Seventeen-year-old Emma Vaile is excited to be on her own in her parents' house in New York City. Her antique-dealer parents are off on vacation, her brother is abroad, and she finds herself planning a big party at their house above the antiques shop. But things don't go as expected, and she finds herself alone and in trouble, her parents missing. She leaves New York to go with her guardian to the Thatcher Academy in Massachusetts.
Everything has changed, yet certain things about Emma's new situation seem eerily familiar to her. She is beset by terrible visions, and she comes to realize she has an ability to interact with ghosts. And there are others share that ability, including her guardian, her brother's friend that she had a huge crush on when she was younger. Only Emma's ability is different somehow, different in a way that puts her in particular danger.
This is a promising opening to a teen paranormal series with a splash of romance and plenty of mystery. What at first seemed like too many contrived coincidences is eventually explained fairly plausibly, leaving open a whole new set of questions that I hope will be addressed in the next book. It's a fun summer read for teens who enjoy a good ghost story and/or a prep school setting, and the humorous interactions among the characters work well to keep the story light as heavier plot elements are explored. While I didn't find the book amazingly different or unusual when compared to the many teen paranormal books that are out there, I did enjoy it and plan to continue with the series.
Books in the Haunting Emma series:
Deception (#1 in the Haunting Emma series) by Lee Nichols (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010)