Sixteen-year-old Anna sees things from another world, the spiritual world, a skill that isn’t exactly useful in high school. It’s bad enough that her mother, possessed by a demon, took her own life when Anna was a child, a loss she remains tortured by. Now her father makes his living “clearing” haunted objects, and Anna’s job as his assistant makes her a social misfit. Most kids in her suburban New Jersey town refer to her just as “Goblin Girl.”
Only Freddy and Dor remain loyal friends. But Anna’s so focused on her own problems, she’s missed that her connection with Freddy is moving beyond the friend zone.
As junior year approaches, a rare solar storm lights up the night skies and the citizens of Bloomtown begin to act strangely: Anna’s teachers lash out, her best friends withdraw, and the school bullies go from mean to murderous. When Anna realizes she can harness this evil power, she sets out to save Bloomtown and the only family she has left.
But to do so, she must keep her own increasingly dark urges at bay.
Thank you so much to Netgalley for this ARC! As an avid fan of Buffy, Supernatural, and The X-Files, I was immediately drawn to this story of ghosts, demons, and the heroes that hunt them. It was a thrill ride to say the least; Sunnydale’s Hellmouth on CRACK!
We dive into Anna’s life, which is as messy and rotten as the house she lives in. Her mom killed herself because of a demon that had possessed her, and her dad was never the same after. I loved the exploration into his grief, which manifested itself in his hoarding. It gets worse as worse as the story reaches its climax, and it’s heartbreaking to actually see the physical sign of his pain. He’s unable to let anything go, including the memory of his late wife.
Anna has her own problems outside of this, though. She is constantly bullied at school for being the daughter of a ghost hunter. Nicknamed Goblin Girl, kids are either scared of her, disgusted by her, or turned on by her. None of this is wanted attention, and so she seeks affection from a boy in a band who could care less about her. She finds her only other solace in her two friends, Dor and Freddy.
Things start to go sideways, and Anna is plagued with nightmares, headaches, and violent thoughts. She sees people she’s been surrounded by her whole life turn nasty or sullen, and she knows something supernatural has to be to blame. By tapping into her genetic connection to the Source (the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel), she uncovers the truth of her diseased and demon-infested town, and begins a journey to not only save her town, but to finally figure out who she is.
The thing I loved most about this narrative was the supernatural lore. It was interesting and compelling, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. There was a myriad of beings: shadow people, Tricksters, demons– all who had their own time to shine and it never felt like there was too much being crammed into one story. They all had their own specific purpose and I was left feeling like I had just finished watching a season of one of my favorite supernatural shows. It was a rollercoaster ride of thrills, chills, and despair, and I loved every second!