine’s discoveries and her practical, scientific mind doesn’t allow for worries about the supernatural. Even Sunshine’s claims of hearing footsteps fall on deaf ears and Sunshine vows to make her mother see that their new home is haunted.

Sunshine is quirky, smart and a bit of a loner. She was happy to have her best friend Ashley in Austin and here in Ridgemont, she becomes friends with the tall, handsome, smart Nolan. The pair become close friends and when Sunshine realizes that she has a believer in Nolan, she begins to fill him in on what is taking place at her new house. There is a cast of creepy characters in the novel that fringe the early story and then become more central to the plot. Sunshine’s strange art teacher Ms. Wilde and an unknown narrator that seems to be watching Sunshine and monitoring her situation and the blossoming of her “gifts”. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl begins to get dark as Kat becomes a shell of the mother Sunshine has always known and loved and begins to act very out of character. Nolan and Sunshine know that something must be done and the pair embark on a mission to find out not only what happened in her house, but also who or what, is taking the place of Kat.

The relationship between Sunshine and Nolan begins to develop nicely as they embark on their mission to uncover information and the pair discover an unlikely ally in Ms. Wilde. It is soon revealed that Sunshine is a powerful, rare form of a psychic known as a luiseach and only she, with little to no help, can work to defeat the powerful force that is taking over Kat in order to truly recognize and accept her gift. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is exciting, spooky, fun and something different. Sunshine is strong, loveable and upon completion, the reader will be left wanting more of her story.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Lauren Cannavino is a graduate student, freelance writer, wine lover, and avid reader. Random musings can be found over at www.goldiesays.wordpress.com.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Weinstein Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.