Review: Ghost Flower by Michele Jaffe

Eve, a runaway, finds a new job at a coffee shop on the outskirts of Tuscon. When she’s approached by two wealthy teens who claim she bears an uncanny resemblance to their missing cousin Aurora, her life takes a turn for the dark and mysterious. Drawn into a scheme to win Aurora’s inheritance, Eve finds herself impersonating the girl, who disappeared three years ago on the night her best friend Elizabeth died. But when Liza’s ghost begins to haunt Eve, doing harm to the people close to her under the guise of “protecting” her, Eve finds herself in a nightmare maze of lies and deception that leads her to question even her own identity. She realizes her only chance is to uncover the truth about what happened the night Liza died, and to find Liza’s killer – before she’s next.

___________________________________

Ghost Flower is yet another Michele Jaffe novel packed with secrets, lies, and drama. I’ve read most of Jaffe’s books, from various genres and subgenres, and I’m always impressed by her storytelling abilities, but it’s the thrillers, like Rosebush and Ghost Flower, that I find most impressive. 

Usually, I find mysteries all too predictable, but that’s never the case with Jaffe’s novels. Even if I think I’ve got the twist figured out, I’m never completely sure. And half the time I’m only partially correct and Jaffe has something else up her sleeve.

I appreciate the fact that the main focus of Ghost Flower is the mystery, not the romance  or any other less important plot lines. Those other aspects are there – and they’re very well done – but the story line doesn’t meander pointlessly. I can’t say I’ve read very many YA mysteries that keep focus as well as Jaffe’s novels.

Ghost Flower had an almost cinematic quality. I could easily see it being made into a film. In fact, since it’s a relatively quick read, I actually felt like I’d just spent the last few hours watching a movie. The characters were clearly formed in my head and I found myself rewinding and rewatching my mental images to search for clues as the mystery slowly unraveled.

Fans of psychological thrillers will quickly become fans of Ghost Flower, but I urge everyone with a few extra hours to pick up one of Jaffe’s novels. 

Razorbill, April 2012, Paperback, ISBN: 9781595143969, 358 pages.
Advertisements

Review: Rosebush by Michele Jaffe

Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit-and-run. Everyone believes it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane’s boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface-not just from the party, but from deeper in her past . . . including the night her best friend Bonnie died.  

With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she’s forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller.

____________________________________
I should probably start off by saying that I am a huge Michele Jaffe fan. Huge. I started reading her books back in freshman year of high school… and I didn’t start with the YA titles. Instead, I was addicted to her Arboretti Family novels, which are adult historical mysteries set in Europe with plenty of romance and steamy encounters. 

After I devoured those, I read Bad Kitty, one of her YA novels. I didn’t know if I’d like it since it is nothing like her adult titles, but I loved it! The main character, Jasmine, is wonderful and hilarious and I’m not sure if anyone could manage to not laugh aloud while reading Bad Kitty and its sequel, Kitty Kitty. These books don’t get the attention they deserve!

Then Rosebush came along. Again, the description made it sound like a complete departure from what I was familiar with from Jaffe. At this point, Jaffe had proved that she’s a very versatile writer and I’d missed her characters, so I had no choice but to give this newest offering a try.

Rosebush reminds me of an edgier, more succinct version of Pretty Little Liars. Admittedly, I’ve never read these novels, but I have watched some of the television show, so this comparison is based entirely on my knowledge and opinion of the CW show rather than the novels. I felt like Rosebush brings the same rush, panic, and mystery as PLL in a much smaller package, which packed an impressive punch. I felt so much emotion in such a short span of time that I was left breathless.

Having read Jaffe’s adult novels, I knew she was fully capable of writing a good mystery/thriller, but it was interesting to see it done in a YA contemporary setting rather than historic London. I truly had no idea who had tried to kill Jane. One minute I felt sure it had to be one particularly guilty looking individual, then I be totally unsure by the next chapter. I really couldn’t put Rosebush down until I determined which character ran Jane down or Jaffe revealed the culprit! 

Rosebush was full of twists and turns that kept me muddling through the details of Jane’s accident right along with her. Jaffe has delivered another compelling read, ensuring I’ll be reading her next book… no matter what genre is!

Razorbill, December 2010, Paperback, ISBN: 9781595143532, 326 pages.

__________________________________________

This weekend I was able to attend the RT Booklovers Convention and I finally was able to meet Michele Jaffe in person! It was the end of the day and I was tired and a hot mess, but still SO EXCITED to meet an author that I’ve been reading for years! She’s completely fabulous and I’m extremely jealous of her hair. In the photo below we’re trying out a pose recommended by one of Michele’s friend that is supposed to make us look amazing in photographs…  Did it work? 😉


Michele’s new book, Ghost Flower released this week and I must get my hands on a copy!

