Sunday, December 4, 2011

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Publisher: Random House
Age: Young Adult
Species: Human/ Ghost/ Exceptional Human*
Rating: 4/5
Interest: Nice Title/ Recommended
Source: Library Book

Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

One scene sticks out in my mind when I think about Texas Gothic: it involves underwear, a cow, a mini-cooper, a cowboy and chasing goats. It will undoubtedly go down in my mind as one of, if not the single best boy meets girl scene I have ever read. The scene simply caught me completely off guard and was totally not anything I was expecting. It made me want to change the book on a fundamental level. Instead of being "cooky Goodnights finally get the ghost" I would have liked "Amy and Ben star in a country romantic comedy" just fine. In a way, Texas Gothic was a mix of both those ideas, but I would have preferred more romance than there was.

I may have grown up in Florida, but I have relatives in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. I spent 3 years on the back of a horse learning how to ride western. I may not officially be a "Southerner" but I find immense comfort in southern places, southern drawls, southern food and southern attitude. Reading Texas Gothic was a little bit like seeing an old picture of yourself that you completely forgot you owned, but still love. I don't know how to explain it, I just felt nostalgic. That being said, it wasn't all "Howdy y'all, which hitchin' post can a tie your horse to?" There wasn't a huge southern vibe, just enough to make me feel comfortable.

Amy was a strong, independent, fiery girl... when she was with Ben. Her personality would sort of fade into the background and become more calming if she wasn't around him. She had the best banter, the fiercest attitude and courage when she was around the romantic lead, which isn't a bad thing. I simply wished that could have been showcased more when Ben wasn't around. Speaking of, for all their interaction and teasing, Ben and Amy sort of fizzled for me as a couple. I loved all of the challenge and hot headed-ness they had when they weren't together. Their "hook-up", split and reunion all happened a little too quickly for me to really appreciate them as a couple, hence the reason I almost wished the book had turned into a romantic comedy.

Strangely enough, I really liked all of the side characters in Texas Gothic. I loved Phin, even more than Amy, I think seeing more of her and Marco would have been great. The girl's cousin Daisy really intrigued me too, to the point where I wanted a sequel or spin off about her. I mean a sixteen year old Lolita-goth psychic helping the police withe murder investigations? There is totally a story there.

Ben was your average gentleman cowboy, when he wasn't around Amy that is. Once again, I found myself wanting to see more of a character than was revealed. I mean, he gave up on a very good college education after his father died and his grandfather got Alzheimer's in order to help his mother. I want to know what kind of will and mind set goes into a decision like that. I wanted to know so much more about him.

While the ghost-story side of the novel started out promising, beginning with a sufficiently creepy appearance, as time went on, it felt more like a grown up version of Scooby Doo. Ben's persistent disbelief in ghosts bothered me, since he would start to believe for a second and then completely reject the entire idea of the supernatural. As a side note, I would have preferred to have seen more about the La Llorona incident that forced Amy to give up her ghost hunting gear. The few glimpses I got of the story were very interesting.

Overall, Texas Gothic was an adventurous, action filled dip into ghost-hunting on a ranch. Some parts of the novel did fall a little flat for me, but the novel as a whole was still thoroughly enjoyable. I just wished it was about 300 pages longer with more character development and history. (And that's saying something since that was already a pretty long book.) I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes the south, fiery and smart girls, humor and a little bit of ghost hunting on the side.

Teaser Line: "That was easy for him to say when his cell phone was rounding third base. If anyone got a home run tonight, I didn't want it to be Verizon Wireless."

Happy Reading, 

1 comment:

  1. Texas Gothic is filled with charming quirkiness, and great writing. What's there not to like with a cute cranky cowboy, tree climbing Houdini goats, Go Go Gadget Gidget girl, rump scratching cows, and a love story like a prize fight.


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