AUTHOR: Naomi Hughes
RELEASES: September 18th, 2018; Page Street Publishing
AGE RANGE: YA
ACQUIRED: ARC (unsolicited)
SYNOPSIS: A horrific explosion levels part of the city and Camryn Kingfisher is the sole survivor.
Amidst controversy, conspiracy theories, and threats from government officials, Camryn longs for the truth. But the only person who she can turn to is a transparent boy in a lab coat named Quint. Unsure whether he’s a hallucination or a ghost, Camryn has no choice but to trust him as they become embroiled in a plot that is bigger than either of them realize.
In a race where the fabric of time and space is at stake, they must figure out who caused the explosion before the culprit comes back to finish Camryn―and her city―off for good.
To me, the hardest part about being a book blogger is when you find a book that feels like it could have worked for you, but somehow, it just didn’t quite make it—and then trying to review that book in actual, coherent words and phrases, when all you really know how to do is kind of shrug and go, “Eeeeehhhh…?”
Like an afterimage: the ghost of light that’s left behind when you’ve been staring at something too bright for too long.
That’s my issue with Afterimage in a nutshell. It isn’t a bad book by any means—I didn’t find it to be hurtful, or problematic, or even poorly written—it just didn’t do anything for me! So, I’m going to try to be as fair and just as possible in this review, because it’s absolutely the sort of book that has an intended audience who could probably love this a lot more than I did.
I want him to hurt the way I’ve been hurt. I know it’s not really his fault, I know he might not even be real, but at the moment he’s all I’ve got.
I want to get the negative aspects of this review over with: first and foremost, I know the synopsis even mentions a time/space issue, but it felt so forced and out of place. The book starts off as what feels like it should be a solid government conspiracy thriller/mystery, but when the sci-fi aspects were thrown it, it totally lost me. Even though I like space/timeline plots, in this instance, I would have enjoyed the story so much more without any of that. The other, smaller complaint that I have is the character writing. Camryn, the narrator, is annoying: she’s a jerk and doesn’t think things through at all for the first 100 pages or so, but she does progress as the story goes on. The side characters, however, really felt flat and uninspired from start to finish, so I couldn’t seem to connect with anyone.
Panic Disorder: a self-fulfilling prophecy of suck.
On the other hand, let me just say that I genuinely enjoyed the representation of Camryn’s panic disorder. As a reader with an anxiety disorder and panic attacks as a real aspect of my own mental health, I was able to relate to a solid amount of what she described. In particular, there’s a scene in the beginning where she explains that because she had a really bad panic attack at this one location, she now gets anxious when she tries to return there, because she’s scared she’ll trigger herself into a repeat event—that is such a legitimate fear that I struggle with, and I’ve never seen it put so specifically into words in a story, so I definitely related to that and appreciated Naomi Hughes adding it in!
So, yeah—all in all, not a bad read, it just didn’t work for me. That said, if the synopsis sounds interesting to you at all, I would one hundred percent suggest picking this one up and giving it a try, because I honestly believe Naomi Hughes’ writing has major potential to thrill a lot of people, and I would definitely be willing to check out future releases from her.
All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Page Street Publishing for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!