It's 1985 and fifteen-year-old Lauren's life hasn't been the same since her father was found brutally murdered. Strangely, no one wants to talk about his death or how it happened. Lauren's best friend Miranda has become more interested in clothes, make-up and boys, and no longer wants to hang out with Lauren at the old ghost tree. But when the remains of two teenage girls are found and Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging them through the woods, she knows that she will have to be the one to do something no matter what anyone else believes.
The Ghost Tree is told from multiple viewpoints. This works really well, plunging you into the story right away. As well as Lauren, still grieving for her father, there is Karen (Lauren's mother) trying to cope with two children, both of whom seem to have have unsettling 'visions'. There is also the Lopez family, recently moved to town, who have to deal with their neighbour's blatant racism and the realisation that there's something not quite 'right' about Smith's Hollow.
I loved the 80s vibe and the Scooby-Doo-ish kids-fighting-supernatural evil. The gothic horror was a little dark in places for a YA novel (although I think this is supposed to be aimed at adults?) but there is lots of coming-of-age stuff and the trials of being a teenager. It's basically a fab Sleepy Hollow/Stranger Things/IT mash-up and Lauren's grandmother (who lives in a big old house on a hill, naturally) telling fabulous far-fetched stories about witches and curses, was the icing on the cake. I do hope there is a sequel!
If you like spooky, supernatural horror then this is the book for you - although I do feel it's more suited to a YA audience. A solid five stars from me.
Thank you to Christina Henry and Titan Books for my copy of this book, which I requested through NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.