A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Paige McKenzie's The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is a paranormal horror-fantasy, based on her popular Web series of the same name, about an adopted teen girl named Sunshine who learns to help good and bad spirits pass over. Raised by a single mother, Sunshine's an empathic, intellectually curious character who must come to grips with her purpose on earth and encounters a lot of creepiness along the way. Amid the complications of surviving in a new city, making friends, and turning 16, there's high suspense, graphic descriptions of injuries, bloodshed, and demonic possession, frank discussions of life and death, and discussions and descriptions of a 10-year-old girl being drowned. Best for very mature kids or teens with an appetite for horror and fantasy.
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What's the story?
Sunshine and her mom, Kat, have just moved from sunny Austin, Texas, to gloomy Ridgemont, Washington. But Sunshine immediately sense the creepiness of her new home: extreme changes in temperature, the feeling of a distinct presence, and eventually, the voice, laughter, and footsteps of a young child who may have met a tragic fate. Soon, Kat begins acting distant and odd, and Sunshine learns that she's not a normal teenager after all but rather a special breed of person with a special gift, one she must accept before she loses her mother for good.
Is it any good?
THE HAUNTING OF SUNSHINE GIRL is a page-turner. The setting works its ominous magic, the plot moves quickly, and the horror elements possess a skilled cinematic flair befitting a good supernatural horror flick. What makes this a standout are the characters: a smart, curious, empathic female protagonist; her hardworking, sarcastic, loving single mom; and a handsome boyfriend who's respectful and impressed by Sunshine's brainpower, skills, and love of learning, researching, and figuring things out -- even when there's no good explanation for them.
There's some real fright here and lots of life and death hanging in the balance. But for teens with an appetite for horror stories, you couldn't do better than good kids with smarts, engaged parents and clever solutions to facing what it means to grow up and take on more responsibility.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Haunting of Sunshine Girl's success as a Web series first, then a book. Why do you think the series is so popular?
Sunshine is a strong female protagonist, but she isn't always fearless. What other contradictory traits does Sunshine possess? How does her character compare with other lead female characters in horror stories or movies? What's different about her?
What do you think of how Sunshine's single mom Kat is portrayed? Does she seem realistic or stereotypical? How does her character compare with other single moms in books and movies?
- Author: Paige McKenzie
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, High School, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Weinstein Books
- Publication date: March 24, 2015
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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