I ended up reading Summoner in only a few days in order to get my review posted on time, but I have a feeling I would have flown through it regardless, because it's just that kind of book! Allie reluctantly accompanies her friends to a cemetery to go "witching" as a dare. But while the others get a little creeped out and laugh it off, Allie hears a spirit calling to her, asking for help. Thus begins a series of nightmares and subsequent visits to the cemetery, in which Allie discovers she's fallen prey to the Summoner's curse, which must be broken before the spirit harms Allie and the ones she loves. In the mix is Cody, Allie's cute new next-door neighbor, who has secrets of his own but will do anything to protect her.
I'll admit that ghost stories aren't usually my thing, but I was willing to give this one a try since I highly respect the author both as a person and as a writer :) The creepy factor definitely made me glad I'm rarely home alone at night, but I liked how it all contributed to the mystery of the ghost's intentions and Allie's curse. I also loved how loss was handled in this book. Both Allie and Cody had lost a close family member, the way it affected their mindset and relationships felt very natural and insightful.
I loved Cody's character. Sweet, vulnerable, and protective, I fell for him right away as he showed a playful, humorous side while battling the darkness of past tragedies. And you've gotta love a guy who can cook :) My reaction to Allie was more mixed. I found it hard to relate to her rush to push her relationship with Cody beyond friendship, and her jealousy of other girls who interacted with Cody got a bit extreme at times. But on the other hand, her interactions with her dad were really touching and I appreciated how she went out of her way to let Cody know she accepted him for who he was and challenged him to move past his guilt and insecurities. As a couple, I enjoyed watching them get to know each other between banter and deeper conversations, and by the end my romantic sensibilities were quite satisfied :)
Despite my reservations about Allie and my occasional confusion about the curse, what really struck home for me about Summoner was the engaging writing style and the beautiful themes of self-forgiveness and loving and living to the fullest. For older teens looking for a well-written romance / ghost story, definitely check this one out!
You can purchase Summoner at Amazon, Amazon Australia, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, or Entangled. If you'd like to check out other stops on the blog tour, click on the banner at the top of the post. And don't miss the Facebook Summoner Release Party, which is taking place on Tuesday, Sept. 19th at 7:00 PM EDT! Here's the synopsis:
When Allie’s best friend dares their group to play a game in a cemetery—something she calls “witching”—Allie never expects what it might mean for her. When she plays, she doesn’t just find bodies, she summons their souls. But one soul wants more than Allie is willing to give.
And the boy next door could be the key to saving her.
Cody Burkhart. Straight from Montana, cowboy hat wearing, and smoking hot, he’s just the thing to help Allie become “normal” again after the death of her mother. And as her newly appointed Guardian, he’s also just the thing to help Allie ward off the vengeful spirit who’s after her soul. Except Cody has his own demons to slay that keep him closed off. But as the full moon approaches, so does their only chance to break the curse, and Cody will have to make the biggest sacrifice of all.
And here's a little bit about the author (S.D. Grimm also stopped by to do an interview with us last year, which you can find here):
S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency and author of SCARLET MOON. She currently has four books under contract, including the remainder of her YA fantasy series Children of the Blood Moon. When she’s not writing or editing, Sarah enjoys reading (of course!), practicing kickboxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu, training dogs, and binge-watching shows with great characters. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog. You can learn more about her upcoming novels at www.sdgrimm.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, Newsletter, Spotify, and Entangled Publishing.
Congratulations on your new release, Sarah!!
How do you feel about reading ghost stories? Do you have any favorites?
Thanks for reading!
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book*