Gap Year In Ghost Town was absolutely hilarious, endearing, and (surprise) full of ghosts.
I really really like ghost stories and can never find enough. Like what’s more fun than starting off with half your cast dead?!? I know right?! Epic. But the real reason this book won me over was: it’s downright hilarious. Anton is an absolute talkative, adorakble, stupid, and heartwarming bucket of SASS. As much as I like a dark YA hero, I am so here for the talkative and happy ones. We need them!
But seriously…ghosts and humour? It’s made for me.
- DID I MENTION GHOSTS? Basically Anton and his dad own a small-home-owned ghost hunting business! But instead of killing ghosts, they put them at rest and send them calmly into the next life. These are chill Hufflepuff ghost hunting lads and I loved them.
- THE PLOT INCLUDES A TON OF WILD ACTION. Because ghosts know very little chill ghosts, which is Reason #848 I probably am actually a ghost. They’re so relatable?? But anyway. There are Secret Bad Organisations™ and ghosts trying to eat your liver and organised ghost crime. Plus — THEY FIGHT WITH SWORDS. We need more swords in modern literature. I want a sword. I feel validated reading this book.
- ANTON IS SO FREAKING FUNNY. The sheer amount of wit, snappy comebacks, and hilarious banter gave me life. At first I thought Anton might be a little tacky, but pffft, nooooo. He was charming and endearing and totally stupid. I love him.
Stacey Evans, or the person who had been Stacey Evans before she was transformed into this supernatural serial killer, put her hands together on her lap. “Would you like a biscuit? I have Tim Tams somewhere, I’m sure.”
I hesitated. After all, Tim Tams.
- IT’S SET IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. I haven’t been, but you can tell it’s the author’s hometown because the little details made the setting so tangible. #AussieAuthorRepresent
- THERE IS A LOT OF COFFEE APPRECIATION. Anton is not a morning person. He’s not even a person in the morning. He needs coffee or it takes him 29mins to figure out how to say “yes please.”
- IT ALSO TICKED A LOT OF BOXES ON WHAT I WANT TO SEE MORE IN BOOKS. And this truly pleases me. For instance, there’s:
- A platonic girl/boy friendship. Bec and Anton are BFF with 0% romantic feelings.
- Excellent supportive dad.
- dead people
- diversity of ethnicity
- basically NO ROMANCE omgggggg so refreshing (Anton kind of has a crush, but he doesn’t do anything about it or barely even think about it, so I count it as no romance!)
- people who enjoy cosplay and nerd conventions
- Tim Tams
- I REALLY LOVED RANI TOO! She’s a ghost hunter from London who kind of believes in KILL ALL THE THINGS while Anton is trying to sing kumbaya here. She has a sword, okay? A sword!!!!! She’s also Chinese/Malaysian/British and has 0% time for your shenanigans.
- THERE’S EVEN A LOT OF BOOK APPRECIATION. Anton and his dad run a bookshop between killing ghosts. He always takes a book with him (even on deathly missions) so basically was ever a book boy so perfect.
I have a phone charger, my pro standard GPS unit, a water bottle, a book and an e-reader just in case I finish my book. Can’t be without a book.
- DID I MENTION IT WAS SO HILARIOUS. Because that is what gives me life.
- IT LEFT ME WITH A TON OF QUESTIONS. Which means I desperately want a sequel because there’s so much depth to this world and these ghost-hunting people. It felt like Supernatural, but in book form! And heck yes, I love books revolving around ghosts and the paranormal world!
“Three: some of the records are likely to drive you insane.”
“Oh. Magic stuff that’ll eat my brain?”
“No. Just really bad handwriting. Awful. Like a drunk spider fell in an inkwell and staggered across the cards.”
- I ADMIT…I FELT THE STAKES WERE A BIT LOW. They didn’t seem written to be low, but I just felt none of the action scenes escalated to “ooh this is scary” levels. It was just a bit comfortable. I’m not saying all books should be uber dark (ALTHOUGH I WISH) I just wanted to be scared of the ghosts?? It also made the finale a bit easy.
- AND AS MUCH AS I ADORED ANTON, I THINK HIS FLIPPANT TONE MADE IT HARD FOR THE BOOK TO GO DEEPER EMOTIONALLY. It’s not impossible. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue has a similar tone with a sassy/flippant narrator, but it packs an emotional punch too. So I just wanted more feels! Anton turned every scene into a joke…and not complaining because I’m laughing but yet???? I wanted more depth.
- AND HONESTLY I THINK THE CHARACTERS’ AGES WERE ALL WRONG. Obviously it’s a “Gap Year” in ghost tow….aka, the characters have finished high school and are 18. But the tone and style was more like younger YA. I would say 12+ would love this. Not to say younger kids can’t read about older kids, but I just felt the target audience was a bit of a mess. Plus Anton felt more 15 than 18.
This was such a pleasant, fun and ghostly surprise!
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I adore Anton and PLEASE LET HIM NEVER CHANGE. He’s a dork and totally endearing.
It focuses on friendship and family and SWORDS (!!!) and fighting ghosts and conspiracy theories. And can we appreciate the fantastic cover art for a second?!? Because I have much love.
All I wanted was a nice simple life where I could hunt ghosts, do a part-time university course, be rich and famous and happy and have a talking alpaca. Was that too much to ask?
THANK YOU TO ALLEN & UNWIN AUSTRALIA FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. Gap Year In Ghost Town by Michael Pryor was published August, 2017.
The Marin family are outcasts of the ghost hunting world. They run a two-man operation in inner city Melbourne. Anton has the Ghost-sight, but his father does not.
Rani Cross is supremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat, with enhanced speed and strength thanks to her magical initiation into the Company of the Righteous.
When it comes to ghost-hunting methodology, Anton and Rani don’t see eye to eye – Anton likes to ‘ease their passage’ to the next world, while Rani’s all about the slashing.
But Melbourne is under threat; with a massive spike in violent ghost manifestations, Anton and Rani must find a way to work together to keep supernatural forces at bay.
And what with all the blindingly terrifying brushes with death, Anton must decide if he really wants in on the whole ghost hunting biz anyway.
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