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Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead.  If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept. Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also k Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead.  If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept. Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness. But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets. In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing. Family secrets, a gorgeously resonant LGBTQ love triangle, and just the right amount of creepiness make this young adult debut a haunting and hopeful story about facing everything that haunts us in the dark.


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Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead.  If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept. Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also k Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures in this lush and eerie debut, where the boundary between reality and nightmares is as thin as the veil between the living and the dead.  If I could have a fiddle made of Daddy’s bones, I’d play it. I’d learn all the secrets he kept. Shady Grove inherited her father’s ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle, but she also knows the fiddle’s tunes bring nothing but trouble and darkness. But when her brother is accused of murder, she can’t let the dead keep their secrets. In order to clear his name, she’s going to have to make those ghosts sing. Family secrets, a gorgeously resonant LGBTQ love triangle, and just the right amount of creepiness make this young adult debut a haunting and hopeful story about facing everything that haunts us in the dark.

30 review for Ghost Wood Song

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    BLOG | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon | Waterstones Thank you Edelweiss and HarperTeen for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine. This is what evil is--not some unnatural force, not demons or devils. It's this rigth here-- a man clinging so hard to hate it's worth dying for. Worth risking the lives of his wife and his child. Worth seeing a bullet fly into his brother's brain. Worth everything. I came across Ghost Wood Song and I was soon lost. I am absolutely and easily smitten by a pretty co BLOG | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon | Waterstones Thank you Edelweiss and HarperTeen for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine. This is what evil is--not some unnatural force, not demons or devils. It's this rigth here-- a man clinging so hard to hate it's worth dying for. Worth risking the lives of his wife and his child. Worth seeing a bullet fly into his brother's brain. Worth everything. I came across Ghost Wood Song and I was soon lost. I am absolutely and easily smitten by a pretty cover, it will turn my head every single time, and this is one gorgeous cover. How could I resist finding out more about the book? But then... Wait now, this is a Gothic story with a Southern twist? Well, I'm sold. Only a few chapters into this novel, and I was hooked. At the center of this tale is Shady Grove (a name I adored from the get-go), whose father has died a few years prior; she now seeks his special fiddle after her brother gets into enough trouble to warrant her need to become involved. This fiddle, she believes, holds the answer to helping her older sibling, especially since it raised ghosts for her daddy until the day he himself passed from this world. That alone should be interesting, but what I most loved about this book—and what drew me in time and time again—was how well Erica Waters allows the reader to become lost in the haunting and rural setting. With its surrounding forests, lakes and old houses, creeping vegetation and nearby whispers, you see ghosts at every corner. It was so easy to sink into the story and follow along with Shady and her friends while she raised ghosts and fought to keep herself alive. Unfortunately, I think it's those same characters who made my love at first sight falter a few times. It's not that they're a weak cast. They're charming. Shady is smart and kind, protective and easy of manner unless you speak ill or go after someone she loves. But the rest kept mostly to the surface. It was as if, lest they were needed to make a point to the story, they were tucked away in the background. Even during scenes in which there were more than two characters present, it was not rare to notice that besides the two who were mainly in conversation, the others would be forgotten in narrative. It's not a huge detriment to the story, and alongside Shady, Frank and Jesse are intriguing because they're part of the big mystery behind everything going on. But I wanted the others to have a pull from me as well. The pacing is fast, and you don't have much time to become bored with any goings on. There were some scenes that lacked the nostalgia and eerie notes that echoed throughout, which pulled away from total immersion on and off. Don't get me wrong, not every single instance needed to be full of spirits, and cold spots, and scary footsteps in the middle of the night. Yet, now and again, the dreary atmosphere with which the novel began, would slip before catching itself right before going over completely. Once that happened, it wasn't difficult to get sucked back in. Ghost Wood Song is a charming story despite the sadness of its premise. The family bond portrayed is strong, and hopeful—it's inspiring. There are a few darkly atmospheric moments that are no less meaningful for being expected, and the inclusion of music added a layer that was as gripping as I expected it to be. It certainly prompted me to learn some new music that I likely wouldn't have come across on my own. That's always a great day: when a book offers you a novel thing to enjoy in life.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    This one had a lot of atmosphere with real grit! The dialogue was wonderful and I seriously loved the adorable romance sprinkled in! It makes me want to go buy some cowboy boots right now! Oh and also have my own ghosty violin!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell

    I don't know about you but this book reminds me of THE BONE HOUSES, and I loved THE BONE HOUSES. Anything that gives me creepy, ghosty, Tim Burtony vibes is a YES I WANT for me

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Baker

    3.5 stars Ghost Wood Song is an entertaining magical realism novel that’s an easy read, ideal for a lazy Sunday afternoon. It's not scary ghost story, in case you're wondering. I highly recommend the audiobook.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erin A. Craig

    Waters' debut is a true Southern Gothic, striking the perfect balance of atmospheric chills, dark familial secrets, and a yearning for the warm comforts of home. I could hear the cicadas' call and feel the smothering humidity, even as I shivered!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Whitten

    I absolutely loved this creepy, atmospheric, lyrical book. The characters jump off the page and the resolution is SO satisfying.

  7. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram • The Book Depository ◯ Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram • The Book Depository

  8. 5 out of 5

    Asmä

    3.5* The story was good , i just didn't care much about the characters , or the writing itself .

  9. 4 out of 5

    Madison Mary

    "I wait with the trees and the ghosts, trembling in the warm spring air, my body tuned to a frequency that only sounds like white noise, empty static to my mind. No matter how hard I listen, the silence never resolves into melody" *ARC provided on Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review* An eerie debut about a girl desperate to save her brother and a fiddle that raises ghosts. SUMMARY Shady Grove grew up in a house full of ghosts, and when her father played his fiddle he could call forth t "I wait with the trees and the ghosts, trembling in the warm spring air, my body tuned to a frequency that only sounds like white noise, empty static to my mind. No matter how hard I listen, the silence never resolves into melody" *ARC provided on Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review* An eerie debut about a girl desperate to save her brother and a fiddle that raises ghosts. SUMMARY Shady Grove grew up in a house full of ghosts, and when her father played his fiddle he could call forth these spirits. After his death, his fiddle disappeared with him, but Shady is still haunted by its sound. When Shady's brother is convicted of murder, she knows that the only way to find out what really happened is to raise the ghost of the person who died. But finding the fiddle is only one part of the difficult journey, because the fiddle's magic comes with a price and Shady may not be prepared to pay the cost. REVIEW I didn't realise that this was a magical realism novel, and was at first surprised by the modern setting. However, I found that Waters managed to seamlessly blend the magic into her contemporary novel to create a somber and spooky atmosphere. While this book wasn't a perfect five-stars, it is still a novel that I enjoyed and would recommend to others. (side note: I YouTubed what fiddle music sounded like as I read this book and it is really cool.) I really appreciated the social commentary on abusive households, grief, and sexual identity. Our main character, Shady Grove, is a bisexual cis-female. She is both in love with her female best-friend, but also falling for a boy who makes her feel loved. I though that Waters handled this love-triangle(?) beautifully, because it felt equal on both sides. I also think that the love-triangle showed Shady's growth throughout the novel and her development mentally. A large part of the novel focuses on Shady's grief. Her father passed away in a car accident a few years back, and both herself and her brother are dealing with their grief differently. The journey of Shady becoming entangled with her father's magical fiddle and slowly being sucked into the darkness it harbours shaped her story beautifully. I was intrigued by the fiddle's magic and how it drew its power. The eerie atmosphere the fiddle invoked was creepy and the ghosts were weird but interesting to learn about. I also loved the topic of friendship and love that this book brought forth. I dont want to go into too much detail here to avoid spoiling parts of the novel, but I think that Waters did a great job at showing the different personalities between all the characters and how they function better as a whole. Plus, reading about how they play their instruments and sing together felt special. When I read the synopsis about Shady's brother being convicted of murder, I was intrigued. I did not see who would die coming and thought that surprise was well executed. I had my own inklings as to who really killed that person, and I was correct but not for the reason why. There are a lot of secrets woven within this story and it makes me excited for what Waters writes next. Overall, a wonderful read that would be perfect for a stormy winter night in the woods. Trigger Warnings: Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, mental abuse, physical abuse, death of a parent, car accident

  10. 5 out of 5

    Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]

    ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! I usually begin new (especially debut) novels with high expectations, and then I’m almost inevitably disappointed (see The Nameless Queen, as one example among many). This time was sort of the opposite. I requested the ARC from Edelweiss on impulse, with no real belief it would be very good since the blurb is so vague, and it turned out to be AMAZING. Seventeen-year-old Shady Grove Crawford lives in a trailer in Florida with her mo ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! I usually begin new (especially debut) novels with high expectations, and then I’m almost inevitably disappointed (see The Nameless Queen, as one example among many). This time was sort of the opposite. I requested the ARC from Edelweiss on impulse, with no real belief it would be very good since the blurb is so vague, and it turned out to be AMAZING. Seventeen-year-old Shady Grove Crawford lives in a trailer in Florida with her mother, stepfather Jim, older brother Jesse, and younger half-sister Honey. Life has been difficult since her father William died in a car accident four years ago. Shady is haunted by rumours that her mother and Jim were having an affair, and it’s led to Jesse and Jim having an antagonistic relationship which fills the trailer with aggression. Her best friend Sarah also seems unwilling to admit that there’s sexual tension between them. They’ve formed a band together with their other best friend Orlando, and the three of them are struggling for musical recognition. Shady’s problems aren’t confined to the physical plane. Her father had a fiddle which could raise ghosts, and though it was supposedly lost with him, she can hear it playing from the woods at night – calling to her, begging her to come and take it up. She knows the fiddle is bad news and it wrecked her daddy’s life. But the music runs in her blood too, and she doesn’t think she’s strong enough to resist the fiddle’s siren call. When Jim is murdered and Jesse is blamed for it, Shady realises there’s no point in resisting the fiddle. She needs to get it back so she can call up the ghosts who’ll be able to clear Jesse’s name. Helping her is charming cowboy Cedar Smith, who’s making Shady forget about emotionally closed-off girls like Sarah. So, the thing which makes me gush about this book so much is that the writing is wonderful . Genuinely amazing. It’s evocative and lyrical without being purple, a perfect complement to the story being told. The wistfulness of Shady’s narratorial voice brilliantly calls up all the images she’s describing. The writing style also adapts itself to the demands of the plot – it gets tense at suitably dramatic moments, then relaxes back into languidity when atmosphere is taking precedence over action. The romance was pretty damn amazing too . Though there’s ostensibly a love triangle, aka Shape I Loathe, I wouldn’t really say it ever develops properly; the person Shady will pick is obvious from the beginning, and it’s apparent that she’s made the right choice. Also yes, Shady is bisexual, which added a good deal to the love triangle itself. My only nitpick would be that I’d have liked the side characters to be a little more fleshed out. I don’t mean they were flat, because they weren’t at all. In fact, I felt like I got to know them very well. But things like – what’s Cedar’s family situation like? What about Orlando’s? This is a very Shady-centric story, which isn’t a bad thing, but more details would have been appreciated. I'd also really like to have seen Shady confront her mother at some point about her past. According to Goodreads, this is the first of a series, so perhaps we’ll learn more in the sequel – though I really think this book is perfect as a standalone. Overall Only decided to read it because Shady Grove is one of my favourite songs (especially the Doc Watson version!) so I was intrigued to see a YA story about bluegrass music. Turned out to be the best book I’ve read all month. [Blog] - [Bookstagram]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    Well I'm 100% buying that cover

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katie.dorny

    An enjoyable and adequate ya gothic contemporary that had its ups and downs and couldn’t really settle on what it wanted to be. Shady grove is still reeling from her father’s death years ago when another blow befalls the family. The only thing that can save her family? Her dad’s missing magic violin that can call ghosts. This novel had more romance and very very typical ya love triangle that I wanted or expected, and which I ultimately didn’t really enjoy as its not my thing. The characters howe An enjoyable and adequate ya gothic contemporary that had its ups and downs and couldn’t really settle on what it wanted to be. Shady grove is still reeling from her father’s death years ago when another blow befalls the family. The only thing that can save her family? Her dad’s missing magic violin that can call ghosts. This novel had more romance and very very typical ya love triangle that I wanted or expected, and which I ultimately didn’t really enjoy as its not my thing. The characters however were well fleshed out and we really got a chance to see each of the friendships and relationships contained within the book. This book also wasn’t all sunshine and roses but did highlight and tackle tougher issues such as grief, death and internalised homophobia. This was okay, but boy did it take me a while to plough through.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ash Otterloo

