The Haunting of Tabitha Grey Paperback – 2 Apr 2012
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From the Author
I wanted to write a classic ghost story for teens. Events at 'Weston Manor' in the novel are inspired by real-life hauntings at a manor house in Sussex. I filled the book with all the things I love in a ghost story - a tense, creepy atmosphere, odd smells and sounds, half-shut doors. into old rooms where you don't know what's waiting for you on the other side.
From the Back Cover
'I look up at the dark, unblinking eyes of the house and I get the weirdest feeling...it's the feeling of being pulled into something and being unable to stop it happening...'
Tabitha is used to changing schools and moving house. But when her family move into Weston Manor, something is different. It's as if the house has been waiting for her.
There are lavender smells which come from nowhere and the old servants' bells ring in the night. She can hear crying in the empty rooms. Tabitha's always been imaginative. Even her best friend Gemma knows that. But this time, could she actually be telling the truth?
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I really wanted to like this book, and haunted houses are usually a winner with me, but unfortunately I found The Haunting of Tabitha Grey a bit lacking. First of all, there just isn't much to Tabitha as a main character. She's a stereotypical teenage girl interested in makeup, clothes, romance novels, her handsome but unbelievably dull boyfriend Jake and her best friend Gemma, who is also very forgettable. Being 'sensitive' to ghostly presences is the only thing about Tabitha that I found particularly interesting, and that alone isn't really enough to carry the story.
The ghostly goings-on themselves are depicted with skill - there's nothing you haven't seen or read before, but ghosts don't have to be original to be creepy - and the manor house setting is also nicely described. But there a some elements of the plot that don't ring true. For example, I don't think any father, just weeks into a new job as curator of a stately home and hosting an important visit from local dignitaries, would ever suddenly ask his 14-year-old to give them their guided tour, particularly when she's just been off school sick with nosebleeds, fainting fits and apparent hysteria.
This is a book that has a supposedly stunning twist towards the end, but I saw it coming when I was just under halfway through the book and without the element of surprise there's definitely something missing at the end of the story. The idea is a good one, but it's not executed with much subtlety and it's easy to spot, particularly for regular readers of ghost stories.
I realise that I'm an adult and this a book for kids and teenagers, but I don't think I'm asking too much of it in terms of plot and character. The Haunting of Tabitha Grey has some promising elements, as it's atmospheric and spooky and the family drama plot strand is also nicely done, but overall it all just felt a bit below-par.
She thoroughly enjoyed reading it,to the extent she couldn't put the book down.
There is a real twist at the end that my daughter didn't expect.
I would definitely recommend this to others.
Tabitha Grey and her family are moving into Weston Manor house, where her dad is to be Keeper. Tabs should be thrilled - after all, the house is gorgeous and a real piece of history. Only she has this feeling, like something's wrong with the house. Like something's waiting for her.
Tabitha's creative, but she isn't imagining the chills, the people no one else can see, the sounds only she can hear.
But no one will believe her. Even though she's sure she's right this time. Can she convince her family before it's too late, before they fall apart?
I do love ghost stories and The Haunting of Tabitha Grey was a great one! Full of suspense, ghosts and mystery, I was just sucked in and couldn't stop reading! It was spooky, I just felt chills as I read, felt terrified for Tabitha. Although it wasn't that fast to begin with, that really just cranked the suspense up. I loved this - I couldn't stop reading. It was so chilling, so vivid, so real and so utterly creepy. Oh yes: This book was spooktastic!
The characters were all really believable and real. Tabitha was so very teenagery - snarky, stubborn confident and brilliantly odd. With her need to know everything, all the time, she kinda reminded me of me - I'm the embodiment of `curiosity killed the cat!' But back to Tabs, she was the strongest person ever and I felt seriously furious when no one believed her, left her to be terrified on her own. Ben, Tabitha's little brother, was really shy and sweet and innocent... Her mum was a little head-in-the-clouds - she was depressed in the past and we didn't find out why for aaggeess... Tabs' dad was shockingly unobservant and very logical. Now her Gran I really loved, even though she wasn't really in the story! And all the family relationships wee rather dysfunctional, though you could see they all loved each other very much. Every single member seemed to have one issue or another, be it depression, over-active imagination or whatever. All the members were also so real, all their own people, like real live family members.
And I adored Curtis' writing - it was beautiful and so utterly teen. I could see everything in my head (and loved the creepy, beautiful and mysterious setting), but the writing wasn't overwhelming and didn't slow the pace in the slightest. And the plot, in one word, was creepy! I was drawn right in from the first page and just was never let go! I loved all the spooky, ghostly going ons and all the family issues too. And while I had suspicions about how everything would end, I really and seriously did not see that last twist coming! It left me reeling!
One haunted manor house, a family on the brink of collapse, a girl seeing ghosts with no one who believes her... The Haunting of Tabitha Grey was amazing, shocking, twisty and just plain spooky! I was addicted from start to finish. I can't wait to read something else by Curtis! I love her writing and imagination!