Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
The Skinny: Amy and her sister Phin agreed to house sit for their Aunt Hyacinth, not spend their summer playing Ghostbusters. But when you’re a Goodnight girl, ghosts and magic always seem to go hand in hand, much to Amy’s dismay. When skeletal remains are found on the neighboring ranch, the McCullough ranch, the entire town stirs into a ghost frenzy, immediately blaming Amy and Phin for the mysterious happenings.
After an accidental promise to her aunt, Amy finds that she’s permanently haunted by a ghost, one that refuses to rest and that only she can get rid of. This means embracing something she had hoped to stay as far away from as possible: her family.
Oh, and there’s a hot cowboy too.
BFF?: Yes! Amy was such a great main character and I really want to be her friend. She’s got such a quirky, awesome personality that I think we would mesh well (yeah, I totally ripped that from Clueless) together. While I’d have to give her a big thumbs down for not wanting to embrace her family’s magical abilities, I totally love how she deals with it. I feel like we all have ways of putting up with our family’s weirdness and hers is done with grace and humor, most of the times making me laugh very loudly. She also is pretty oblivious to guys, which, hey, I AM TOO! We’d make a pair of sad sacks going out, but whatever; we could totally have a good time! You know, if those pesky ghosts don’t leave us alone.
Additional BFF: Cousin Daisy. She was, by far, my favorite character in this book, even though she was only in it for a few pages. Definitely important, but definitely there mainly for comedic relief. Not that this book was lacking in the comedy!
Readability: This book was hella spooky, y’all. I’m not really one for scary movies (okay, I may pee my pants in fear while watching them) but give me a scary book any day of the week and I’ll eat it up. This one was no exception. The pacing flowed really well and you were given just enough to go on to keep you excited about the plot. Amy’s voice – yes, another 1st person book – was clear and fun, slightly sarcastic but with an underlying current of magic. Magic!*
Crush Level: 7
Okay. I should preface this by saying I’m not a fan of cowboys. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, they just don’t appeal to me. Not so with Ben McMculloch. He starts out as this asshat kind of guy, but you just KNOW he’s going to turn out to be so much more. It’s the little things – helping Amy rustle up her goats, protecting her when someone dumps beer on her, saving her after she falls into a ravine; you know, cowboy type stuff. Even though his asshat attitude lasts a little longer than I prefer, his amazingness overwhelms it and makes him that much dreamier. Annnnd hotter.
There’s also this little gem that made me laugh in that “homigosh I want to be in Amy’s shoes RIGHT NOW!” kind of way.
But I was pretty sure that whatever was buzzing against my thigh was not normal. For one thing, it was ringing.
Ben dragged his mouth away from mine and mumbled a curse that was a little shocking and kind of hot.
“Ignore it,” he said.
That was easy for him to say when his cell phone was rounding third base. If anyone got a home run tonight, I didn’t want it to be Verizon Wireless.
Clearly, Miss Clement-Moore watched Bones while she was writing this book because there were several subtle references to it that only a true Bones connoisseur such as myself would get. One that kept popping up was the term “hinky.” Now, maybe this isn’t exclusive to Bones, but after an obvious Bones reference (ie actually mentioning the show), it was basically connect the dots between “hinky” and the show. Sounds a little hinky to me, doesn’t it?
The Goodnights, while yes witches, use their magic pretty, well, practically. They make things like soaps and shampoos that work so well you’ll think it’s magic! Of course, doesn’t help that it IS magic, but who’s counting?
I never actually read Nancy Drew growing up, but after reading Texas Gothic I’m pretty sure I missed out on some awesome shizz. There were more Nancy Drew references in this book than kisses. Which was slightly disappointing because I wanted to kiss Ben vicariously through Amy.
Southern Ghost Stories
Ghost stories are always cool, regardless of region, but for some reason I think Southern ghosts are better. Not because I have a tendency to love the South (although I do love my home!) but because there’s always some serious story behind the ghosts that haunt us down here.
Commencement Speech: I loved this book! Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can get to talking about my thoughts on it. While there were some parts of it that I kind of skimmed – such as Phin’s overly smart explanations of her weird ghost hunting inventions – there were moments when I couldn’t put this book down. Rosemary Clement-Moore, like always, manages to paint the perfect picture of her scene, giving you just enough imagery to see and feel it without going overboard. The story is great, spooky in just the right places without letting anything deter it from really giving you goosebumps. Overall, it was a great read; I was scared and excited and tingly for days while I was reading this. If you’re looking for a good ghost story and don’t mind hot cowboys, you should definitely check this out.
Superlatives – Most Likely to end up on Ghost Hunters
*I feel like I’ve said this word many times and no one gets it because they can’t hear me imitate Neil Patrick Harris. So here is the commercial I imitate: