There are three things you should know about me if we’re ever going to be friends. The first thing is my name – Freya Jackson Kramer…The second things is that I don’t believe in ghosts – not the scary white sheet, boogie-woogie type of ghost anyway…And the third thing is that I believe in karma.
Freya does not want to spend her school holidays staying with her grandmother at Vinegar House, but her parents need to race off to visit her other grandmother (Nanna) overseas, and they don’t trust her to stay home alone, so Grandma Vinegar’s house it is. At least it will give her a chance to escape the chaos which a compromising photo of her on Facebook has caused. Vinegar House is filled with secrets – and the presence of her annoying cousin Freya, who is also holidaying there. There’s also the presence of Luke Hart, who Freya used to have a huge crush on, until he had a fling with Rumer. But is there another presence? One that might explain the light in the attic and the taps that run late at night?
Love Notes from Vinegar House is part ghost story, part coming of age tale, managing to be funny, touching and scary. Freya is a likable first person narrator, who shares her experiences in a sometimes self-deprecating, chatty manner, so that we are taken on her journey of discovery where she learns more about herself, her cousin and her extended family. The setting, too, will delight – a Gothic-style house perched on cliffs overlooking an Australian beach, with a mix of characters from contemporary teens to a grumpy, mysterious housekeeper.
A compelling young adult novel.
Love Notes from Vinegar House, by Karen Tayleur
Black Dog Books, 2012
This book is available from good bookstores or online from Fispond.