Sunday, August 2, 2009

Review: Nothing But Ghosts

Summary: Ever since her mother passed away, Katie's been alone in her too-big house with her genius dad, who restores old paintings for a living. Katie takes a summer job at a garden estate, where, with the help of two brothers and a glamorous librarian, she soon becomes embroiled in decoding a mystery. There are secrets and shadows at the heart of Nothing but Ghosts: symbols hidden in a time-darkened painting, and surprises behind a locked bedroom door. But most of all, this is a love story—the story of a girl who learns about love while also learning to live with her own ghosts.

This is a heartfelt, lyrical tale from the National Book Award-nominated author of Undercover and House of Dance. -- Harper Teen

I owe My Friend Amy a huge thanks for bringing NOTHING BUT GHOSTS by Beth Kephart to my attention. As many of you know, she started a book drive for NOTHING BUT GHOSTS a few weeks ago and encouraged all of us to buy a copy. I am so glad that she coordinated this entire effort because I might not have ever read this marvelous book otherwise. So to Amy -- THANK YOU! I absolutely loved this novel!

There are so many wonderful things to say about NOTHING BUT GHOSTS, but I think Ms. Kephart's writing is truly stellar and it is what makes this book extra-special. I have not read any of Ms. Kephart's other books, but if they are anything like this one, I certainly plan to in the very near future. As much as I appreciated her writing style, I wasn't totally surprised by how beautiful and honest her writing is because I am a regular follower of her blog. Although I must say that reading an entire novel was a different kind of treat for me. I am just so grateful that I could spend an entire afternoon reading this book and appreciating Ms. Kephart's gorgeous prose.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about NOTHING BUT GHOSTS were the characters that Ms. Kephart created in this story, especially Katie. I absolutely loved Katie's voice and found her to be such a very real young woman. My heart absolutely went out to Katie because she lost her mom at a time when she needed her the most -- those difficult teen years. I also found it incredibly painful to see that she isolated herself from her best friends as part of her grieving process. As I read this novel, I desperately wanted Katie to find some happiness in her life. I so wanted her to be able to come to some kind of understanding about her mother's death (and even her mother's life.)

I also really liked how there was an almost mystery aspect to this novel. While Katie's father was trying to unravel the meaning behind a painting that he was working on, Katie was attempting to figure out the mystery behind a reclusive woman. With the help of a very hip librarian (whom I absolutely loved) and Katie's co-worker and potential boyfriend, Katie eventually figures out the secrets behind the mysterious woman. As Katie learns the painful truth about this woman's life, she also discovers valuable things about herself and the ghosts in her life.

I just can't express how terrific NOTHING BUT GHOSTS is. I think if you have ever dealt with loss on any level, then you will appreciate this story. Ms. Kephart's writing is just amazing, and there is also no doubt in my mind that you will fall in love with Katie and the other characters in this story. It truly is one of my favorite reads this year!

It just so happens that my on-line book club is also reading this book, and we are talking about it later on today. So far, I think every one of us has enjoyed the book; and I can't wait to participate in the discussion. I'm pretty sure that NOTHING BUT GHOSTS will touch every reader, but I have a feeling that there might be different parts of the story that make an impression on each of us. There are some great themes to delve into including love, loss, grief and hope; and I know that we will have plenty to discuss. As a little aside, I have to admit that I am also very curious to hear what everyone thinks is the symbolism behind the finch and the color yellow.

15 comments:

Beth F said...

Excellent review. I also loved the image of the flowers leading one to safety, marking the safe path through the waters....

Can't wait for book club.

bermudaonion said...

I loved this book, too. I wanted to take Katie in my arms and give her a big hug. I was surprised at the depth to the book and can't wait to read another one of Beth Kephart's books.

Beth Kephart said...

Gosh, Booking Mama.

Thank you so much. I just this moment discovered your gift to me. I will link it to my blog this afternoon.

Deep appreciation.

b

Kelly said...

Wonderful review! This book certainly has to be added to the pile!

Amy said...

yay! so glad you loved it!
I know what you mean about it being a treat to read a whole novel by Beth as opposed to just a few blog posts. ;)

Lenore said...

Beautiful review. It brings me back to the lovely time I had reading it myself.

ANovelMenagerie said...

WOW! OK... it's on the wish list. You convinced me!

Sheri

Beth Kephart said...

Nope. Nope. Nope.

I insist.

You made MY day.

:)

b

Meghan said...

Great review, Julie! As you know now, I loved this too! You definitely picked out some of my favorite things about it. I can't wait to read more of Beth's books.

Serena said...

great review. I think this is another book I need to consider next time I'm in the bookstore.

S. Krishna said...

I really enjoyed this book as well (as you know). Nice review!

Doret said...

Great review. I could feel how much you loved Nothing But Ghost. You must read Kephart's House of Dance, another book to love

Diane said...

I've been seeing this title around a lot. I now have it added to my list; thanks

Anna said...

I've heard nothing but good things about this book. I'll definitely keep it in mind.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

carolsnotebook said...

This book sounds beautiful. I can't wait to read it.