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The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson - review

The yard of this house is a graveyard of moments and everything left behind is a clue. And I am here to dig.

Title: The Moment Collector
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson

Publisher: Hachette Children's Books
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Available: August 7th
Buy it: Pre-order here

Synopsis

Maggie and her family have moved to Gill Creek - a remote town with few people, and fewer things to do. However, something is attracting a lot of attention; girls are going missing and turning up dead in the lake. As suspicions grow between the Gill Creek residents, Maggie finds herself experiencing her own small town troubles, as she befriends the aloof and alluring Pauline, and falls for thoughtful, but lovelorn, Liam.

Review

The Moment Collector is a really atmospheric look at close friendships in an almost suffocating environment. One of the best parts of this novel is the great characterisation of Pauline, Liam and Maggie - all of whom I found to be worthy of the "tragically beautiful" label! Each of them has such a vulnerability, a thankless obsession and a sense of love and loyalty. I found them to be the type of characters that can *only* exist in a book - but that's no bad thing! Sometimes, watching willowy, aloof, introspective teens doing the things they do has us wishing for a life like theirs. And often, I did!

If there was one word I would use to describe The Moment Collector best, it would be "gentle", which seems an odd sort of word for a book. However, the mood set by the characters we are aligned with has no real sense of urgency. They live their life, bit by bit, day by day, moment by moment - despite the horrific things happening around them. They still have moments to fall in love, to notice the small things, to be a daughter, a lover, a friend... And then, there is the ghost.

The ghost of The Moment Collector was both unexpected and the best part of the book. The writing, the sense of being, the observations - they were all wonderful and I can't help but feel the ghost's chapters were too few and far between! The chapters complimented the style of the three friends so well, it seemed almost natural to have something very unnatural in the narrative.

However, I found the intrigue, novelty and mystery of the characters and the plot wore a little thin in the second half of the book. Key plot drivers - such as the murders - almost waned into insignificance and the focus of the book shifted from life and its quirks to almost standard teen drama; which was a little disappointing after such a unique start.

Overall

A brilliant and mysterious start builds to reveal something of a disappointing second half. I felt key plot themes were left under-developed, but really enjoyed the characters and atmosphere of this not-quite-a-ghost-story ghost-story!

Score 
★★★

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