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When Emma Vaile’s parents go missing while away on a mysterious business trip, she’s left all alone in her creepy old house. But her brother’s very cute best friend, Bennett Stern—Emma’s knight in J. Crew armor—arrives unexpectedly to whisk her away to New England. There, Emma settles into his family’s museum-like mansion and enrolls at an old-fashioned private school. She quickly finds friends in the popular legacy crowd at Thatcher and spends her free time crushing on Bennett.When her parents leave for a business trip, Emma Vaile revels in the idea of three weeks freedom. Well, until she realises that freedom isn't so much fun when her best friend has moved away and won't speak to her anymore. But when her parents are gone longer than they promised and Emma can't reach them via phone, she starts to grow worried. She's coerced into hosting a party by one of her new friends, Natalie, which the police soon crash. They realise Emma's been home alone without parental guardianship and so she's taken into care. In comes Bennett Stern to the rescue - her newly appointed legal guardian and long-time unrequited love.
But the eerie visions she’s been hiding from everyone have gotten worse. Emma has memories of Thatcher that she can’t explain—it’s as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Finally, Emma confides in Bennett and learns she is a ghostkeeper, a person who can communicate with ghosts. Bennett brought Emma to Thatcher to protect her, but now he needs her help tracking an other-worldly murderer
Bennett takes her to his families four story museum-like house in Boston, where he's enrolled her in Thatcher Academy. After experiencing some vivid visions where it's like she's literally stepped inside someone elses shoes and the fact that she's seeing people no one else can - Emma discovers she's a Ghostkeeper. Translation: she's not crazy afterall. The ghost lore is what I especially loved about this book. It was so interesting to learn about the different abilities each Ghostkeeper possessed, the types of ghosts (not all are friendly) and the way they're able to interact with the living world. Also, the varying attitudes the Ghostkeeper's had toward the dead. Others didn't quite have the same respect for them as Emma did - I loved that she actually treated them as ordinarily as she would a living person. They're still human, despite a few issues with a beating heart and all.
Emma's been in love with Bennett for years. He was her brother's best friend (note the past tense), but she's never felt like he's seen her as anything more than the 'younger sister'. That doesn't stop her from looking, though. And fantasising. But Bennett has the annoying habit of disappearing any time things get too serious or Emma demands answers. Which often result in the urge to want to smack him upside the head - give Emma some answers! Tell her how you feel! The moments they do spend together crackle with sexual tension. Things unsaid and feelings bubbling under the surface, but never breaking free. Let's face it though, many times it's the chase, the longing, the desire that keeps you on the edge of your seat. We love it when our favourite characters finally hook up, but it's the build up that makes us hold our breath.
I loved all the characters in Deception. Emma is a fun, snarky protagonist who I connected with right from the beginning. Her voice was pitch perfect and came across realistically. Since enrolling in Thatcher Academy, her social interactions are far greater in number than they were back home. She meets an awesome group of new friends - Harry especially, made me laugh out loud multiple times. I loved their conversations in Latin! And then there were the ghosts - from the sweet, mischievous urchin boy named Nicholas, to the mysterious Rake who's hiding more than a few secrets. Every character was brilliantly crafted, daring you not to form an emotional attachment.
The past and present, living and dead, collide in a hauntingly addictive story with enough humour, mystery, romance and ghosty goodness to keep any reader fascinated until the very last page. Which delivers a twist that promises nothing short of a juicy sequel! A sequel that I desperately need to get my hands on asap. Deception is a must read for lovers of ghost stories and those craving something new in the genre - it 100% delivers!
4.5 Golden Apples!