Wraith by Angel Lawson is a Young Adult paranormal novel. I was happy to note that it is Book One of a series; I have not had good experiences when I jumped into the middle of a series. The mobi edition has an intriguing cover which immediately catches the eye. The next attractive feature that appears immediately is the author’s writing style. The protagonist, Jane takes the reader into the middle of chapter three before we find out that the main protagonist and narrator is named Jane. Before a reader receives this knowledge, we have already met Evan, a ghost, Conner, a mysterious “bad boy,” Ava, Jane’s best friend, her parents, and several of Jane’s teachers. I am occasionally annoyed when the identity of the main character is not given early. Information is presented in such an interesting way throughout the first three chapters, I didn’t notice the lack of a name for the main character.
Jane had a rough time fitting into her new school. Soon after registering for a class, several classmates observed her having animated conversations with her best friend, Evan. Because none of her classmates could see him (Evan was a ghost) classmates shunned Jane and she was referred for counseling and mental help. She was still able to attend class but she ate alone in the cafeteria. A “new” guy showed up in an art class Jane was taking. He seemed a bit older than other guys in the class, was aloof and ruggedly handsome and stared a lot at Jane, at least that was what Jane thought. In fact, Connor was not staring at Jane but at Evan. Connor was the only one except for Jane who could see Evan the ghost. And Connor was not a “new” guy; he had just been gone for a few months in a boot camp, a form of juvenile detention. Confined for committing a crime, he committed the crime because he had been seeking, and trying to destroy ghosts.
Jane and Connor did not hit it off. Readers expect they will develop a romantic relationship but with the progress detailed in this story, such an outcome is in doubt. Jane does not want to admit the existence of Evan because she does not want to appear crazy. Connor does not want to admit his past experiences because he does not want to appear crazy. This tension will play out throughout the story. Initially, Connor is more interested in Evan than Jane. Connor knows from experience that ghosts only appear to a human if the ghost needs help. The ghosts are trapped in a world between death and a final destination. The help will cost the human something unspecified but possibly painful for the human. Once Connor sees Evan, he wants to warn Jane. His attempts to get Jane to accept help from him and to acknowledge that her best friend Evan is using her for his own purposes generates Jane’s resentment towards Connor. It doesn’t look like there is a chance for a romantic relationship between Connor and Jane.
Readers are omniscient. We know that no matter how friendly Evan appears, Jane will have to pay a price. Readers are optimistic and hopeful. We want a good relationship to develop between Connor and Jane. Her best friend is a ghost, Evan. If Connor and Jane fall in love, will Evan be jealous? Will mainstream society, the part that does not believe in ghosts, ever accept Connor and Jane? Why did Connor go to boot camp and miss so much school? And how often must Connor shave each day? The reader may not care about this last question but it is one that comes up a lot.
I assigned this novel four plus Amazon stars because of the author’s writing style. YA is not a genre I follow but writing of this caliber will lead me to download more Angel Lawson novels.