This book will be released on July 12.
I looked up the word ‘gothic’ because I thought it was an adjective, and it’s not used as an adjective in the title. What I learned: It is an adjective, but apparently it’s also a noun referring to a story written in the gothic style. My search for the definition came from my confusion over why this book is titled the way it is because it’s not really a gothic at all—its combined teen chick-lit and mystery—well, except for the ghosts. When I think gothic, I think dark and creepy castles, Jane Eyre, and Tim Burton. Texas Gothic is less gothic and more Meg Cabot, but highly enjoyable all the same. The Texas part makes sense, though, for obvious reasons.
Level-headed, responsible Amy Goodnight is a reluctant witch in a family of witches. While Amy’s older sister Phin and their Aunt Hyacinth may dabble in spells and potion-making, Amy is concerned mostly with hiding her eccentric family from the eyes of a judgmental, proper, Texan society. When accidents begin befalling workers on McCulloch Ranch, neighbor to Goodnight Ranch, they are blamed on a local ghost, which Amy finds curious and unnerving. But the events become even more unsettling when a ghost shows up at the foot of Amy’s bed, demanding to be found. With the help of Phin, and sexy cowboy Ben McCulloch, Amy must solve the mystery of the ghost, right wrongs, and save the day—maybe even with a little bit of magic.
Have you ever seen the movie Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman? Well, this book is like that movie (which is also a book by Alice Hoffman, but I haven’t read it). It’s a mix of fun, witchiness, and a little bit of scary. I really like Amy. The opening chapters have her running around in her underwear chasing a cow—she’s a hoot! That boy is one sexy cowboy, and I think more authors should write books that combine paranormalcy and cowboys because it’s a tantalizing mix. Other than Amy and her cowboy, I found the cast of young characters lacking, well, characterization. Phin’s a little dry and the young men and women on the dig team, who come to the town and get embroiled in the ghost hunt, are forgettable. However, Amy and Ben make up for the others’ lack of characterization with flying sexual tension, and the older side characters, like Uncle Burt (ghost) and Grandpa McCulloch (old coot), are wonderful.
That cover is YA commercializing at its best. The red, messy hair! The green, sleepy eye! Imagine that girl, minus the creepy, and add a little more sass, and you have Amy. I highly recommend this book to YA readers because Texas Gothic is authentic, paranormal, readable YA. Read if you’re a Meg Cabot or Richelle Mead fan. If you’d prefer to read something a little more ambitious with a similar set up of witches and sisterly affection, try Chime by Franny Billingsley. That book actually is a gothic.
Yay for fun, engaging reads! 4 out of 5 Figment Reese’s Pieces.
If Axie were a book, she would be a young adult one featuring a kick-butt heroine in a fantastical setting, or maybe a middle-grade one about a boy coming-of-age (even though she is a 21 year old female). She likes to eat, watch shows (reality t.v., Korean dramas, and anime), read, read, read, sleep, and then dream (in that order). You probably can’t find her lolling about online, since her online presence is sorely lacking, but she is very friendly and would speak to you if you spoke to her.