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Reviewed by Michelle Randall for Readers' Favorite
Luis is the target of the school bully, Butch, and Serena is the goth chick everyone avoids. When Luis spends some time in the old playground to avoid Butch, he encounters Alice, a ghost, which completely freaks him out. He runs into Serena in the library in the section he needs to learn about ghosts. She ends up telling him what he needs to know, only to freak out on him. An Empty Swing is an amazing story that gives us teenage characters coming into their own and the paranormal aspect of ghosts. Add in the mystery and crime elements of why the ghosts are here and how they died. Author N.J. Hanson does a wonderful job of blending so many different layers together into one cohesive story.
An Empty Swing is such a complex story. For most of the ghosts, innocent young kids that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, their existence as ghosts is no big deal, but it turns one kid into a vengeful spirit. Luis has a back story and history that plays into Serena's back story and history in ways that they never knew. There is some spiritualism, some crime and mystery, some detective work, some coming of age and teenage romance, and some happily ever after. Author N.J. Hanson gives us characters to love, ones to hate, and ones we aren't sure about. Although this is marketed as a young adult book, it can easily be read by adults. There is a retelling of one victim's account, but exact events are not described, only alluded to, so I would advise parents to be available for teens should they want to discuss it after reading.