A Certain Slant of Light

A Certain Slant of Light - Laura Whitcomb Laura Whitcomb's "A Certain Slant of Light" is not a story that everyone will appreciate or love. I'm surprised that a story like this is marketed in YA, because the appeal doesn't seem like it's trying to reach that audience. It's like its sitting on the fence edge of being a bit mature for YA but not enough expansion or depth to be Adult (which it well could've been if the story were allowed progressive development and more character vetting - especially on the parts of the hosts).The novel recounts the story of a wandering spirit named Helen who finds love with a spirit, James, inhabiting the body of a high school student. The first part of the novel is a immersing and poetic portrayal of the dynamic and camaraderie of these two spirits, and how James came to inhabit his host body. The story later develops into what is a very interesting premise - Helen finds a body to inhabit and finds herself adjusting to learn the life of her host, while maintaining a physical and emotional relationship with James in his host body. Yet as specific events come to pass, Helen and James realize they must come to terms with why they haven't moved on in the afterlife, while also recognizing why their hosts' spirits have fled their bodies. It's an interesting play on characterization, and if it managed to stay consistent and realistic, this could've been a brilliant novel. Unfortunately, that's not always the case because of many glaring caveats.One, I'm going to say plain and simple that this novel's marketed to the wrong demographic. I don't say that because of the novel's content (which contains some crude language and sensuality), but rather because many of the themes and matters in this book seem more adult. Another caveat, some of the problems outlined in the lives of the teenage hosts progress too quickly and with too haphazard of a portrayal to really make the reader feel connected with them. I connected to the chemistry between James and Helen for certain, and even found that their unresolved issues worth merit. However, the pacing of the latter part novel really doesn't do it justice. There really needed to be more intimacy and intricateness for the ambitions this novel presented. I think it would've been more believable and had more of a chance in its presentation if it had. Also, I think there are some potential issues it raises in the relationships between the characters (e.g. Billy and Jennifer, the hosts), that may strike the reader as controversial.I loved the prose, I loved the uniqueness of the story and I even liked the ending, but the pacing and handling doesn't allow for this novel to shine as much as its potential.For what it's worth, if you're looking for a ghost love story in basic spurts, it's a sweet one, especially in James and Helen's relations. I just wish it could've amounted to even more.Overall score: 3/5