Through Her Eyes
by Jennifer Archer
The last place Tansy Piper wants to be is stuck in Cedar Canyon, Texas, in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of small-town kids. But when her mother decides to move to the desolate West Texas town, Tansy has no choice but to go along. Once there, Tansy is immediately drawn to the turret of their rickety old house, a place she soon learns has a disturbing history. But it’s the strange artifacts she finds in the cellar—a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal—that have the most chilling impact on her.
Tansy soon finds that through the lens of her camera, she can become part of a surreal black-and-white world where her life is intertwined with that of mysterious, troubled Henry, who lived in the same house and died decades earlier. It seems their lives are linked by fate and the artifacts she found, but as Tansy begins spending more and more time in the past, her present world starts to fade away. Tansy must untangle herself from Henry’s dangerous reality—before she loses touch with her own life forever. (goodreads.com)
Jennifer Archer’s debut paranormal novel was not what I was expecting. I was expecting fluffy, instant-love with a ghost that I was going to just chalk up as yet another, “meh” novel. Instead this was high on the creep-factor and the romantic interest wasn’t some emo ghost dude who followed her around and had long meaningful “woe is me” conversations.
Instead, Tansy is drawn into a past memory through her camera lens and a crystal. She inhabits another body, one that is already in a precarious romance. Tansy’s real life starts to fade into black and white as the past memories become more colourful. She’s new in town and has no one to turn to except her ailing grandfather who doesn’t even speak anymore.
I did have some trouble getting into the story, much of it was due to my preconceived reservations about what the book was going to hold. I was happy it didn’t play out the way I thought it would, but I still feel the book could have been slightly… more.
I wasn’t completely gripped by the mystery and the creepy ghosty stuff. I didn’t care about the other people in the town since they weren’t really built up very much. Tansy’s odd hate/friendship/love thing with Tate was rather bland, but I wanted to like it. His attitude toward her when she moved to town was odd and even she acknowledged that and it was never truly put to rest.
There’s the typical mean-girl-turned-not-so-mean plot point as well. I’m sort of tired of those in stories, but they are always there. Tansy is apparently used to moving from town to town and changing schools all the time and I got the impression she wasn’t really phased by the other student reactions, but in this town she was. I don’t know why. Perhaps because this was the first truly SMALL town she’d been in. I can see how that would have to be a huge culture shock from leaving large cities.
Overall, this was a pretty good debut though it didn’t blow me away. I did enjoy Jennifer Archer’s writing though and Tansy’s voice was great, like an old friend. I liked her very much, sadly every other character just seemed so flat and bland. I am not the biggest ghost story fan so I think that played a big role in my lethargy towards the end. I didn’t hate the book at all, but I also didn’t love it. It’s sort of there in the middle. I was entertained but it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. Does that make sense?
EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to mention there was even a teary part at the end where I might have cried a little. That took my by surprise because I hadn’t been so emotionally invested in the story to merit the reaction. But the teary part was done very well and kudos to Archer for that. 🙂