When Emma Vaile’s parents go missing while away on a mysterious business trip, she’s left all alone in her creepy old house. But her brother’s very cute best friend, Bennett Stern—Emma’s knight in J. Crew armor—arrives unexpectedly to whisk her away to New England. There, Emma settles into his family’s museum-like mansion and enrolls at an old-fashioned private school. She quickly finds friends in the popular legacy crowd at Thatcher and spends her free time crushing on Bennett. But the eerie visions she’s been hiding from everyone have gotten worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher that she can’t explain—it’s as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Finally, Emma confides in Bennett and learns she is a ghostkeeper, a person who can communicate with ghosts. Bennett brought Emma to Thatcher to protect her, but now he needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer.
I hadn't heard much about this book when I received this in the post last week. After reading the synopsis I was expecting and older version of The Mediator series by Meg Cabot (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, that is the series that got me into young adult paranormals books after all). I'll clear this up; this book may be using a well used genre, but Nichols takes the genre and makes it her own and gripping and had me reading until the very end.
I have trouble getting into books. There are very few books that grab me from page one and Deception was not among them, however I did get into it a lot quicker than I usually do, which I'm putting down to Emma's uniquely snarky voice. I read sarcastic main characters all the time but there was something about Emma that totally had me gripped. From about one chapter in until the very last page, the pacing was amazing!
What I really liked were the different storylines going on. I liked reading about Emma's school worries and friendships as well as her life at the museum, with her learning about ghostkeeping and her relatiosnhips with Bennett, Martha and the ghosts. You could really see Emma attempt to find some normalcy in her life as it gets so strange.
The characters were good. While I totally loved Emma, she was snarky and sarcastic and spunky but also had a level of vulnerability and fear about her, I didn't think that Bennett was written fantastically - he's described as h ot but really, that is all he has going for him. He's condescending and acts older than his 20 years. I did start to like Bennett more closer to the end, so hopefully I'll start to love him in the sequel, Betrayal (which is so totally on my TBR pile!).
I struggled to find chemistry between Bennett and Emma to start with, while we can see that he may like her and she's obsessed with him, I didn't find any chemistry, though there was much more nearer the end and I'm excited too see how this is developed further throughout the rest of the series.
Overall, Deception was a gripping book that is pushed forward by Nichol's fantastic narration through the eyes of sarcastic Emma. While the hero started out lacking, he slowly developed swoon points and I can't wait to read more about Emma and Bennett's struggles. I would recommend this action packed ghost story to any YA ghost lover!
Overall Rating: B
Stand Alone/Series: First in a series
UK Release: September 5th 2011
Book received from the publisher in return for an honest review