  

Review: Kitty Kitty by Michele Jaffe

Title: Kitty Kitty
Author: Michele Jaffe
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: 2008
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Mystery, Murder, Italy, Family, Love, Friendship
Pages: 307
Plot (from Booklist):
Poor Jas. “Dadzilla” has whisked her to Venice (Italy), where she’ll spend her senior year without her California pals. Her solution: be Model Daughter, so Dad will let her go home. Unfortunately, Jas can’t stay away from a mystery. This time it’s the death of a girl in her Italian class. Police rule suicide; Jas disagrees. When her friends pay a visit (surprise!), the mystery gains momentum, and Jas finds herself running around in a squirrel costume trying to catch a killer. Readers unacquainted with the first book will need time to get used to the high-octane characters and frenetic patter, which occasionally spins out of control; and except for a few appearances, forget cats. What works best is the over-the-top, laugh-out-loud silliness between Jas and her protective entourage, and Jas’ own wildly colorful personality, which, along with her insatiable curiosity, suffers from the usual teen insecurities about clothes, parents, and boys.

Michele Jaffe’s books totally rock my socks off! I don’t know how she comes up with such great plot lines and hilarious dialogue, I just hope she never stops!

Kitty Kitty is the the continuation of Jas’ story that began in Jaffe’s first YA novel, Bad Kitty. While readers will most likely be able to follow Jas’ story if they begin with Kitty Kitty, I recommend reading Bad Kitty first. Not only will you have a better idea of who the characters are and how they came to be in Venice, you’ll also laugh your head off.

One of my favorite things about reading Jaffe’s YA novels is the fact that when I’m reading, I constantly feel the need to find someone to read passages aloud to! These books are so funny that I must share them!

There isn’t a lot of YA mystery out there – which is another reason to pick up Jaffe’s books. She is a seasoned mystery author, as she writes adult romantic mysteries as well. I’ve read her adult novels and was pleasantly surprised to see that she wrote YA as well. The YA novels are completely different than the adult novels, but just as good: Jaffe’s diverse writing talent astounds me!

Those of you who have read Bad Kitty will be happy to see all your favorite characters return for Kitty Kitty. Those of you who haven’t read Bad Kitty… hurry up and read it: there are some characters you need to meet!

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 50/50 (A!)

I can’t imagine someone not laughing while reading Bad Kitty and Kitty Kitty – so if you need a laugh and are in the mood for a good book, be sure to check out Michele Jaffe’s YA novels!

Review: Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe

Title: Bad Kitty
Author: Michele Jaffe
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date published: 2006
Type of book: Young Adult/Teen
Common Themes: Las Vegas, Murder, Mystery, Love, Friendship
Pages: 268
Plot (from book jacket):
“MEET JASMINE forensic supersleuth and unwitting victim of a naughty feline.
All Jasmine really wants is to enjoy her family vacation in Las Vegas. And avoid her evil cousin Alyson and Alyson’s best friend, Veronique. And show her suspicious dad that she can be a Model Daughter. And maybe meet the hot guy she’s been eyeing from across the pool. Is that too much to ask?
Apparently, yes. One moment she’s an innocent bylounger, the next the central figure in a Las Vegas-sized mystery. Fortunately, Jasmine is both a forensics enthusiast and possessed of some very, well, special friends. Polly, Tom, and Roxy crash the vacation, BeDazzle Jasmine’s wardrobe, and find themselves key players in the most outrageous adventure in a town known for outrageous adventures.
All because of a very bad kitty.”

I’ve read quite a few of Michele Jaffe’s books for adults (The Stargazer, etc), but this is the first of her books for younger adults that I’d read. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it – in fact, it came out a few years ago and I always passed by it, but I TOTALLY regret that now. Because this book is totally, totally HILARIOUS! For real – I absolutely loved it.

I like books that have a mystery element – especially one that doesn’t have really obvious solution right from the beginning (because that just makes the lead up so BORING). Add that to some super funny characters that you wish you knew in real life and you’ve got yourself a book that you can’t put down and has people looking at you funny as you laugh-out-loud when everyone else is silent.

One the unique aspect of this book were the subtexts throughout. Everyonce in awhile the characters would have side conversations at the bottom of the page that were so random and funny. It reminded me of some conversations my friends and I have had.

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing Style: 10
Romance: 10
Memorable: 10
Total: 50/50 (A)

READ THIS BOOK! Right now! Or at least when you finish the one you’re currently reading…