Title: Deception (Haunting Emma #1)
Author: Lee Nichols
Published: June 2010 by Bloomsbury
My Rating: 5 stars
Tags: YA | Romance | Paranormal | Ghosts
Includes: Sensuality, Violence, Death
First Lines: Six weeks ago, my parents disappeared. I'd left them at the San Fransisco airport at seven in the evening, nervous and excited.
Emma Vaile is abandoned by her parents after they leave on a mysterious business trip. Since she can't live alone being underage, her brother's former roommate (not to mention completely attractive and rich), is assigned as her guardian. Bennett lives in a mansion in New England, and Emma immediately swoons over him. After arriving, Emma enrolls at Thatcher Academy, makes some friends, and catches the eye of Coby, a popular guy at the school. Life is pretty good for awhile, until Emma begins to see strange things and experience memories that aren't hers. Just when she thinks that she's going crazy, Bennett reveals a family secret to her that will completely change the life that she knows and put everyone in danger.
This was such an addicting page-turner and I'm so glad that I didn't just leave it sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust. The author created such a believable world, even though the genre of the novel is paranormal. Emma's character had depth; she was courageous, curious, striving to get Bennett's attention like any other teenage girl would. It was so interesting to see her grow into a mature person and fight back when the need arose. Another awesome thing about this book? The romance! Coby is such a sweet guy...he's popular, attractive, a football player who all the girls worship, and he chose Emma since she first arrived at the school. However, then there is the sexy, college-aged, and mysterious Bennett whom Emma longs to be with. He's the one she truly is in love with, but he's gone so often and has so many secrets...
I never once was bored while reading this book. As soon as it would start to drag a bit, something exciting immediately happened and would keep me tearing through the pages to find out more. Like I said earlier, the author created such a believable world full of ghostkeepers. She actually answered many of my questions, which most first novels in a series don't do. But of course, after that cliffhanger ending, a whole new set of questions came pouring into my mind! Nichols thought up creative rules for the ghostkeeping world and stuck with them throughout the novel. I'm kind of surprised that ghostkeepers don't really exist because she put so much thought into their creation that it seemed realistic and a normal part of life, as strange as that sounds.
I don't want to spoil the many surprises in this book, but I'll just say that I never knew what would happen next. The book kept up my interest the entire time and I'm dying to read the sequel. The author's writing was beautiful and vivid. Even by the first chapter, all five senses were described and I felt like I was actually in Emma's shoes. This was a unique, one-of-a-kind novel and I know it's going to be a new favorite series of mine.
Cover Thoughts: I really like how it ties into the story of the book. Emma has short blonde hair, and I'm glad that they chose a model that fits that description. It looks a little dark and mysterious, just like the novel is. Overall, I really like the cover.