    Ghost Wood Song manages to capture aching truths about bisexuality and growing up in a difficult family, and marries them to a sumptuous atmosphere, ghost-lore, and well-earned twists...the result is intoxicating and fabulously creepy. The author's characters are deep and complex in a way that never detracts from the pace, and I'll definitely be reaching for it to re-read in the future. All the stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Liz Lawson

    Beautiful, atmospheric, with a complex mystery driving its central plot, GHOST WOOD SONG is a must read in 2020. An absolutely fantastic debut!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Thushara (Triobookdragons)

    DNF : not the one for me Was 3 hrs into the 9 hr audiobook and still don't care. I feel sad to let this one go because this has a very good writing style and has an amazing bisexual rep. But I don't want to waste my time with a book that is clearly not my cup of tea.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay♫SingerOfStories♫

    Ghost Wood Song is an example of magical realism at its finest! What I loved about this story was the bond of music that the central characters shared, and how they take their art out into nature and then the stage and just play together. The main character, Shady, is a fiddle player and she lost her father four years ago in a car accident. Now his fiddle, which has the magic to summon ghosts, is needed to clear her brother's name of a murder, and put the family's secrets to rest once and for al Ghost Wood Song is an example of magical realism at its finest! What I loved about this story was the bond of music that the central characters shared, and how they take their art out into nature and then the stage and just play together. The main character, Shady, is a fiddle player and she lost her father four years ago in a car accident. Now his fiddle, which has the magic to summon ghosts, is needed to clear her brother's name of a murder, and put the family's secrets to rest once and for all. I wasn't sold by the cohesiveness of the story in the very beginning. Something seemed to be missing. However, I really enjoyed the writing, the representation, and the magic in the story, and I wanted to see where the music would take the characters so I am glad I stuck with it. Overall, I would call this read a 3.5 but I rounded up to a 4 because I did like the ending.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sage Knightly

    3.5/5 Huge thanks to the publisher via Edelweiss+ for the eARC! This in no way affects my review Ghost Wood Song is a story about love and loss, the stages of grief, music and ghosts, secrets, and family. It is a sibling bond so strong that old secrets are dug up and put to rest in order to save each other. It is a father and daughter relationship so pure that regardless of any misdeeds or secrets, they still care for and support each other. It is a boy wrongly accused of murder and a girl who wou 3.5/5 Huge thanks to the publisher via Edelweiss+ for the eARC! This in no way affects my review Ghost Wood Song is a story about love and loss, the stages of grief, music and ghosts, secrets, and family. It is a sibling bond so strong that old secrets are dug up and put to rest in order to save each other. It is a father and daughter relationship so pure that regardless of any misdeeds or secrets, they still care for and support each other. It is a boy wrongly accused of murder and a girl who would do anything to prove his innocence. Ghost Wood Song is all of this with a bit of romance and friendships, a girl torn between her best friend and a boy she only recently started getting to know, and another girl who wants her best friend but is so hung up on her ex and past emotional trauma that she can't stay committed to a choice. Shady Grove, or Shady as everyone calls her, lost her father four years ago and still can't get over the fact that he is gone. He was her role model, her teacher, her father, the one she looked up to the most and learnt to love music from. He taught her how to play the fiddle, showed her some secrets of the magic it holds and the ghosts it calls. Her whole family still hurts from his absence, however Jim (her father's best friend, and now her mother's lover) is there to fill the spot and provide for them. Jesse, Shady's brother, is always arguing with Jim and getting into trouble, changed into an angry and bitter young man. But everything changes for him when he is accused of murder, and despite how protective and kind he is to his sister, most people believe he really is capable of such violence. Shady is possibly the only person on his side, and despite the fact that he makes her promise not to go searching for their father's fiddle and getting answers from ghosts, Shady just can't shake off the fiddle's calls or her brother's looming guilty sentence. So no matter what she finds out about her brother, Shady will do whatever she can to prove his innocence. no matter what he lied about, no matter what he did. Like Mama said, that's what you do for family. You love them and take care of them, not because they are always good or right, but because they belong to you. The descriptions of the music are absolutely beautiful! I adore the detail in tone and atmosphere, how the player's emotions can change how the music sounds while they play. Shady used the music as a kind of therapy, to let her frustration and sadness out, to get lost in the memories of her father teaching her songs to play. She craves the music and it really shows in the writing, with how she handles her instrument with care and constantly wants to play, to hear the music she makes. Sarah used music to fill the silence, and Orlando uses it to be closer to his family. Daddy's fiddle drew ghosts like hummingbirds to nectar. Mine only reminds me of everything I'm not, everything I'll never be. However, Shady sometimes has to work through some pretty rough emotions, having to deal with not only her father being gone but also her brother most likely going to jail, not to mention that her crush and best friend Sarah can't seem to make up her mind on whether she wants to be with Shady or not. Which, I do want to point out, felt a little lackluster? I personally did not feel the attraction or chemistry between Shady and Sarah, and felt it ended too quickly? Shady mentioned many times how much it hurt her to have Sarah show interest and then either ignore her or pretend nothing happened, and then Shady is given a choice that she seems to make pretty easily (we never really got an internal or external battle of feelings to show why she chose who she did). Regardless, I like that they were still able to be friends and that we have bisexual as well as lesbian characters. But the memory crept in with the music, clawed and fanged. I close my eyes and let it rip me open. In her mission to save her brother, Shady comes across some buried secrets and long ago memories most feel are best forgotten. The author not only gives us eerie, dark secrets and scary ghosts that wish only harm, but also provides a message and reassurance, that so long as we face things head on and get it out of our system, things won't be so bad; it will be a little easier to deal with. All this family ever does is bury its secrets, and yet they keep climbing out of the dirt and sneaking up on us. Maybe if we just dig them up and face them, they can't hurt us all so much. Maybe if we speak them out loud, they won't have so much power over us. Overall, I really liked this! It was atmospheric and eerie at times, full of so many good lessons and strong family/friendship bonds. I do recommend giving this one a try if you enjoy reading about ghosts, family bonds, and light murder mystery (I say light because it was mainly focused on ghosts and getting information from them rather than investigating people and their motives). Please be advised that these quotes are taken from an ARC and may not be in the published copy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    In the top ten of 2020? HELL YEAH ~ frickin' loved this

  19. 4 out of 5

    craftykatreads

    This book was very atmospheric and had very creepy, ghosty vibes. I really struggled to put it down. The characters seem to jump off the page. I absolutely loved this story and will definitely read it over and over again. I would definitely recommend this one.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for the chance to review this title. GHOST WOOD SONG is the hauntingly gay murder mystery with a fiddle that calls ghosts from the afterworld that you want to read. Like now. I requested GHOST WOOD SONG purely on the cover. It offered an atmospheric jaunt through one girl's life of love and loss. Shady lives in a trailer in Florida with her mom, older brother, step-sister, and step-dad. Life for Shady hasn't been easy since the tragic death of her father and t Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for the chance to review this title. GHOST WOOD SONG is the hauntingly gay murder mystery with a fiddle that calls ghosts from the afterworld that you want to read. Like now. I requested GHOST WOOD SONG purely on the cover. It offered an atmospheric jaunt through one girl's life of love and loss. Shady lives in a trailer in Florida with her mom, older brother, step-sister, and step-dad. Life for Shady hasn't been easy since the tragic death of her father and the fact that her father's best friend married her mom not long after. The past creeps up on them slowly but surely and when tragedy strikes, Shady turns to her father's old fiddle to solve a murder that Jesse is accused of. PLOT TWIST, the fiddle is blessed...or cursed, however, you want to look at it, and is able to summons spirits. Let's tack on some sexual tension with Shady's best friend Sarah, and a cowboy hat toting boy named Cedar and we got a recipe for some draaaaaama. What I loved most was the RAVEN BOYS type vibe I got from reading this novel. I know the synopsis recs SAWKILL GIRLS and BEAUTIFUL CREATURES but I didn't get a hint of either of those in this one. Nevertheless, it's still a fun book. The writing was amazing. Waters has a way of making her prose flow so smoothly and haunting that it doesn't feel forced or purple. The romance was sweet, but not without its troubles. Looking from afar, you could see this as a love triangle, but Shady is just getting to know who she is. As a bi girl, she's navigating her feelings like walking on hot coals. Let me state this clearly: SHADY IS BISEXUAL and whoever she ends up with is A-OK. Don't be mad, though. Overall, this was a solid debut with a plot-driven story sure to captivate audiences.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

    Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book that I got through NetGalley to review. Story (4/5): When Shady’s brother is accused of killing her stepfather, Shady is determined to prove her brother’s innocence. To do this she decides to track down her father’s missing fiddle and see if she can call her stepfather’s ghost to her. This was an engaging story with a well done murder mystery as the main driver. Shady’s ability to use her father’s cursed fiddle to call ghosts to her adds a supernatur Series Info/Source: This is a stand alone book that I got through NetGalley to review. Story (4/5): When Shady’s brother is accused of killing her stepfather, Shady is determined to prove her brother’s innocence. To do this she decides to track down her father’s missing fiddle and see if she can call her stepfather’s ghost to her. This was an engaging story with a well done murder mystery as the main driver. Shady’s ability to use her father’s cursed fiddle to call ghosts to her adds a supernatural aspect to the story. Characters (4/5): I enjoyed Shady and the characters surrounding her. They are all a bit damaged and all trying to eke out a living in poor rural Texas. The majority of the characters are trying to make the best of a non-ideal situation. While I wasn’t particularly drawn to any of them, I did enjoy reading about them...kind of like people are drawn to gape at any disaster in the making. Shady is bi-sexual and this is discussed quite a bit, there is a bit of a love triangle between Shady her best friend Sarah and a boy in another band in town. Setting (4/5): The book was set in a poor rural Texan town. The setting was fine and did drive some aspects of the story background. Writing Style (4/5): This book was well written and very easy to read. I had no issues staying engaging in the story and was curious as to how the mystery would play out up until the very end of the story. The whole story is told from Shady’s perspective. My Summary (4/5): Overall this was an easy read that was engaging and had some intriguing supernatural elements to it. The mystery really drives the story and keeps the reader engaged. I like that there was so much in here about playing music as well. While I didn’t love this, I did like it, and thought the way the supernatural aspects were tied to both music and a murder mystery was unique.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lizz DiCesare

    “I’ve lived with ghosts my whole life, but this is the first time I’ve ever felt haunted.” Every time I read a creepy book set in the woods, I think to myself, “this is it, this is the last time I read a book set in the woods!” And yet, as soon as I see another story with an eerie forest setting, I toss everything aside and run straight for it. That’s exactly what happened with Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters, and while my sleep schedule might regret it, the rest of me does not. Ghost Wood Song fo “I’ve lived with ghosts my whole life, but this is the first time I’ve ever felt haunted.” Every time I read a creepy book set in the woods, I think to myself, “this is it, this is the last time I read a book set in the woods!” And yet, as soon as I see another story with an eerie forest setting, I toss everything aside and run straight for it. That’s exactly what happened with Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters, and while my sleep schedule might regret it, the rest of me does not. Ghost Wood Song follows the story of Shady Grove, a teenage girl living in Florida who is no stranger to ghosts. The house she grew up in is haunted, and her father had the ability to communicate with the dead by playing his fiddle. Now, years after his own death, Shady finds herself searching for his fiddle so she can raise some ghosts of her own to help protect her brother, Jesse. He’s been accused of a murder, and while all evidence points to him, Shady knows he didn’t do it. Throughout the story, we see how Shady’s past and present come together. She knows the facts aren’t adding up with her brother’s case, and does whatever she can, including putting herself in very real danger, to find the truth. Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some wonderful friendships, and relationships, that develop throughout the book as well. That, paired with Shady’s love of music, added a wholesome layer to the story that was a welcome distraction from the spooky stuff that was also happening. The story blends horror with aspects of a thriller, and comes together perfectly for a YA audience. However, it’s worth noting that I, an almost 30-year old, loved this book. It’s being marketed as “Sawkill Girls meets Beautiful Creatures,” and as someone who LOVED Sawkill Girls, I can confirm that the description holds up. I think my favourite part of the book was the descriptions of the house Shady grew up in. Her Aunt Ena still lives there, and Shady often goes over to visit and brings friends along. During the day it’s not so bad, but at night, the house comes alive with those who used to live there. It reminded me so much of Hill House (the show more than the book), because there were two ghosts Shady spoke about: an old, tall man, and the girl in the ceiling (*immediately gets shivers down my spine*). Ghost Wood Song has everything I look for in a good horror book: ghosts, a haunted house, an atmospheric setting that will make your skin tingle, LGBTQ+ characters, and family secrets. If you’re a fan of any of these things, be sure to add this book to your list! Thank you to Harper Collins Canada and HCC Frenzy for sending me a digital copy of Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters in exchange for an honest review. Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters comes out on July 14, 2020, and can be purchased wherever books are sold.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    "all this family ever does is bury it's secrets, and yet they keep climbing out of the dirt and sneaking up on us." What a gorgeous, atmospheric and beautiful read. This story wraps itself around you in its melancholy melody, ringing with dark family secrets, supportive friendships and much needed acceptance/understanding. A perfect Autumn read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    This is a gripping novel about a girl that can see ghosts, and is trying to uncover old family secrets to help save her brother from a murder charge. Music plays a very heavy role in this story, so much so that when I was reading it I kept on having to stop so that I could have a bluegrass binge on spotify. Being a musician I think that this aspect drew me deeply into the book, and the characters were great to get to know.

  25. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) If I could sum up what I enjoyed in Ghost Wood Song in two elements it's got to be the spookiness and all the queerness. We love a bisexual MC with a love triangle that was crafted well. Shady begins the book griefstricken and wondering if she could change the chaos around her and get answers. But we all know sometimes answers don't bring the closure we're looking for and only more qu (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) If I could sum up what I enjoyed in Ghost Wood Song in two elements it's got to be the spookiness and all the queerness. We love a bisexual MC with a love triangle that was crafted well. Shady begins the book griefstricken and wondering if she could change the chaos around her and get answers. But we all know sometimes answers don't bring the closure we're looking for and only more questions. Or worse. Disappointment, anger, and revenge. This debut is haunting. (I know right, cue all the ghost puns now). The setting and the way Waters introduces these atmospheric elements were stunning. I had to stop reading this book before bed y'all. It was a mix of, "small town secrets and handshakes" meets "ghosts, hauntings, and power". Not to mention that Waters was able to weave music into the eerieness in a fabulous way. I LOVED the writing style! full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Inkslinger

    ARC provided by Harper Collins/HarperTeen and Erica Waters via Edelweiss+. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub "I'd never say it out loud, and even admitting it to myself gives me chills, but if I could have a fiddle made of my daddy's bones, I'd take it. I'd take it and play it and learn all the secrets he kept, all the sorrows he bore inside his breast." 07-21: 'Ghost Wood Song' by Erica Waters is a story that unfolds in one of those ARC provided by Harper Collins/HarperTeen and Erica Waters via Edelweiss+. All opinions are mine and freely given. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub "I'd never say it out loud, and even admitting it to myself gives me chills, but if I could have a fiddle made of my daddy's bones, I'd take it. I'd take it and play it and learn all the secrets he kept, all the sorrows he bore inside his breast." 07-21: 'Ghost Wood Song' by Erica Waters is a story that unfolds in one of those beautifully, unearthly atmospheric settings. Even before we start to learn about Shady Grove, the girl named after an old bluegrass song that her late father played for her growing up, the tale comes across like an eerie dreamscape. Early on, it's not even necessarily the family's ability to call ghosts to them, using a fiddle said to belong to their family for generations. As I was reading, I kept getting a sense of a dark misty thicket.. nestled somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains. And though the music they played centered around old bluegrass numbers, my mind kept conjuring images of 'Cross Road Blues' and deals that can only end badly. My thoughts were not related to the story directly, but the writer's way with the weight of words, still injected them into the feeling I got from the book. "My family history -- everything we've lost, all our ghosts and all our griefs -- those feel like the truest part of me, the beating heart of my music. Playing Sarah's way is like taking an ax to my deepest, most secret roots." Shady is a deeply complex girl, shrouded in poor, rural stereotypes. She lives in a trailer at the edges of town with her mama, her brother Jesse, little sister Honey, and her stepdad.. Jim. Her mom is the traditional type.. at home taking care of Honey or worrying about having dinner on for her husband Jim, who's the typical loud, kind of mean-spirited man of the house. Jesse is rebellious, full of anger.. especially towards their stepdad, but he's extremely protective of Shady, even though he's kind of a jerk to her sometimes too. He's carrying a lot of baggage and you can really see it on him like a second skin. It's interesting that though Waters uses the kind of stereotypes one might expect in a story like this, she doesn't rely on them. They're just a framework from which the real depth of each character grows and changes, seemingly before our eyes as we begin to see beneath the veneer. All of the characters that have any real focus in the story, are richly painted, each layer laid bare for the reader to see. There's a love triangle between Shady, her best friend Sarah, and this 'rodeo boy' as she calls him, named Cedar. Sometimes these can become too heavy for the story or too convoluted, redirecting attention that should be on the plot to what choices are going to be made, but it's just more of a soft exploration of what she really wants. Somebody steady who steps up and puts their cards all on the table.. or someone who seems to be incredibly uncertain, warm one moment and cold the next. The result is lovely and though as often happens in these cases, Shady is a little slow to commit, what I like is that at least there's an honesty about it. She's sincere and she's open about her struggle and she tries to do her best not to drag it out any longer than she has to. "I know how powerful grief is. I've felt it pound through my body like ocean waves, leaving me half-drowned." When Shady's brother is accused of murder and her family is thrown into chaos, she has to dig up long buried family secrets in an attempt to save him. She has to figure out how to ferret those secrets out of the dead. I genuinely loved this book. I absolutely fell for Shady and Cedar. I loved and hated right along side her. The secrets are deep within the roots of the family and they've grown toxic, affecting everything they touch. There are a lot of references to old bluegrass songs and poems strewn throughout the novel, effective catalysts to help nudge you in the right direction emotionally to really hear the story the author's telling. In fact, I listened to some of those songs, read some of those poems and their stories as well.. as I made my way through the carefully lined path the author offers up. If there's anything at all that I feel Waters could have done better, it's the origin of the fiddle. It's not that how it came to be isn't good enough, quite the opposite. Rather, the origin is really good.. but to equal the power of the story she's woven here, the presentation was not as impactful as it could have been. When its story is told, it's a bit more casual than I expected. It's good.. but it could have been great. This debut is not to be missed. Erica Waters is going to do amazing things in her writing career.. and you are going to want to be there to witness them. 'Ghost Wood Song' is easily one of the best reads of the year. PURCHASE LINKS: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSAMILLION | GOOGLEPLAY BOOKS | HARPER COLLINS | INDIGO | KOBO | WATERSTONES ----------- 07-19: Just began this story this morning.. around 5am before crashing for sleep.. and I'm already 70% in. lol. I am enjoying it so much..

  27. 4 out of 5

    Arina

    3.5 stars. Less agreeable aspects with this reviewer: - As someone who is not very into contemporary settings due to them focusing heavily on moments of ordinary life, sometimes my attention wandered off during the quieter, mundane moments of this book; - It focused more on romance, and the mcs doubts between her love interests, than I expected. Not my thing, but amazing bi rep here and perfect if you love delving into a character's romantic struggles. Noteworthy aspects: - Amazingly atmospheric, e 3.5 stars. Less agreeable aspects with this reviewer: - As someone who is not very into contemporary settings due to them focusing heavily on moments of ordinary life, sometimes my attention wandered off during the quieter, mundane moments of this book; - It focused more on romance, and the mcs doubts between her love interests, than I expected. Not my thing, but amazing bi rep here and perfect if you love delving into a character's romantic struggles. Noteworthy aspects: - Amazingly atmospheric, especially during the creepy parts. Heart-pounding hauntings here; - This is a fantastic read for (upcoming, yeaaah) Halloween and when you're in the mood for a eerie read; - Love how the author composed music and horror together; - The theme of family is the most present in the book, especially the discussion on abusive parents, the author worked that beautifully and broke my heart with that ending... - Not many books make me cry but this one managed to do it smoothly. The author writes grief with such passion and care that you can't help but feel it alongside the characters; - The main character is bisexual, so there's much appreciated queer rep!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Staci Vought

    3.75 stars. It took me a while to invest in this story, but it did grow on me. The family drama was intriguing and it was compelling to see how it all played out. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ghost/fiddle aspect...it lacked substance & was hard for me to buy into, although it did add a powerful element to some parts of the story. I don’t think it would have mass appeal, but I am glad I read it. 3.75 stars. It took me a while to invest in this story, but it did grow on me. The family drama was intriguing and it was compelling to see how it all played out. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ghost/fiddle aspect...it lacked substance & was hard for me to buy into, although it did add a powerful element to some parts of the story. I don’t think it would have mass appeal, but I am glad I read it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Such an excellent Southern YA Gothic, that speaks so much of my own childhood living in a small Southern town (though in Tennessee), surrounded by music. If you love music and ghosts and folksongs and mysteries, this is one to read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diana Pinguicha

    A beautiful, musical story about the power of love and grief.

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