Under the Light

237p. Houghton Harcourt. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780547367545. LC 2012033303.
Gr 9 Up—During an excruciatingly miserable scene in the family "Prayer Corner," Jenny exercises her ability to mentally leave her body-but this time she stays away for days. In this state, her spirit meets a boy in a field, Billy, who left his body during a substance-abuse-induced coma. Their innocent, but exalted, friendship ends abruptly when they are called back to their physical bodies. They have no memory of their former relationship but there is concrete evidence of a steamy romance between them left by the two ghosts who occupied their bodies in their absence in A Certain Slant of Light (Houghton Harcourt, 2005). In fact, the collateral damage done by these ghosts is so severe that one of them, Helen, is compelled to return from heaven to try to help Jenny. Jenny and Billy manage to figure out what has been going on and staunchly deal with the new complications in their lives on top of coping with the old stresses that caused them to leave their bodies in the first place. Helen's return is sometimes a hindrance but ultimately helps Jenny as together they face the worst moments in her life. Coping with her pain and purging her resentment leave Jenny ready to grow and move on-and she refuses to leave Billy behind. An unusual first love tale, Under the Lightwill appeal to a wider audience than A Certain Slant of Light but reading that book first would definitely make it easier to follow.—Kathy Cherniavsky, Ridgefield Library, CT
This companion novel to A Certain Slant of Light examines Jenny and Billy's relationship--both the ethereal and the corporeal. As the two struggle to make sense of their lives after spirits Helen and James borrowed their bodies, Helen complicates things by trying to reconnect with Jenny. Whitcomb's ghostly love story reworks the first book's themes, but fans may welcome this second visitation.

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