„The Awakening of Sunshine Girl“ by Paige McKenzie
How many more good things can I say about Paige McKenzie? I’m a huge fan of her YouTube series/channel. I’m writing this review right after watching „I know what you did last summer“ and can’t help but think that „Sunshine Girl“ is a lot like those „old“/“retro“ horror movies. You know, the ones you watch and then think „Why don’t they make movies like this anymore?“
I read „old“ Stephen King books, R.L. Stine,… and always think „Why is nobody else writing horror like this?“ And then comes Paige McKenzie and her co-author Alyssa Sheinmel and they do. Even better: they write it for young adults. And it’s everything you ever wanted in this genre, and more.
Fair warning: If you have yet to read book one „The Haunting of Sunshine Girl“ (this is a SERIES!), you might not want to read this BookTalk. Just giving you a fair warning, because if you read on, you will know who lives, who dies, and what all the fuzz is about. SPOILERS. So, just do yourself a favor, go read „The Haunting of Sunshine Girl“ (I cannot recommend it enough!!!) and then come back. I’ll wait here, I promise.
„Having passed her test in Book One, Sunshine’s Luiseach powers are now fully awakened: for months now, Sunshine has felt spirits everywhere: heard voices, felt emotions – intense and sometimes overwhelming. She tries to ignore them, but it is impossible. Hoping to get her powers under control – and hoping for answers to her never-ending questions – she agrees to undergo training with her Luiseach mentor, even though she still hopes to give up her powers someday.“
In case I haven’t said this enough: I loved, loved, loved book one „The Haunting of Sunshine Girl“. I’ve been looking for some good old-fashioned „goosebumps“ horror novels in the YA genre and with Sunshine, I’ve finally found it. Ghosts, demons, monster. The good, the bad,… it’s got it all. But you already know that, if you’ve read book one. And book two is no different. We jump right back in with a scene that still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I recommend reading these books in bright daylight. Definitely not when it’s dark, during thunderstorms, or right before going to bed. If things go bump in the night, you’re on your own.
About book two, I have to say that it’s not as creepy as the first book was. It’s got its moments, it’s fair share of ghosts and even a demon or two. But all in all, it’s a second book in a series and has a lot of explaining to do. If you felt like book one left a lot of questions unanswered, book two is where you’ll find all the answers. What are luiseach? What do they do? How does it work? Who exactly is Aiden? And what happened to Sunshine when she was a newborn baby? In „The Awakening of Sunshine Girl“ you’ll find everything you might need to know.
Because it has to answer all of these questions (and more), it felt a bit slow sometimes. The first book, with all the action, the ghosts, the big mystery and Sunshine herself being super scared, just set the bar a little too high. Right now, Sunshine has accepted her fate, she’s a lot more relaxed about all the ghosts and so are we as readers. It’s not boring, or too slow, or too anything… just don’t expect it to be as thrilling and creepy as book one. Sunshine and her mentor have a lot of explaining to do in this book. Which is not as boring as I make it sound. Promise.
The only major issue I had with this book was the love triangle that was introduced in form of a new boy crush for Sunshine. Maybe (or definitely) it’s because I am and will always be Team Nolan (is that even a thing? anyone else? there should be T-Shirts….) but love triangles are getting old. Especially super predictable or super unnecessary ones, like in this book. Of course, I don’t know where book three will be going. But so far, there was no reason for this Lucio thing to happen, other than wanting a love triangle in a YA book. And that just annoys me with a lot of YA books lately… (but that’s a story for another day).
Don’t get me wrong: the love triangle doesn’t ruin the book or anything. It’s just something that is annoying me in books lately, so I had to mention that, sorry. Other than that, I really liked „The Awakening of Sunshine Girl“. I wanted to love it, but I sadly couldn’t, not 100%. Which usually happens with 2nd books in series. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that before. Book Two was never anyones favorite of anything, right? (Second Book Syndrom)
I will definitely continue with the series. No question whatsoever. The ending was AMAZING and I can’t wait to read how they all get out of that one. I still (and probably always will) recommend this series! If you’ve read book one, you will want to read this ASAP. I just hate that we have to wait another YEAR for book three „The Sacrifice of Sunshine Girl“. (Sad panda 🙁 )
Are you #TeamNolan? Or #TeamLucio? Do you believe in the big bad Second Book Syndrom? Or can you think of a book series where the second book was your favourite? Tell me. I’d love to know.
p.s.: One more *random* thing I wanted to say, but couldn’t fit into the BookTalk: Similar to the Veronica Mars books, where there is never enough Logan, there was not enough Nolan in this book…