‘The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen’ by Katherine Howe


Rating: 4 1/2 stars

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Katherine Howe delivers a wonderful story that melds the past and the present in “The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen.” The story begins in the present in New York with a college film student and a séance. When a mysterious girl appears, the ghostly intrigue begins.

Wes, the film student, meets Annie Van Sinderen, and right away there’s something not quite right about her. He also meets Maddie, a girl who seems quite the opposite of Annie. Where Annie is quiet and elegantly dressed in an old-fashioned dress, Maddie is tattooed and dressed in combat boots.

Maddie loves to eat while Annie can’t seem to bring herself to eat anything. And while Maddie knows her way around the city, everything seems new and surprising to Annie. Of course, it comes out that Annie is a ghost searching for a ring she has lost. Somehow, the ring is important to her.

Along the way on this adventure, Howe introduces many supporting characters who are well developed as well. Wes’ gay roommate adds clever and witty dialogue to the story, and Herschel’s Jewish beginnings and Annie’s Dutch family add to the historical New York element.

Howe handles the transitions from modern day to Annie’s life in the past effectively, and she handles explaining the changes that happen to Annie’s past effortlessly. The changes to the past because of what Annie learns in the future affect more than just the past, although that isn’t apparent until almost the last page. This is a lovely story that will charm and delight young adult readers who enjoy fantasy and historical fiction.

Please note: This review is based on the hardcover copy of the book provided by the publisher, Putnam, for review purposes.