By Cynthia Ayala ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
A ghost haunts the woods behind her house. Amelia Dupree calls her “the Woman in White,” and the last time she saw her was on the night her brother died. But months have passed, and when Charlie moves next-door with his grandmother and girls start to inexplicably drown in the Susquehanna River, Charlie and Amelia set out to discover the dark history of their little town and the curse surrounding it.
Written by Jenny Adams Perinovic and published by Bookish Girl Press on April 28, 2015, A Magic Dark and Bright is a young adult paranormal fantasy about a young woman dragged into a battle between a ghost and a curse.
This very interesting novel really does leave a haunting image in the mind of the reader. The cover is very misleading, presenting the story as very subtle and simple, but what it hides is the mystery within the novel. That mystery is the backbone of the story and the driving force that captivates the reader.
From the very beginning, the author lets the reader know what this novel is going to present. Perinovic builds the mystery and the paranormal elements very quickly, creating a very clear and easy-to-read story. That’s the charm—between shifts of character points of view, the mystery and the story hold true. The style and momentum in which the story moves is slow but very clear. There are two very distinct voices in the novel, both in first person perspective, and each voice has an influence over the other. One is very real while the other remains a mystery, one that the reader does not discover until the very end of the novel. It’s gripping, stylish, and very ingenious, keeping up the momentum of the novel while shifting back and forth between past and present.
Additionally, there is the question of what effect the past has on the future. Readers are introduced to Marin, and from the get-go, there is something very sinister in who she is. It’s there between the lines, represented in her characterization, but there is no way to pinpoint just what is so dangerous about her. So alongside Amelia and Charlie, readers are digging into the past and following them around this small town as they try to discover what secret is bringing back the woman in white and what it has to do with the deaths in the novel.
There is also something very smooth about the attraction between the characters. Amelia and Charlie have something going on between them, and they have only just met. Fortunately, it comes off as very real. Their relationship and their chemistry does not come off as some forced plot point; it works with the story and around the eventual plot twist that will make the reader’s jaw drop.
Any good mystery needs to capitalize on the intrigue from the very beginning, but there has to be something in the characters—doubts, personal issues, something—that makes them real but also doesn’t detract from the story. Perinovic accomplishes that using the story and the characters inside plots and narrations to build off one another to make this a delightfully haunting ghost story.