Sunday, October 30, 2011

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

ISBN: 978-0-3857-3693-0

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Source: Library

Summary: Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the familly business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

All I want to do right now is go to Texas.
There was a time in my life during which I barely recognized Texas as a state. During my high school years I was a self-declared Northeastern elitist snob. I couldn't see why anyone would want to live in a place other than the Northeast (perhaps the attitude had something to do with it...?) Thankfully by mid-college, I dropped that attitude. After graduation I went on a cross-country road trip in which I spent two or three days (they started to blend together) in Texas. Now I want to go back. This is partially due to my obsessive Friday Night Lights watching. The other source is definitely Rosemary Clement-Moore's Texas Gothic.
I read Clement-Moore's The Splendor Falls a little over a year ago and it stuck with me for some reason. When I came across the title of her next book, I was immediately intrigued. I think it's the word "gothic." But seriously, I just love the title. The cover definitely didn't hurt matters. I ordered it from the library, it ended up residing on my dresser, and it took me about two months to finally read it. This is due to my problem with going to both of my jobs and constantly bringing home new books for the to-read pile(s). I have a problem, I've accepted it, and I'm trying to work on it (sort of).
I wasn't disappointed. Texas Gothic tells the story of Amaryllis "Amy" Goodnight, a girl whose self-imposed job is to keep her family's supernatural talents and activities under the radar. Amy doesn't want to do magic, she just wants to be normal. This proves to be an impossibility when a ghost begins to haunt her with creepy warnings and people in the town turn to her for a solution. With her quirky sister Phin, the formerly cranky but dreamy cowboy Ben McCulloch, and a university anthropological team, Amy is able to solve the mystery of the ghost at her aunt's ranch.
I loved the setting in this book. Sometimes the tendency to go a little stir-crazy in suburbia causes the need to lose myself in a city or country setting. A ranch in the heart of Texas definitely did the job for this one. I loved the characters just as much. Amy and Phin Goodnight were brilliant siblings. Their separate magical gifts were just as distinct as their personalities, Amy's personal skills and common sense balancing out Phin's strictly scientific reasoning. Ben McCulloch was the perfect grouchy cowboy with a touch of Southern gentleman mixed in. I didn't know how much I wanted to read about a grumpy cowboy until I was introduced to Ben in this book. His and Amy's chemistry was undeniable from their first encounter. They were a well-executed example of hatred breeds passion. From meeting Amy in her underwear to rescuing her from a giant hole full of bat guano, Ben McCulloch proved to be a formidable male lead opposite Amy.
My only complaint about this story was the pacing. I felt like there was a whole lot of build-up that rushed the conflict at the end of the story. Sometimes some of the build-up also became a little repetitive. Overall, Texas Gothic a great ghost story starring a perfectly relatable witch, an adorably grouchy cowboy, and some ghosts, of course.

Rating: 4 - this book was good

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