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A Certain Slant of Light
Cover of A Certain Slant of Light
A Certain Slant of Light
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In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed...
In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed...
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  • In the class of the high school English teacher she has been haunting, Helen feels them: for the first time in 130 years, human eyes are looking at her. They belong to a boy, a boy who has not seemed remarkable until now. And Helen—terrified, but intrigued—is drawn to him. The fact that he is in a body and she is not presents this unlikely couple with their first challenge. But as the lovers struggle to find a way to be together, they begin to discover the secrets of their former lives and of the young people they come to possess.

 

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 22, 2005
    First-time author Whitcomb infuses Gothic romance with modern-day drama to create a highly sensual, supernatural story of two spirits caught in purgatory. The body of Helen perished 130 years ago, but her soul still roams the Earth, cleaving to humans who share her love of literature. In all those years, Helen has never seen anyone else who is "Light," until she meets James, who has possessed the body of an 11th grade student. Knowing at once that they are meant to be together, Helen allows James to teach her how to enter the body of an "empty" teenager, not knowing what complications lie ahead. Posing as Jennifer Ann, the daughter of fundamentalist Christians, Helen finds herself trapped in a sterile household void of art and literature with little chance to visit James, who lives in a run-down house with a violent older brother. Meticulously wrought descriptions of the ghosts' feelings and actions allow readers to experience the physical sensations of Helen and James as they rediscover the pleasures of taste and touch and re-experience the suffering that is part of every human experience. Sexually explicit scenes and not-so-gentle jabs at hypocritical Christians may raise some eyebrows, but the author's poetic prose, capturing the spirit and sorrow of the two unearthly protagonists, will likely have a mesmerizing effect on readers. Ages 14-up.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2005
    Gr 9 Up -Helen died 130 years ago as a young woman. Unable to enter heaven because of a sense of guilt she carried at death, she has been silent and invisible but conscious and sociable across the generations. Her spirit has been sustained by its attachment to one living human host after another, including a poet and, most recently, a high-school English teacher. While she sits through his class one day, she becomes aware of James and he -unlike the mortals all around them -is aware of her as well. James, who also died years earlier, inhabits the body of a contemporary teen, Billy. James and Helen fall in love, he shows her how to inhabit the body of a person whose spirit has died but who still lives and breathes, and the two begin to unfold the mysteries of their own pasts and those of their adolescent hosts. Jenny, whose body Helen now uses, is the only child of strict religious parents who controlled her beyond what her spirit could endure. Billy's spirit left his body after a string of tragedies resulting from drug abuse and domestic violence. James and Helen court in both modern and old-fashioned ways; here is a novel in which explicit sex is far from gratuitous or formulaic. Whitcomb writes with a grace that befits Helen's more modulated world while depicting contemporary society with sharp insight. In the subgenre of dead-narrator tales, this book shows the engaging possibilities of immortality -complete with a twist at the end that wholly satisfies." -Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA"

    Copyright 2005 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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