“One Hundred Candles” by Mara Purnhagen
Often when you put teenager and ghosts together in one story you end up with “the Scooby Gang” as Buffy called he friends, which in turn was a reference to the Hanna Barbara animated series “Scooby Doo Where Are You?” that began back in the sixties.
There is no “Scooby Gang” to be found in the PAST MIDNIGHT series of Young Adult novels by Mara Purnhagen.
Instead we have Charlotte Silver, her family, and friends having to deal with the ordinary struggles of high school life. From struggles with schoolwork, getting a first boyfriend, and the concerns of a family in trouble. These day-to-day struggles only become all the more important when a real supernatural threat enters their lives. A potential divorce is more dangerous than a demon.
Though Charlotte’s parents are paranormal investigators, the story has never been about hunting down ghosts. Her father doesn’t believe in ghosts, it’s just residual energy. It’s about a young woman seeking an ordinary life, and not loosing it when its finally in her grasp.
In a previous review I described “Raising the Dead”, Purnhagen’s novella that takes place between PAST MIDNIGHT and ONE HUNDRED CANDLES as a weekend jaunt. A wonderful little story but has no major impact upon our characters or the world they lived in. I can certainly say that we are deep into the workweek with ONE HUNDRED CANDLES.
The threats have grown for Charlotte; socially, personally, and supernaturally. When it’s over, things can never go back the way they were.
As to Purnhagen’s writing style, I found something quite interesting in ONE HUNDRED CANDLES that I hadn’t notice in the earlier books. She would start a chapter at one point and then jump back and fourth telling the reader of the events that lead up to that moment before finally moving on. Truthfully, I was confuse at first and it took a few chapters to get use to, but then I began to look forward to seeing how she would start off the next chapter. It was a really fun and interesting way to keep us inside Charlotte’s mind and point of view of events around her.
It’s going to be hard to write further reviews of the PAST MIDNIGHT series, as I’ve really been enjoying them and looking forward to the next. Won’t be able to give a non-biased opinion to the next book in the series.
ONE HUNDRED CANDLES burns brightly Mara Purnhagen.
Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity.