Friday, June 04, 2010

Hour 10

Hours Spent Reading: 10
Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 890
Money Raised: $623
What I'm listening to: Black Hole Sun

Please remember that I'm reading to raise money for Room to Read, which builds libraries, stocks them with books, and trains people to become their librarians.

The Ghosts Of Ashbury HighThe Ghosts Of Ashbury High Jaclyn Moriarty

According to the introductory note, gothic fiction is often full of "mad people locked in attics, secret passageways, monsters, murderers, ghosts, and family curses."

Although this book takes place at a modern high school outside Sydney and is, for the most part, realistic fiction (with just a touch of magical realism) this does have everything that a good gothic novel needs.

I know I owe you reviews of the previous Ashbury High books (although you do not really need to read them to read this one.)

It's Year 12 for Cass, Lydia, and Em. (Liz makes a brief appearance as well and Bindy keeps popping up, never fear.) As with Moriarty's other books, this is told in "stuff" mainly personal essays for the HSC, committee meeting notes, emails, and blog entries.

Of course, due to the nature of most of the narrative-- an exam question to "Write a personal memoir which explores the dynamics of first impressions. In your response, draw on your knowledge of gothic fiction" and an assignment to "Write the story of Term 2 as a ghost story" we're never entirely sure of the reliability of our narrators, even when we know our narrators from previous books and how they're usually unreliable.

Ashbury has two new scholarship students-- Amelia and Riley. The school is obsessed with them, their aloofness, their secret history, their insane talent at everything they touch. Mostly though, their past. They came from Brookfield, but no one's Brookfield connections know them, except Seb, who warns Lydia to steer clear.

The reader sees different parts of the story, different sides, and has to guess what's happening. And there are important elements of gothic fiction that you forget and then, BAM! There they are!

It's not a comedic book, but parts are very, very funny (I mean, everything Em touches is comedic gold.) But it's also a very interesting look at second chances, perception, history and present, and, of course, ghosts and haunting-- real, metaphorical, and imaginary.

More people need to discover the genius that is Moriarty. Seriously.

Book provided by... my wallet.

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Charlotte said...

I like this author's other books lots--glad to know that this one is up to standard!

Lady S. said...

I had a mad moment's thought that there was a new Jaclyn Moriarty I hadn't heard about! Which would have been awesome in a way, but I read it with the Australian/UK title. (First read of 2010, thanks to a friend in Australia's generosity.) I couldn't agree more you about Moriarty's genius.

Just popping in to say that, in one of the allowed hour's socializing! :)

Bibliovore said...

Moriarty is awesome! Jaclyn, that is. Although I suppose you can make a case for Dr. Moriarty being somewhat awesome in an evil way . . . uhoh, that fizzing sound was my brain shorting out 3/4 of the way through 48HBC.

Glad to hear you liked the book! I'm looking forward to reading it.