Along with her boyfriend and her best friend, 16-year-old Easter Hutton has been recruited by the Fairless Grove Academy, a school for teens with paranormal gifts. Easter has a talent for astral projection, as well as for giving voice to the thoughts of others. Her boyfriend, Cal, has a talent for psychokinesis, and her best friend, Andrew, can read the memories of others.
While on a ghost tour, the trio discovers that they all have yet another talent: They are all sensitives, or those who can see and communicate with ghosts. Within a few chapters, their problems have multiplied:
- To avoid expulsion, Easter and Cal need to find a way to keep their hands off each other
- Easter's alcoholic mother has been calling regularly, threatening to come to Florida
- Andrew's talents are affecting him adversely
- Their talents have unmasked an elderly murderess and they don't know what to do about it
- They're being haunted by a ghost who expects them to right a two-hundred year old wrong
- AND (horror of horrors) they're expected to get summer jobs
Though I found the storyline and plot compelling and somewhat suspenseful, I often found the dialogue distracting -- for instance:
"Some employers might not like Easter's dyed flat-black hair, either," Andrew piped up.
Okay. Nobody would say that. I hit that line, and just sat there, thinking about it. Everyone Andrew is speaking with is right there. They can all see Easter's hair. They know what color it is. In real life, he would have said that employers "might not like Easter's hair", possibly "dyed hair". But not "dyed flat-black hair". It seemed like a clumsy way of getting the description in there, but it's not even necessary, because later Easter meets a woman with the same exact hair -- she could have worked it in there.
I know that sounds hideously nit-picky, but it IS distracting. Dialogue that doesn't ring true pulls me out of the story and it doesn't allow me to believe in the characters.
My other major problem really is a major one: Easter's voice. Again, it wasn't always a problem, but sometimes her descriptions had the old eyeballs rolling:
Twice, Cal paused between street lamps. His kisses lighted up the inside of my mind like a meteor shower on a still night. I loved the way his mouth fit mine.
Okay, seriously? Cut the second sentence out and it wouldn't be half-bad. But with it in, it's just so over the top that it verges on ridiculous. On one hand, that makes sense -- there are a whole lot of sixteen-year-old girls out there who pump out the overblown prose -- but on the other, it doesn't really make for enjoyable reading, or at least not for me.
Also, she does a lot of telling rather than showing, and sometimes it's not even necessary:
No way I wanted to be like a dead girl, especially one who'd been hated by everybody in her town. Still I felt myself drawn to her. I had questions.
The only reason I know that Easter is drawn to Placida is that she tells me that. She never actually acts like she's drawn to her. And... then she proceeds to ask the ghost a pile of questions. So she didn't really need to tell us that she had questions, right?
All of that aside, I found the backstory interesting enough that I'll read Homefree if I come across a copy.