Cassidy is being hunted, she doesn’t know by what. But being in New Orleans – her parents’ latest stop on their paranormal TV show – isn’t making the situation better. With overlapping layers of history, Cass must call on her new friend Lara to help her navigate, and with Lara’s help, they find a paranormal society who might have information they can use.
That’s a terrible description but I’m trying to avoid spoilers for the first two books.
I’ve been looking forward to this book for the last two years, through multiple delays re: covid. It’s a cute, creepy series, middle-grade level, and I really enjoyed the first two books. Unfortunately, this one took me ages to get through. It shouldn’t have. I loved the story, loved revisiting the characters, and thought so much about the book was good. But OMG setting is such an important part of a book, and y’all? I despise New Orleans.
Back in 1996, I went to Nola for the first time to visit a college, the only one my family could afford to take me to visit. It was sweltering, hot and humid, sticky, stinky, and horrible. I immediately decided I would not be going to school in Nola. Then in 2009, my family went there for vacation. I personally thought that my hatred of Nola was entirely due to it being summer when I was there, so we went in December, between Christmas and New Years. At first, I thought I enjoyed it – when I was in my hotel in the suburbs of Metairie, no where near downtown. The second we approached Jackson Square, though, gag gag gag. Reading this book, I realized just why I detest Nola so much. It’s the embodiment of chaos. There is no order to the place, and that’s what people love about it. It explodes with music (often jazz, which I also hate), noise, and disorder. People embrace that, and add to the chaos. Chaos is anathema to me. I’m constantly overstimulated, stressed out, anxious, and overwhelmed in Nola. I can’t wait to get out of the city as fast as possible.
So, reading a book set there, where the setting is an extremely important and interwoven part of the story, was tough. I kept putting the book away after five minutes of reading because I would be overwhelmed with mere idea of Nola. Eventually, the story moved a bit further away from the setting, and I was able to get through the last half of the book more quickly, but MAN this was a tough one to read. I’m still looking forward to the next installment – which won’t be in Nola – and reading this really taught me just how strongly an impact setting can have on a reader!