Central Reservation by Will le Fleming

Central-ReservationHolly lives on a farm with her twin, Yvonne, and her mum, Belinda (they have called her ‘Belinda’ since their dad died a few years previously). After Yvonne dies in a bus crash, Holly (and only Holly) is haunted by her ghost. Though, not so much typically ‘haunted’, as tied. In life, Yvonne was the cooler, meaner sibling, and Holly finds no escape in her death. As a ghost, Yvonne doesn’t actually do anything, but her presence is intrusive, following her everywhere (when she wakes up Yvonne is inches from her face, eep!).

It’s not a traditional ‘spooky’ ghost story; it’s more about a family’s grief. It’s not just the grief for Yvonne, or the twins’ dad, but also about loss of the farm. The book is set during the foot and mouth crisis, and, having lived in Devon during that time, I could smell the horrible smell of the pyres they burnt the animals on throughout the story (I didn’t live on a farm, but I will never get over that smell).

The book’s also about family secrets and families joining. It’s also, as is most YA fiction, about the awkwardness of being a teenager and growing up.

There were some fist-punching-the-air phrases in this book – my favourite – like ‘she was more of an outcrop than a person’ gah! so beautiful. So many of the scenes were written very vividly, particularly the bus crash which is written in a brief, horrifying slow-motion. I did feel that the book lost some momentum in the last quarter or so, and if that section had been trimmed down a bit I think it would have had more of an emotional hit (though I liked that it was a quiet ending). But, despite this, I think it was a good, engaging read, YA or otherwise.

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