When her parents leave on a mysterious business trip, Emma Vaile has the perfect excuse to rebel throw some parties, get a tattoo (or maybe just a piercing), and enjoy the first few weeks of junior years. But when the cops crash her party, she finds herself in the hands of a new guardian her college-age knight in J.Crew armor, Bennett Stern and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.
After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friend with the popular legacy crowd but can’t shake the strange vision that are haunting her. She has memories of Thatcher she can’t explain, as if she’s returning home to a place she’s never been. Emma doesn’t trust anyone anymore expect maybe Bennett. And he’s about to reveal a ghostly secret, one that will explain the vision ... and make Emma fear for her life.
When Deception first came out this summer, I read some great reviews, which of course made me want to read the book for myself. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed.
Deception introduces Emma Vaile, a normal teenager, whose family runs an antiquities shop in San Francisco. The plot quickly turns fast-paced, and Emma’s life turns into a nightmare when she throws a party that gets busted by the police, who find out she has been left alone by her parents. Enter Bennett Stern, a college friend of her brother, and to Emma’s surprise her guardian. While I found this set up a tad far-fetched, I also found myself going with it for the sake of the story and once over that bump, my curiosity got the better of me. Bennett sweeps in and uproots Emma to his home in Boston and to a new private school. Once there, Emma begins to have visions of another time attached to her new surroundings. Fearing she is going crazy (again) she does her best to ignore them.
What I like best about Lee Nichols' debut novel was the mystery behind what was happening to Emma. Nichols builds suspense throughout the story by revealing little bits of information slowly, but steadily. I found myself with lots of questions, but just as quickly as they formed, Nichols would provide enough of an answer that I then moved on the next question.The plot has some very interesting twists, which made the mystery fresh and unpredictable.
I also liked Nichols complete cast of characters. Emma was a very well rounded character. She has been left alone many times by her parents and does a good job at the whole being responsible thing. When things wrong Emma calmly takes it in stride and doesn’t freak out the way most teens would in the same situation. However, internally she worries a lot, and with good cause. Her ability to see ghosts is tied to a dark and sinister twist in the plot and one that kept me quickly turning pages. Along with Emma’s character, I was also fascinated with her guardian Bennett, who Emma has a crush on. His character is a bit of an enigma, and like Emma, I was frustrated by his on again off again attentions.I also found the various characters at Emma's new school to be realistically imagined, and added an authentic touch to the story.