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00 Quick Picks Books for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (ALA)
"Stupid idiot doodyhead!"
"If you two don't shut up I'm going to hurl both of you out the car window," Gina Otis threatened her brothers, whom she so fondly thought of as the Twins from Hell.
"Make us," Danny taunted, elbowing her in the ribs.
"Yeah," Dougie agreed, adding his elbow to Danny's from Gina's other side, "make us."
Gina eyed them with distaste. Not for the first time she thought how unfair life was. The obnoxious eight-year-olds had been blessed with the perfect blond hair, electric blue eyes, and cherubic features of their mother, whereas she, their almost-eighteen-year-old sister, had inherited the boring brown hair, boring brown eyes, and boring features of their father.
And other than a paternal familial resemblance, she didn't really fit into the Otis family at all. There were four extroverts...and her. Although a master of the sarcastic quip with those she knew well, Gina was so shy with strangers as to be almost mute. People constantly underestimated her, wrote her off as the quiet, skinny, boring, terminally nice girl.
Boring and nice, Gina thought with a sigh as she gazed out the car window at the rolling, verdant hills of Virginia. Just once I'd like to be shocking and difficult, the kind of girl who drives boys wild. I'd even settle for being the kind of girl who gets asked out on an actual date.
It really was so humiliating, being nearly eighteen and never having had a boyfriend. It was true that her best friends in New York insisted that she looked like Liv Tyler with thinner lips, and that if shewould just be herself instead of turning into Mute-Girl-Who-Imitates-a-Doormat guys would fall at her feet. But Gina never believed diem. Now, because her family was moving to Virginia for a year, she wouldn't be around to find out.
Just six weeks ago, her parents, the paperback horror novelists Ina and Henry Otis, had decided to sublet their apartment in New York and rent a haunted house in rural Virginia.
As much as she didn't want to move-it meant she would be the new girl at a new school for senior yearGina understood why her parents were doing it. Their last two novels, Death by Fright and Death by Deceit, hadn't sold at all well. At this rate, they'd never find the financial freedom to write the truly great horror novel they knew they had in them.
They'd had the tide forever: Beheaded, My Love. They believed they could be the next Stephen King. But no publisher would offer them a large enough advance to make writing their great novel possible.
During the writing of Death by Deceit, the worst possible thing had happened: horror ennui had set in. Nothing seemed scary to them anymore. They lost their horrific edge. Readers had sent them complaining letters about the book, saying it wasn't chilling enough. They'd even gotten a distressed call from their publisher imploring them to write at least fifty percent scarier.
Gina knew the situation was grave. If her parents couldn't come up with something truly ghastly to write about, and soon, they would have no book contracts at all.
The solution came one blisteringly hot Sunday afternoon in July. The hard surfaces of the city all wound them reflected the heat, making it too hot to do anything outside, so the twins had been watching a slasher movie marathon on the USA network, and Gina was rereading her favorite childhood book, National Velvet, for the tenth time. Her parents were on the couch, companionably reading The New York Times.
"This is it!" Gina's mom had cried abruptly Just as some victim began to bleed all over the TV. "Turn down the TV, boys."
As usual, the twins didn't listen, so Ina Otis had read aloud from the Times real estate section over the bloodcurdling screams from the television.
"'Rent an Authentic Haunted House. Magnificent Canterville Chase, circa 1735, a Georgian-style mansion set on fifty acres in Westover, Virginia, certified haunted by Spiritualists Society International. Owner seeks tenants with impeccable references. Hauntings guaranteed.'"
"Hey, maybe that's where Jason the slasher lives. I'll punch his lights out!" Danny jumped to his feet and executed a few quick karate kicks.
"This is just what we need to get us out of our writing slump," Ina marveled, "a haunted house."
Gina's father had agreed, and before Gina knew it, all the arrangements had been made. If the move to Canterville Chase would resuscitate her parents' writing careers, it was certainly worth relocating their whole household.
Now, six weeks later, they were on their way to their allegedly haunted new home.
"Uh-oh, carsick," Dougie warned. "I'm gonna hurl."
"Gross-out, do it on Gina, not me." Danny scooched away from his brother on the car seat.
"Bla-a-a-ah!" Dougie pretended to heave all over his twin.
Gina tried to ignore them. In a field along the roadside, she could see someone riding a beautiful gray horse. He looks a lot like Skip Away, the famous racehorse, she thought.
Horses were Gina's passion-an odd thing for a girl raised in New York City, but true. She was great at all sports, but she'd taken riding lessons in Central Park since she was six years old, and horseback riding was her favorite sport of all.
Gina's dream had always been to have her own horse. But, of course, that didn't make sense for a city girl.
Danny made a fart noise on his arm with his mouth. "Hey, Dougie cut one!" he yelled.
"Did not, puke-breath." Dougie reached across Gina to elbow his brother in the stomach.
"Did too." Danny elbowed him back the same way.Enchanted Hearts #1: The Haunted Heart. Copyright © by Cherie Bennett. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted July 25, 2001
This is a story that will stick with you for a long time!! It is so good! It is a romance. It is a ghost story. It is hilarious. This book has introduced me to all the Enchanted Hearts stories and I will definately read more!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2001
I loved this book. It was suspenseful with a twist if romance in it. I can't wait to read the rest of the enchanted hearts series. You should read The Haunted Heart.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2000
I normally hate reading books, but when I saw the book It was the only one that cought my attention. I bought it and started to read it right away. I didn't stop reading it either, I read it in one day because I like it so much. You should read it to!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.