Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe

Pages: 400
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: September 15, 2015
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie. As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose petal lips and her entrancing glow. But there’s something about her that he can’t put his finger on that makes him wonder about this intriguing hipster girl from the Village. Why does she use such strange slang? Why does she always seem so reserved and distant? And, most importantly, why does he only seem to run into her on one block near the Bowery? Annie’s hiding something, a dark secret from her past that may be the answer to all of Wes’s questions ."

Wes, an aspiring filmmaker, is spending his summer at NYU studying film.  While on assignment with his roommate, he comes across a strange girl when filming.  He can't stop thinking about her.  When he tracks her down after the fact, he comes to find that her name is Annie and she lives in the city as well, but she's not your usual city girl.  In fact, she is really different.  Her hair is different, her clothes are different, her slang is different, you get the idea.  As Wes spends more time with her, he learns that she's a ghost (but Wes never actually uses the word ghost!) and Annie needs his help. Why is she stuck here? Why can only Wes see her? Who really is Annie? The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Catherine Howe is an eerie and haunting ghost story perfect for the fall season.

Usually when a female writes a male protagonist, I have issues with how it sounds and whether it feels authentic, but Howe did an excellent job. I think she captured Wes very well and it was believable. When he first sees Annie, I felt like he was just intrigued.  It was almost like he couldn't look away and then feelings grew from there.  We all sort of knew she was a ghost, but Howe purposely never uses the word ghost in The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen.

Howe also captured Annie very well and the flashbacks to 1825. The chapters that Annie narrated were confusing as well as frantic at times as Annie is sort of a mess and also confused as to why she is "here" in present day New York City. I love the historical fiction aspects of this book and how Howe merged them with not only present day, but she also gave readers some supernatural elements as well.  The more we learned about Annie's past, the more I was interested in her.

Unfortunately, I wasn't overly convinced with the love story in 
The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen.  I just wasn't feeling the sparks, so this aspect of the book disappointed me.

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen was an eerie read, which means it would be perfect for the fall/Halloween season.  Although it wasn't my favorite read and some aspects of the novel were less than stellar, I still liked how Howe combined historical fiction, fantasy and contemporary fiction.  


  1. This does look kind of interesting with the "ghost" angle. I agree that it sounds like a great book for Halloween/fall reading. Isn't this the same author that wrote The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane?

    1. I believe she did write Deliverance Dane, although I haven't read it. I do want to check it out though. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  2. Ooooh, this DOES sound like a good fall/Halloween read, Christina! I'm definitely intrigued by the fact that it includes so many different elements; thanks for sharing this one!

    1. It really is a great book for this upcoming fall season. Thanks for visiting, Tara!

  3. Too bad the romance didn't quite work for you, but the characters / flashbacks sound great (I especially like stories that connect past & present - it's always fascinating). I'll add it to my reading list for October!

    Nice review :)

    1. Me too...I really enjoy when authors combine history and fantasy elements. Thanks for visiting, Lea! I hope you get to read it soon.

  4. Kinda curious why he just doesn't use the word, "ghost". If it walks like a duck....


  5. I had high hopes for this one from the synopsis but it sounds like just an OK read. I think I'll skip it! I have Conversion by the same author on my TBR which also sounds pretty amazing - but I've seen a lot of very mixed (mostly negative!) reviews.


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