I must say that this book succeeded in surprising me. A lot. The teaser made me think that Lyle House would be something like Hogwarts or the like but it was not, and that was great! Not that I don’t like the Harry Potter series; I adore it, but it’s not often a book surprises me.
All in all, the book is great. Chloe Sanders starts seeing dead people the day she gets her first period, and we all know that seeing dead people is a sign of madness, so after she freaks out she gets send away to Lyle House, a home made to help mentally disturbed children. Chloe’s aunt tells her that she only has to stay there for two weeks and Chloe admits that she has a problem. So far so good, it all sounds realistic enough, like that actually could happen. That was one of the things in this book I liked the most; the level of realism is kept throughout the whole book, not that there is no fantasy in it, there is a lot, but it’s easy to forget that his book is fantasy while the fantasy is kept at a level where it looks real, supported a lot by a psychologist in Lyle House. It’s easy to see where the surrealism takes over from the realistic part and still we are able to imagine this story taking place in our own world. In other words: great job Kelley.
Things at Lyle House is going great for Chloe; she still sees dead people but is able to keep it at a level where she can hide it from her psychologist. She’s determined that she wants to get away from Lyle House as fast as possible. That is, until Lis is being taken away. Lis is Chloe’s roommate and though she is a bit hyper all the time, Chloe doesn’t find Lis mentally disturbed at all. That is, until Lis gets mad at Chloe and things starts flying around everywhere with no one touching them. Then Lyle House sends Lis away, but Chloe now knows that there is more to Lyle House than what everything looks like; she knows she’s not crazy and she still sees dead people, and things did indeed move though Lis did not touch them.
Enter “charming Simon”, and “ominous Deres”. Deres is all about making Chloe realize that she may be something… unhuman but he’s not very good at socializing and ends up scaring Chloe. That’s where his brother takes over. Chloe discovers that they, too, may be something more, and the more she discovers about Lyle House, the more she knows that something is terribly wrong.
I loved the story. It was not too fast-paced, but something happened all the time. And the characters were great, they all had their personality and did not differ from them. This book is totally worth the money, the only thing missing is at the climax, I personally had expected something… more. Something where their true powers would show, and I absolutely hate the cliffhanger ending.