I'm very glad that my 50th book for 2012 is A Certain Slant of Light
. And, to be honest, I'm surprised that I liked it as much as I did. I generally am not a romance person when it comes to YA and when I realized that this novel was heading, unflinchingly, in that direction, I braced myself and prepared for an onslaught of all the cliches I generally find. This book was different, in multiple ways. I'm surprised it is even marketed as YA. There are a lot of controversial topics broached and a very physical relationship between the two main characters.
What made this novel so wonderful was Whitcomb's prose. It wasn't over-the-top purple prose, but it also wasn't simple, concrete language. She somehow mastered a writing-style that fits perfectly between them. What I especially loved is that we're reading about a 150 year old ghost, so this sort of writing or thoughts would come naturally to her. She was able to write in a way that a woman from 150 years ago might write. This made it more believable to get into Helen's head.
Another aspect for me that made this book so good was the way that Whitcomb handled relationships. I'm not just talking about the main romance between Helen and James, but the way she dealt with Helen and Cathy and, my favorite, Helen and Mr. Brown. She covered her tracks completely and gave me closure with characters I hadn't realized I needed closure with.
I would recommend this book to people who are okay with physical relationships, enjoy beautiful writing and are looking for a book that will make them pause, set the book down, and say, "Wow".