Deception is Lee Nichols’ YA debut, following five adult novels. I knew after reading the summary that this was the kind of book I would have loved to read as a kid. Growing up, you couldn’t tear me away from ghost stories and horror novels. If you threw in boarding school settings, I was all the happier. I can’t even tell you how many times I read and reread Lois Duncan’s Down a Dark Hall. I tend to prefer realistic fiction these days, but reading Deception was fun for nostalgia’s sake.
When Emma gets shipped off to Boston after being deserted by her family, she begins to see ghosts for the first time since she was a child. As a kid, Emma had been put away in a mental ward briefly because of her visions, and she becomes very nervous about her sanity when she starts seeing things again. (More than once, I envisioned her saying, “I see dead people,” in a Sixth Sense-esque fashion.) Emma soon finds out that her visions are more real than she could ever have imagined, and that while some ghosts are friendly, others can be very, very dangerous.
This was a fun, fast read that moved along rapidly. There were a few times that I was tempted to start skipping ahead, but once I hit the major cliffhanger ending I knew I would not be able to skip any other books in the Haunting Emma series. Even if the majority of Deception doesn’t grip you, you won’t be able to resist the mystery you’re left with on the last page.