Candice Reviews: Ghost Wood Song

Ghost Wood Song (ages 13 and up) Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead.

If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept.

Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness. When her brother is accused of murder, though, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets. In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing.

Family secrets, past heartache, a gorgeously resonant LGBT love triangle, and long-buried memories make this young adult debut more than just a ghost story—it’s haunting and hopeful and proves the importance of human connection and support in facing everything that haunts us in the dark.

Why I liked it: Now living in Nashville, North Florida native Erica Waters has captured the thin, twisted pines and Spanish moss-laden Live oaks perfectly in this story of how families pass down grief and how the objects they leave behind can haunt. This book is as lyrical and haunting as the bluegrass ballads Shady Grove plucks out of her fiddle.

It was un-put-down-able because I couldn’t tell what would happen next. I was like one of the fiddle’s ghosts–I couldn’t not be there. In addition to the beautiful imagery and setting, Shady also gives us a playlist by which to follow her band’s music. As I’m not too familiar with bluegrass, listening to the music and artists on YouTube gave the story a whole new dimension as I read.

It’s my teen Summer Reading Recommendation sure to give you chills to help beat this heat.

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Happy summer reading!

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