Review: I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter by Brian K Henry

I was a teenage ghost hunter

I saw this book as promoted by the author on Twitter and it made the cut as my first self published novel reviewed on this blog. I have decided to only review books that I can be positive about; this was not the first book I read for consideration here.

This book is a fun, light, paranormal YA read. Many reviewers recommend it as a Halloween read and I agree that it fits right in the Halloween season. It is the story of Devin, a teenager who, like many with psychic abilities, at first resists his gift. He is encouraged by his friends to investigate the haunting in a local mansion and some manifestations that have been made to him. Through the prudent use of his gift he is able to resolve the issues underlying the unrest.

The biggest strength of this novel is the characters. They are lighthearted, fun, quirky, and funny. Although this story takes place with high school students doing things that high school students do (get coffee and ice cream, work part time jobs, attend parties and drink) the characters avoid being stereotypical. They come complete with parents who do not appear to supervise them. My favorite character is Clive, Devin’s musically gifted, eccentric British best friend. Clive’s musical gifts tend to set him apart from his classmates, but nevertheless is his central life force. Music being his most central passion, he may not understand Devin’s reluctance to engage in his own gifts. His other sidekick, Rex, is funny and techie and of course watches Ghost Hunters, and while that show does not inspire me personally to go out and collect evidence of paranormal activity, wants to re-create  ghost hunting for himself.

I think that the depiction of how other teenagers respond to one among them having psychic abilities is spot on: some tease him about it in school whereas others who do not share the gift are in awe of it and are attracted to it. They want to press on and explore and use Devin’s gift because it is fun and novel and they are curious.  Devin, on the other hand, like many people with such a gift, is aware that it is a two sided coin and consequently wants to be normal.It is not quite so fun for Devin than it is for his friends who do not understand it and are not involved with the direct confrontations with spirit that Devin must manage. Devin has a maturity about his gift, understands its gravity and uses it for good, rather than just poking about and using his gift because it is fun and novel.

During my brief research into the author for the purposes of this post, I learned that he has put some of his work out there for free on wattpad as well to generate interest. While I think this was a smart idea, I am glad that he is charging some for his work on Amazon. I see he has another book for 2.99 at the time of this blog post entitled Space Command and the Planet of Bejewelled Concubines, which honestly looks hilarious. I am not a fan of science fiction the way I am of YA paranormal fiction (despite being in my thirties and a professional and a mother…don’t judge me) but I might just check it out one of these days.

I recommend this book for a light, humorous, and entertaining read.

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