Notes from Ghost Town

Notes from Ghost Town - Kate Ellison

When I finished this book, I had all sorts of things to say, but my boyfriend was using the computer monitor all day and I didn't feel like using my phone to type a whole review so I decided to wait and now I can't really remember what I wanted to say. I should have at least taken some notes or something. Here's what I can remember:


At the start of the book, 16-year-old Olivia realizes she is in love with her best friend Stern. They kiss once, then Stern rushes off because he's worried it was a mistake. Olivia heads off to art school and doesn't return until months later, after Stern is murdered. Of course, Olivia is devastated, and the whole situation is made worse by the fact that her own mother is accused of the crime. Her mother suffers from schizophrenia, which is genetic, and Olivia is terrified that she will inherit the illness because she went mysteriously colorblind after her kiss with Stern, and especially because Stern's ghost visits her with a message: her mother is not the killer.


The story really picks up here, with Olivia trying to prove to herself that she is not crazy by searching for evidence of her mother's innocence. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Stern's death even though I found it to be a bit predictable - I guessed who the real murderer was almost as soon as he/she was introduced, but not the motive. Even though I'd had it half-figured out, I think the ending was a bit too abrupt, like Olivia spent all this time trying to figure everything out and then BAM! Problem solved.


One thing I thought was odd is that Olivia, as the narrator, was constantly describing the way things smelled. Walking up to someone's house, she smelled sweet acacia. One of her friends smelled like plum and sandalwood. On her way to a party she smelled plumeria and the ocean. It happened so often, I started to wonder if it was there for a specific reason. Was the author trying to show how Olivia's senses changed to compensate after she went colorblind? Could Olivia pick up on the scent of sweet acacia easier now that all she could see were shades of gray, or was she always that good with her nose? Her mother smelled of plumeria, so I feel like it would make sense for Olivia to pick up on that scent and mention it, but other than that, the frequent scent descriptions just seemed strange.