Book Review: The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen (Katherine Howe)
* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *
Publisher: One World Publications
Release Date: April 7th 2016
Summary (from Goodreads):
It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.
As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose petal lips and her entrancing glow. But there’s something about her that he can’t put his finger on that makes him wonder about this intriguing hipster girl from the Village. Why does she use such strange slang? Why does she always seem so reserved and distant? And, most importantly, why does he only seem to run into her on one block near the Bowery? Annie’s hiding something, a dark secret from her past that may be the answer to all of Wes’s questions . . .
This was a perfectly haunting story, a ghost story that doesn’t ever say the word ‘ghost’ and one that I’d definitely recommend to people who enjoyed ghost stories from Susan Hill and Juno Dawson.
The annoying thing about this book is it’s hard to review without being spoilery, and I really wouldn’t want to ruin it for anyone. So this may be a bit of a short and vague review, but rest assured that I really enjoyed it and you probably will too.
The book is split into three parts. The first is where we meet Wes, a film student who’s helping his friend Tyler film a seance for an art film. I related to the two boys really well, having had a lot of film maker friends at university. It felt good to be in their world of cameras and showcases and late night edits. At the seance, Wes meets two mysterious girls: the titular Annie, and grungy but friendly Maddie. While Maddie happily lets Wes take her out for pizza and drinks, Annie is harder to get hold of, coming and going as she pleases and often ditching Wes completely, until she shows up suddenly in his bedroom one night.
In the second part, we see what Annie has been doing in between her comings and goings in Wes’ life. And the third part sees them both reunited as they try and solve the mystery of Annie’s missing cameo (a kind of ring). I won’t say too much about these bits, as that way spoilers lie!
I really enjoyed the mystery elements to the book, and while I sussed out one key thing pretty early on, there were plenty of other surprises that kept me on my toes, right until the end. Annie’s section was the bit that really got to me: it’s haunting and scary and the idea of being stuck in her situation is something that really unnerves me. The romance was quite prominent in the book, with Wes developing feelings for both girls in different ways, but I didn’t feel like the plot revolved around it too much: it was more about the mystery than anything.
This was a really face paced and fascinating book, filled with suspense and secrets, and is perfect for anyone looking for a modern ghost story.