Publication Date: August 30, 2012
In The Ghost Locket by D. Allen Wright, Kit, a 14-year-old art prodigy lost in an inner city wasteland. Julia is a mother who lost her husband and child. Fate or desperation bring the two together at a critical moment when Kit has a bad guy gunning for her. Can they both come out alive? The Ghost Locket is D. Allen Wright’s first novel.
If you were to read Wright’s biography, I suspect that this would be the last novel you’d have expected him to produce. Wright has been a soldier, a pilot, a fisherman, a graphic artist, etc. … and he writes a deeply emotional novel about love and loss with the 14-year-old girl as the central character. She is in deep trouble just by the very nature of her environment. I’d call this novel The Ghost Locket for girls. It’s gritty at points without ever losing that vital hope. I would not call this a young adult novel because of both violent and sexual content, I’d call this a novel for older teens.
Wright is to be applauded for his plotting in this story. Some of the points were predictable, but he did go where authors won’t usually go into the crafting of their story. His main character is frequently violent in a go big or go home kind of way. In one of the scenes when she faces off with a violent young man, Kit and her friends disable the young man. Some folks will recoil, but in the overall plotting, the violence speaks to the desperation of the characters and their situation. It’s been said that you’re either a victim or a hero, and the girls of the novel choose, when they can, to be heroes.
Wright is also to be applauded for the way in which he introduces the romantic interest, David, into the story. Sure, the romance story line is a little syrupy for this 41-year-old, but I remember the desperation of romance of the young teen years and the feeling that there was someone without whom life would be meaningless. Wright paints the relationship in an over-the-top literary way, but one that doesn’t ring as untrue.
There are, however, things that ring as untrue. The first major problem I had with the story was that the girls read far younger than they were. In the novel, Wright has a nearly 16-year-old girl who is just developing breasts and viewing them as a curse because she’s the only one in her class who has them. In another scene, he has Kit looking at herself in a mirror and thinking that her breasts have grown. Every girl, of course, is different, but breasts can start developing as early as 8 years. The breasts will reach full “maturity” around 16 or 17. Of course, breasts may appear larger or smaller with weight gain or loss throughout a women’s life. Do I expect someone who hasn’t lived through growing breasts to know this? Of course not.
The dialogue also lent itself to a younger child. The moment that stands out most to me is when Julia gives Emily the locket. They have a discussion early on in which Julia explains the locket to her and how it’s “kind of a family heirloom” and the discussion reads like one that a person would have with a very young child … more a 6 or 8-year-old than a girl on her sixteenth birthday.
Overall this was more of an emotional read than I like. If you’re into the great teen coming-of-age novels where a person rises from the ashes to become something great, this is a good story for you.
Read an excerpt and buy The Ghost Locket by D. Allen Wright on