Lily Dale: Awakening
Seventeen-year-old Calla Delaney’s life has been turned upside down ever since her mother’s tragic death. Only months before, Calla had thought that being dumped by her boyfriend Kevin via text message was the worst thing to happen to her. Now, memories of finding her mother’s body lying at the bottom of the stairs haunt her, making her wish they weren’t real and that this strong-willed woman was back with her and her father.
Meanwhile, Calla and her dad try to move forward with the family’s plan to relocate from Tampa, Florida, to California, where Mr. Delaney, a college professor, is going for a sabbatical. Justifiably, Calla can’t face the thought of leaving the only home she’s known or spending the rest of her summer break alone as her grief-stricken father finds them a new place to live. So shortly after her mother’s funeral, she promptly decides to go stay with her maternal grandmother Odelia, an endearing supposed eccentric whom she hasn’t seen in nearly a decade, in her mother’s hometown.
Lily Dale, New York, is definitely not what Calla was expecting. The small community, with its Victorian-era houses and gardens, is vastly different from the one that Calla had tried to imagine from the few stories of a past that Calla’s mother had been so reluctant to talk about with her family. There is also the surprising fact that the majority of Lily Dale’s residents are registered mediums --- and Odelia is one of them.
Later, this includes new friends Evangeline, and Jacy and Blue, two guys who are almost complete opposites but each of whom Calla is drawn to. Calla doesn’t know what to think or whether or not to believe in her grandmother’s gift until she begins experiencing strange phenomena of her own. At first she’s scared, but as surprising revelations continue to surface, Calla wonders if Lily Dale will help reveal her mother’s mysterious past and shed light on her own future.
Based on the actual community that founded Spiritualism in the late 19th century, LILY DALE: AWAKENING is the first book in Wendy Corsi Staub’s new YA paranormal suspense series about one girl’s path toward a new life as she tries to understand her family’s history. Readers will find this novel difficult to put down and will look forward to the second installment, BELIEVING, scheduled to be released in May 2008.
Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle on October 18, 2011