A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb is my favorite ghost story of all time. It is one of those books I go back to again and again, and it never disappoints. I find it achingly beautiful. If you are looking for a haunting tale with real depth and soul, this is it.
Helen has haunted a long line of artists and writers, an unnoticed muse lingering for over a hundred years. She has to cling to them because if she ever lets go, she will go back to the nothingness. When the first living person to acknowledge her in over a hundred and thirty years is a student in her latest writer’s high school English class, she is frightened but intrigued. When they find a companionship beyond any they ever dreamed possible, they develop a plan that will allow them to be together in more than just spirit, a plan that could set them free or doom them to a future they could never foresee. Beautifully written and carefully plotted, this ghost story haunted me long after I turned the last page. While this is considered YA, Helen is a character with a maturity that will speak to adult readers. The prose and meaningful themes transcend age as well. This isn’t a horror book. The grim realities the characters endure are more upsetting than frightening, but they resonate in their terrifying reality. The ending is especially cathartic and hopeful in a way I never would have predicted. Language and situations are appropriate for high school, but there are some mature themes.
This book is available in the MHS library if someone hasn’t stolen it. I admit it is one worth stealing.