Let’s get this straight – ghosts are everywhere. I can see them. You can’t. And, see them or not, they’re dangerous. This is why my family has hunted ghosts for hundreds of years to protect people like you.
The Marin family are outcasts of the ghost hunting world. They run a two-man operation in inner city Melbourne. Anton has the Ghost-sight, but his father does not.
Rani Cross is supremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat, with enhanced speed and strength thanks to her magical initiation into the Company of the Righteous.
When it comes to ghost-hunting methodology, Anton and Rani don’t see eye to eye – Anton likes to ‘ease their passage’ to the next world, while Rani’s all about the slashing.
But Melbourne is under threat; with a massive spike in violent ghost manifestations, Anton and Rani must find a way to work together to keep supernatural forces at bay.
And what with all the blindingly terrifying brushes with death, Anton must decide if he really wants in on the whole ghost hunting biz anyway.
Title: Gap Year in Ghost Town
Author: Michael Pryor
Genre: supernatural, urban fantasy
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Link to buy book here.
First of all, I loved that this was set in my stomping ground: Melbourne. It made Anton’s coffee addiction look normal, ha! I’m half-joking. …Only half. (We really love our coffee, okay.)
Moving on. 😀
I loved how Anton was delightfully ordinary – taking a gap year, an 18 year old just finished high school, working in a secondhand bookstore – except for the seeing ghosts part. He can also exorcise them, which I found fascinating. He was so sarcastic, it gave me life. But he also acknowledged his sarcasm as a partial flaw sometimes, his motor-mouth often closing him off to people rather than engaging with them.
Eep I just loved that he was introspective! Or at least, he grew to be, which is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much. His narration was absolutely on point: witty, sarcastic, matter-of-fact and engaging. But Anton’s narration and character wasn’t the only thing I loved about Gap Year in Ghost Town.
THERE’S A CHARACTER NAMED BEC IN IT. SHE IS DA BEST. I AM BEC, BEC IS ME.
This Bec in question loved London and cosplay so yes, we are the same person. But aside from that, she’s also Anton’s best friend and there was no romantic interest which I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed! They played off each other so well, their random fact routine was adorable and super cool.
I can’t discuss characters without mentioning the badass Rani, cos I also loved her! Despite Anton’s interest in her, their relationship was more one of support, vulnerability and respect. YAS. I love that this book set the foundation for them both, their abilities and courage definitely complemented each other and it was just so brilliant to read about! I was also internally cheering when Anton admitted that having a girl with a sword protecting him wasn’t a big deal, cos essentially he was a non-trained dude that didn’t know what he was doing, ha!
I don’t want to ramble on about the characters too much (but I kinda will, cos Anton’s Dad was also awesome, nerdy, humble and very realistic as a father character). I love it when parents/adults are present in YA but also aren’t holding the characters back from doing things. Gap Year in Ghost Town was perfect and realistic in its relationships and then they went out and hunted ghosts. Amazing.
Overall (I think it’s obvious) that I loved the characterization and voice of this book!! The ghost-hunting was incredibly unique, too, and I would love to know even more about it. (I feel like this could potentially continue, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.) I entered this book knowing that fans of Supernatural (the TV show) would love it, and I certainly did. The hunting, staking out, ghosts and organisations were very well done, especially the references to crime shows having all the clues immediately. This book was very aware and it made me grin; I loved that things weren’t easy, it made it very relatable to a real-life situation despite the ghostly content!
I’d definitely recommend this to fans of Supernatural, as this feels like a YA version of the show and it’s a very worthwhile read! I’d also recommend it if you’re feeling a little bit overwhelmed by your TBR pile, because I am, and this book was so fast-moving and engaging, I am keen to read even more now that I’ve finished it!
The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars and gave it 4 instead, was I didn’t feel that X factor zing that I usually get reading a favourite book. BUT, that said, I will still shout and recommend this book to anyone who’ll listen, as I most definitely loved it.
4 / 5 stars