Today The Haunting of Sunshine Girl hits the shelves, with rave reviews from horror masters R.L. Stine and Wes Craven, a creepy, creepy book trailer, and a story that will keep you turning pages late into the night. In case you haven’t seen the hit YouTube series that inspired the book, I’m here to introduce you to both the book and the phenomenon. Let’s play 20 questions!
1. What is The Haunting of Sunshine Girl?
It’s a YA book based on the hit YouTube series starring Sunshine Girl/Frances Jones/Paige McKenzie.
2. Okay, but what’s the book about?
Sunshine and her mother, Kat, have just moved to a creepy old house in Washington state. Right away, Sunshine senses there’s something weird about the house, but her mother doesn’t believe her. The terror grows as Sunshine starts hearing eerie laughter and seeing ghostly visions—then her mother starts to change, as she’s slowly taken over by the dark forces at play in the house. You’ll find yourself hiding under the covers and jumping at every creak as Sunshine races to save both her mother and herself.
3. So how does YouTube factor into this?
Nick Hagen and Mercedes Rose teamed up to create the YouTube series way back in 2010, starring Rose as Kat and her daughter as Sunshine. The show starts off featuring Sunshine taping two-minute videos on her flip camera, talking to her viewers about the mysterious happenings in her house, and attempting to catch her ghost on camera.
4. Wait. This isn’t a true story, is it?
No…at least, I really hope not.
5. Is it scary?
That mostly depends on what you think is scary. If, like me, you hate being home alone and get petrified in dark hallways and creaky houses, yes. You will almost definitely wet the bed. (Okay, maybe it’s not that scary.) If you’re a totally hardened to horror and don’t even flinch when weird noises come from your closet, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl will probably be a walk in the park. A haunted park full of strange fog and rustling things in the darkness.
6. There are other things to enjoy besides the scary stuff, right?
Yep. Creator/mastermind Nick Hagen described it as Paranormal Activity meets Gilmore Girls meets Easy A—so basically three of the world’s best things all rolled into one.
7. So you’re telling me there’s romance in there?
In the cute, adorable crush sort of way. Meet Nolan, Sunshine’s best friend/possibly future boyfriend in later installments.
Yes! According to Sunshine Girl herself (Paige McKenzie), there are going to be at least two books, and possibly more. Considering they’ve got twelve seasons of YouTube videos (and counting!) to work with, I doubt they’ll run out of book material. Book two is scheduled to come out in March 2016.
9. Should I watch the YouTube videos before I read the book?
You definitely don’t have to, since the book mostly contains the plot of seasons 1 and 3, so you won’t be missing any information. But I recommend it, if only because Sunshine has some seriously wonderful hair.
10. Whoa! How is her hair so awesome?
If only I knew, friends, if only I knew.
11. Back to the book—will watching the YouTube series right now spoil the book for me?
I don’t think so, but I tend to reread all my favorite books as often as possible. If you, like me, are tempted to binge-watch the show before you buy the book, I can tell you you’ll probably already know most of the plot…but I don’t think that’s a problem. The writing and the characters are still awesome, and the plot is super engaging.
12. Eh, I’m not a super big fan of paranormal YA. Will I still like it?
One of the reasons The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is so awesome is because the main character is so not a cardboard cutout. Sunshine is smart and quirky, but she’s neither overly snarky nor puke-worthy cute. Plus, she actually gets along with her mostly cool mom, so they’re a fun family to watch. In other words, YES, there’s something in it even for non–paranormal fans.
13. Book series, YouTube series…any other adaptations I should know about?
Actually, yes. Author/YouTube star Paige McKenzie is set to star in the film adaptation of the The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, although we don’t have a release date yet. She also starred in the spinoff movie Sunshine Girl and the Hunt for the Black Eyed Kids.
14. Author, actress, awesome hair. Is there anything Paige McKenzie can’t do?
It’s true. If nothing else will convince you, you should read this book just to experience the talent whirlwind that is Paige McKenzie. She began the series at 16 and now, barely out of her teens, is already a successful author. Plus, she’s got Celiac disease and she’s only 5′ 1″, and she doesn’t let that slow her down at all.
15. Is that her on the book cover?
Yep, that’s my new hero/inspiration/spirit animal in the flesh!
16. Are Sunshine Girl and Paige McKenzie the same person?
Yes and no. According to Paige, they’re very similar, but Sunshine is like a better, more optimistic version of her. (Although I have my doubts about the “better” part.)
17. Can I be Sunshine Girl when I grow up?
Maybe—is your bedroom haunted? How good are you with a flip camera?
18. What else should I know about the book?
Well, it has a killer ending. Seriously. Killer. (Just kidding. Maybe.)
19. Sounds good, but what else have you got?
I seriously recommend you watch the book trailer right now. If this doesn’t have you lining up to get your hands on this book, I don’t know what will.
20. Should I be excited for this book?
Yes. Yes, you really should.
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is out today!