Book Review: Ghosts of Coronado Bay

Ghosts of Coronado Bay Book Cover Ghosts of Coronado Bay
A Maya Blair Mystery
JG Faherty
June 10, 2011

2011 HWA Bram Stoker finalist for superior achievement in Young Adult fiction.

By all accounts, 16-year-old Maya Blair is a typical teen-age high school student. She hangs out with her best friend Lucy, has a turbulent relationship with her ex-boyfriend Stuart, and works at her family's diner - the main restaurant on the island of Coronado Bay.

But Maya has an extraordinary secret - she can see, hear, and talk to ghosts. And when spirits are near her they revert back to solid form. She is what her deceased grandmother Elsa calls a Seer.

For years, Elsa was the only ghost Maya knew. But that changes when the century-old wreckage of the Black Lady, a ship that capsized in Coronado Bay's waters, is raised from the ocean floor and placed on display in the local museum. During a school tour of the Black Lady exhibit, Maya meets Blake Hennessy, a young, fair-skinned boy to whom she is instantly attracted. Shortly thereafter, a sensual, gothic young man named Gavin Hamlin crosses her path, and she is equally smitten. Her feelings bloom before she realizes they are both ghosts - Blake, the kind-hearted spirit who cares for Maya's well being, and Gavin, the dark wizard who thirsts to finish the evil task he longed to complete 100 years before.

To accomplish his nefarious plan, Gavin has to be human again. And for that, he needs the blood of a virgin witch. In his mind, Maya is the perfect candidate. Now it's up to Maya, Lucy, and Blake to save Coronado Bay and the world from destruction. But time is running out, people are dying, and Gavin's powers are growing.

Things were so much simpler when all she had to worry about was a date for the dance.

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This is a review of the Kindle version of the book. I’ve enjoyed JG Faherty’s style for a while, having found him in a few of the short story markets I follow.

I enjoyed the premise of the story, akin to The Sixth Sense coupled with a character who has personality, flaws and the ability to make ghosts corporeal. It’s 52,000 words, but it reads so smoothly it “feels” shorter. I don’t think the cover artwork is up to the story, but JG’s name got me past that cliché.

Overall, the main characters are well crafted. Maya isn’t a perfect princess, something that has been creeping into more and more YA novels. Because she has flaws, JG can bring her to life in a realistic way. Her best friend, Lucy, tends to steal the scene with her matter-of-fact attitude. They both play well off each other. The other central characters are also drawn well, each with their own little quirks. Something I’ve seen listed as a negative is Maya’s parents getting pushed to the background with their character development. I see it as a plus, similar to how adults are portrayed on Charles M. Schultz’s Peanuts strip (in the cartoons, parents sound like a trombone, just like in real life if you go by the way my kids listen to me!)

The storyline has several creepy moments, and the mystery builds layer by layer. If you’re looking for an enjoyable story you can read in a single evening, you’ll enjoy visiting Coronado Bay.

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