Ghost Ride by Marina Cohen
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Pub. Date: October 30th, 2009
Age Level: 12+
Synopsis via GoodReads
Fourteen-year-old Sam McLean is less than thrilled with the prospect of moving to a collection of old mansions on the northern fringe of a small town called Ringwood. A nobody at his old school, Sam is desperate to be accepted by the cool kids and latches on to Cody Barns, aka Maniac. Cody's claim to fame is performing wild stunts - the crazier the better - and posting them on his blog.
When Sam reluctantly joins Cody and his sidekick, Javon, on their midnight ghost riding, a practice in which the driver and passenger climb onto the hood of their moving car and dance, something goes terribly wrong. Cody convinces Sam to flee the scene, leaving Javon for dead. But soon, mysterious messages appear on Cody's blog and anonymous notes are slid into Sam's locker. As Sam struggles with his conscience, a haunting question remains: Who else knows the truth?
Haunting. Spine-chilling. Genius. These are the words I would use to describe Marina Cohen's imaginatively suspense filled YA novel, Ghost Ride.
Sam McLean is your average fourteen-year-old kid; he is furious at having been uprooted from his home and friends, forced to live in a creepy house in the middle of nowhere. As a kid who knows what it is like not to have friends, he is desperate to fit in. I felt I could relate to Sam and his need to belong somewhere, even if it meant hanging out with people you normally would know better than to be around. However, I grew up and got past that while Sam is still relatively young so I kept thinking in my mind, "No, Sam, don't. You'll regret it later." I did understand though and I think Marina did a great job of realistically portraying Sam; he ended up being a really great character, very well developed. Well as for the other characters, it is kind of hard to talk about them without giving too much away. I ended up liking AJ and wish she had been in the book a touch more. Then there was Cody, aka Maniac, and Javon which, no surprise here, I didn't like one darn bit. However, they were well written and still good characters. This book just wouldn't have been what it was without them. Oh and I can't forget Walter who was just straight up weird.
Honestly, when I first picked up Ghost Ride, I really wasn't expecting the eerieness and edge-of-your-seat suspense that this story provided. The premise sounded like something that I'd enjoy but I didn't really read any reviews on it beforehand so I was in for quite the surprise. Ghost Ride is a sort of twisted, modernized version of Sleepy Hollow; this is something else I didn't realize until I had started reading. I actually really loved this about the book. The story itself was very unique and brilliantly plotted and paced. Ghost Ride is the first book in a very long time that I've actually read in only one sitting; yeah, it was THAT good! There was only one small thing that I had figured out from early on but I was pretty much in the dark with everything else.
Cohen's writing was beautifully done; it almost had a poetic quality about it and she did a great job of maintaining that haunting feeling throughout the book through her writing style. Also, and I never thought I'd say this, but I actually loved that this book was told in third person. It produced a kind of seperation that I needed to view things from an unbiased perspective, something this book really required, and yet it still allowed me to form a connection with the main character, Sam.
At first I was afraid all my questions wouldn't be answered and I had to keep reminding myself to relax and that the book wasn't over yet. The ending absolutely blew me away. There were some things that I was kind of starting to guess by this point and yet I was still shocked and left with goosebumps. Thankfully, all my questions were answered.
In the end, Ghost Ride was an intensely creepy, thrilling, and enthralling read that I just could not put down. Cohen truly did a wonderful job writing this book and I can't wait to read more of her work. It is a new personal favorite of mine and I really look forward to reading it again in the furture. I would recommend this book to, well, about anyone really; I think this would especially appeal to those reluctant male readers. If you don't read Ghost Ride I'll have no other choice but to send the Headless Horseman after you. *laughs maniacally* Seriously though, this book hasn't gotten near the attention it deserves and I feel priveledged to be one of those lucky few out there to realize just how awesome this book is. Isn't that something you, as a reader, would want to be a part of?
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Friday, September 3, 2010
Ghost Ride by Marina Cohen
Posted by ~The Book Pixie at 9/03/2010 08:43:00 AM