This was a really good book! I will admit, I was a little skeptical to read "ghost" in the book description, but A Magic Dark & Bright totally proved me wrong. There's a well-developed plot beyond "ghost story" and fantastic 3-dimensional character development. Even the setting is rich!
The book kicks off at the start of summer in Asylum, PA. Amelia is navigating a new normal after the death of her brother a year prior, and her parents' divorce soon after. Now a new boy has moved in next door, and she can't help but be attracted to him, even though she grew up thinking that his grandmother (her next door neighbor) is a bona fide witch. Oh, and just a side note: she occasionally sees a ghost, a woman in white, in the woods near their houses.
That's why I loved this book: yes, there's magic and a ghost, but it's just one part of a much richer story. There's also the story of healing, and how Amelia is finding a way to move on and develop her own personality without her brother or father. And there's the story of friendship, both between Amelia and her best friend Leah, and the blossoming friendship (or more?) between Amelia and Charlie, the new guy next door. There's history: their town, Asylum, is so named because it was originally founded as an asylum for French immigrants plagued by rumors of dark happenings. And last but not least, there's also mystery: a series of explainable deaths, which many residents want to pin on Charlie.
The author does a fantastic job of weaving all of these story lines together to create a captivating novel. There were no plot holes, and I never saw the ending coming. I see it listed as a "Book 1" on Goodreads.com, and I look forward to a potential sequel!
*I received a copy of A Magic Dark & Bright from the author in exchange for my fair and honest review. Thank you!