Author: Jessica Verday
Format: Paperback, 509 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: August 2010
When Abbey''s best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead…and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen''s funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey''s life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he''s the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special. Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen''s betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her-one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.
The reason I picked up this book is because I liked that it was a modern day story set in the town of Sleepy Hollow. The book definitely held my interest in the beginning, but this interest slowly dwindled in the middle of the book, and then picked up again in the end. The death of Abbey's best friend Kristen is the immediate focus of the book, but this focus fizzles quickly when Abbey meets Caspian. When Abbey encounters Caspian after Kristen's funeral it sets their relationship in motion, and from that moment on they meet up with each other on a regular basis. While I thoroughly enjoyed some of the encounters that Caspian and Abbey had with each other, there were others that felt unnecessary. In some ways I understand the use of these multiple meetings, however the repetitive nature in which Abbey spent her time in between each one was a little too much for me.
Abbey's character is not the greatest heroine that I have ever encountered, but she certainly is not the worst either. She was constantly second guessing herself which can at times be quite frustrating. What I enjoyed about Abbey is that through the entire book she is trying to move on with her life despite the great loss that she suffered. In regards to Caspian's character, well, the jury is still out. I feel as though I still do not know much about him and it is difficult to form an opinion based on what little I know.
In terms of the storyline, the mystery that surrounds Kristen's death is a side story that is touched on at various points in the book from beginning to end. I would not render this storyline to be of most importance in this book. The majority of the storyline about Kristen's death remains lost in the larger scheme of things, but when it is addressed it is quite interesting. My hope is that in The Haunted readers will be able to gather more clues surrounding Kristen's death and to understand her life more as a result. In my opinion a greater focus on Kristen's death would have been more relevant however Verday is probably saving that for the next book in the series.
What I liked about this book though is that the nature of Sleepy Hollow as a town has remained unaltered. The spirit of Washington Irving is ever present in the book and it is interesting to see how his story changed the lives of those living in the town. Although I was not overly thrilled with this book does not mean that I am not looking forward to the follow up, The Haunted. From the small excerpt that I read from the book I can tell that Abbey's story is slowly coming together, and that Verday is more comfortable with her characters. :)