The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, Book 1

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Teen girl helps lingering spirits in chilling horror tale.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about how intelligence and research help problem-solving; the value of being honest with your parents; balancing instincts and trust; accepting responsibility; overcoming fears.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sunshine's a smart, curious girl who's very sensitive and incredibly empathic toward others. Mom Kat is engaged, present, and hardworking. Friend Nolan is respectful, supportive, forgiving, and intellectually curious. 


Haunted house produces a number of high-suspense experiences that are graphically described/felt. A woman and daughter overhear violent splashing, screaming, and pleading in a locked bathroom, as if a child were being drowned. Woman cuts her wrist and bleeds, then cuts her daughter's finger. A woman slams a boy's head onto a sink, knocking him unconscious. A girl slashes a woman's leg with a knife, then burns her with fireworks. A few near-death experiences.


Light flirting among teenage boys and girls; descriptions of attraction to boys or stirrings of lust; a girl texts that a boy put his hand on her thigh; a girl laments never having been kissed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

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There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 14 years old Written byGabby Gronk May 29, 2017


I think this book will keep you interested and on the edge of your seat. You might even be able to relate to Sunshine through out the story. You will get to kno... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old December 17, 2016


I put 10+ because it gets creepy at parts and some kids just can't deal with that.

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and ghost stories

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