Author: Suzy Turner
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating: 3 Stars
Description/Synopsis: When tragedy falls upon 15 year old Daisy Madigan, she escapes to the only place she feels safe, the cemetery of Abney Park. There, in the company of the dearly departed, she realises she is changing, growing stronger and faster by the day. But in the darkness lurks a terror even she can’t imagine facing.
Daisy Madigan’s Paradise is a Morgan Sisters novella. Check out The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw, the full length first novel in the series.
WARNING – SPOILERS WILL ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – DETAILED REVIEW BELOW
Have I mentioned that I dislike novellas? This wasn’t much of an exception. It got off to a promising start: Daisy Madigan, a red-headed girl finds out that her mother has died in a car accident, and with news of this tragedy, her father falls apart. Previously a happy, healthy family, Daisy’s father Beau becomes a neglectful alcoholic and ends up abandoning his daughter. The ever resourceful Daisy tries to cope with her father’s inability to function as best she can, but amidst the emerging of some strange new powers and a tattoo that pops up on her back out of nowhere – Daisy’s a bit overwhelmed.
In the end, Daisy’s father disappears in a drunk stupor, and Daisy is left on her own. They lose the house, and she quickly becomes a homeless squatter in the local cemetery. She survives off the charity of a local Indian couple and her friendship with an older boy who hangs out in the cemetery sometimes. That is until her friend dies in a fire that takes the lives of his parents as well.
That doesn’t stop Daisy from seeing her friend however, she’s got a newly acquired power: she can see and communicate with ghosts. Unfortunately, not long thereafter, an evil group of teenagers (two of which turn out to be werewolves!) start sucking the memories and energy out of the cemetery ghosts that Daisy has sworn to help.
Now, I had a problem with the beginning of this book. It was well-written, and it was engaging – BUT, without having read the cover synopsis, I had no idea what age Daisy was to begin with. Daisy’s voice in the narration was so juvenile that I honestly thought she was in elementary school (maybe 7-10) until much later when it was explained that she was actually 15. It’s not good when we can’t tell the relative age of a character by their voice alone. I think this was a case of the author trying too hard to sound young (I assume she is an older adult), and overshooting her reach a bit.
For the most part, I found the writing clear and easy to feel engaged in – but there was a lot of glossing over time (as is pretty common with novellas unfortunately). I really hated Daisy’s father Beau as a character. The author paints Daisy’s parents as the ideal parents – loving, involved… and then with his wife’s death, Beau just falls apart. He doesn’t pay bills, he doesn’t go to work, he ignores Daisy entirely. He just drinks himself into a stupor (despite the fact that he knows what’s going on with Daisy and her new powers). For whatever reason, he just can’t seem to care. I can understand a person being grief stricken, but I don’t know that many parents who wouldn’t suck it up to take care of their children. Maybe they wouldn’t be perfect anymore, but they’d at least put forth a little effort. I found myself greatly disappointed in Beau.
I liked Daisy. She was determined to make it even with so little help from her father. She had morals, and she kept optimistic. Her friend (I want to say his name was Jack, but I honestly don’t remember at this moment), was also a nice boy – though at first he came across as a bit creepy… Daisy’s words, not mine. He was a good friend and refused to pass on into the light simply because he knew Daisy needed him. I really liked the friendship between these two characters, and was only slightly disappointed when he passed on with the words “I love you.” I’m hoping they meant as friends, because romantic they were not.
I’ll admit I didn’t read the first book in this series – I don’t even know what it’s called, but I do think I’ve missed something by not having read it. Even at the end of this short novella, I had no idea what was going on with Daisy and her whacky powers. I knew werewolves existed and they were working with these evil soul-sucking teenagers, but I don’t know why. A lot of questions were left unanswered.
Overall, it was a good little story, but I wish there had been more to it. I’d love to have seen some explanations of what was going on, and I wish the author hadn’t skimmed over events as much. I’d still recommend it as a fun afternoon read though.