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Literary Friday: The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen

Friday, October 16, 2015

Happy Literary Friday!  I read the best YA book this week:  The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe.  But before I go any further, I must disclose that Howe is one of my favorite writers, and The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane is one of my all-time favorite books. You can read my review of The House of Velvet and Glass here.

I don't know how Katherine Howe managed to combine these genres: historical fiction, romance, paranormal, and contemporary urban fantasy so seamlessly, but she did.  The Apperance of Annie Van Sinderen is definitely a ghost story, but the word "ghost" is never once mentioned in the book.

Wes Aukerman is a midwestern college student attending NYU's summer school film workshop.  If he produces a superlative documentary over the summer it could be his ticket for admission into NYU's prestigious Tisch School of the Fine Arts.  While helping one of his friends in the workshop film a séance in the East Village, Wes meets a beautiful girl named Annie.  They form a friendship, but she tends to ditch Tyler at the most inopportune moments.  In spite of her flighty disposition, Tyler agrees to help Annie find her missing cameo ring.  

Annie is a lost ball in high weeds.  She calls herself a "Rip Van Winkle" because she thinks she's fallen asleep and awakened years later.  Only a few people in New York City seem to acknowledge her existence:  Wes, his roommate Eastlin, his filmmaker fiend, Tyler, and Maddie, a girl Wes has dated a couple of times.  Annie keeps slipping in and out of time, reliving a specific week in her life one moment only to be thrown into twenty-first century NYC the next.  Annie isn't sure about much these days, but she is certain she must find her missing cameo ring her boyfriend gave her, and she also suspects that her time is limited.

There is so much to love about this book, but I'll only share a few examples with you.  The book is divided into three sections:  Annie, Wes, and Wes and Annie.  In the third section, Howe's head hopping (changing points of view between Annie and Wes) is perfectly written.  I hate reading romances where this is done poorly.  Not only are Wes's and Annie's characters well-developed, but so are their friends' characters.  New York City is a star in this book.  Howe magically depicts her change and growth over the centuries.  Truly, it's incredible.  I can only imagine the amount of research it must have taken to describe early nineteenth-century New York.  I also enjoyed the pace of the plot and the sense of urgency as Annie's week progresses.  Oh!  Also, there is a VERY SPECIAL cameo appearance at the end of the book that had me giggling out loud.  

The ending isn't quite what I thought it would be.  I thought that because it was {partly} a romance that the ending would be a bit more tidy, but I have several unanswered questions even after having read the epilogue numerous times.  But memory and history are tricky things, are they not?

I recommend this book to all older teens and adults.  It is a fantastic ghost story just in time for Halloween!

Read anything scary lately? Please share!  This is a linky!

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. This book sounds interesting with a touch of magic, romance, and mystery.

  2. Sounds like an interesting read. Love the cover!

  3. It sounds lovely, and I'm amazed by Howe's continual ability to weave contemporary and historical together. It sounds like it's got a slight creep factor, but is favorite things! Thanks for putting it on my radar. :D

  4. I love a spooky book for Halloween! I read the The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane several years ago and "cooked" it for Food for Thought. I'll have to add this to my Audible wish list. :)

  5. Changing POV used to be the kiss of death for an author. No matter how well it was done, publishers would reject the manuscript. So, does this mean readers are more sophisticated now and publishers more open? Interesting.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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