Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: One Hundred Candles

One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight - Book 2) by Mara Purnhagen

Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: YA
ISBN-13: 9780373210237

(Received for review from Net Galley)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Mara Purnhagen on the WEB: Website, Facebook

Synopsis (Barnes & Noble):

It's taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I'm settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it's not as if Noah is anything more than a friend...

But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my new friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I've opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.


One Hundred Candles is the second book in the Past Midnight series by Mara Purnhagen. The author's ability to write from a teen perspective, with all it's angst and worries is one of the things that sets this book apart. Purnhagen has created a novel that centers around the paranormal world, but without it's the normal fare of werewolves and vampires. Readers will find this series a refreshing change.

Charlotte Silver is a typical teenage girl, with all the normal trappings of high school, boys and friends. Her family on the other hand has a very interesting job. They are paranormal investigators, who travel around the country trying to prove that most paranormal happenings can be explained logically without the help of the supernatural. They do experience some real paranormal activity especially when they go to inspect an insane asylum in Cleveland and one of their assistants is possessed by a supernatural being known as the Watcher.

Charlotte continues to try to live a normal life and become accepted. She decides to go on a date with Harris, a popular football player and ends up playing a game called, One Hundred Candles. The game seems harmless, like telling a bunch of ghost stories, but it gets a little creepy when these ghosts start showing up at school. With her parents fighting all the time and on the verge of divorce and the paranormal world closing in, Charlotte's dreams of a normal life start to seem impossible.

This was an interesting book. I have only recently started to read YA and most of the books I have read were paranormal titles. The big bent in YA right now is of course werewolves, vampires and the fairy world, so I was excited with this one because it was about something different, ghosts. I have always liked a good ghost story, but this book has a lot more to offer the reader than just a few ghosts.

The overall premise of the book was engaging and the plot moved at a good pace. Having read the first book in the series, I could see a lot of growth in this second book. Charlotte, the main character has really matured a lot and is seeing life from a much different point of view. One Hundred Candles has less ghostly happenings in it, but it delves more into the characters and who they are. I felt like I really got to know Charlotte and her family a lot better. Charlotte being a typical teen has a lot going on in her life with school and boys, but her home life is deteriorating right before her eyes. Her parents constant bickering has started to affect everyone around them and it's interesting to see how Charlotte handles this.

One of the things that I really like about Charlotte's character is that she is real girl. She isn't a werewolf, she isn't a vampire, she has no special abilities, just an uncanny ability to figure out paranormal mysteries. She uses her own wit and smarts to get through whatever comes her way. She has spunk and determination and those are some really good traits in a good heroine. I think that readers will really be able to identify with Charlotte as she comes of age in this novel and learns a lot about herself.

The supporting cast was much better developed in this book and you really got to see what was causing them to do what they did. There motivations and emotions were explored a lot a more and they really began to come alive to me. In the last book the author seemed to be more focused on the main character and left out those little details a reader needs to get comfortable with the people in the main characters life. I think she really got it, with this second book and I look forward to seeing what happens to them next.

One Hundred Candles is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out 5 apples from my book bag! This series is progressing very well.

Mara Purnhagen cannot live without a tall caramel latte, her iPod or a stack of books on her nightstand. She has live in Aurora, Illinois; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Dayton, Ohio; and Duncan, South Carolina. She currently lives outside Cleveland, Ohio, with her family, two cats and a well-meaning ghost that likes to open the kitchen windows. She is the writer of several Young Adult novels.

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