Do you love a great ghost story? Do you love a book that will not let you out of its clutches once you have opened its cover? How about a story that is so engrossing that time passes like the blink of an eye? If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, I suggest you run — quickly — to pick up a copy of DFF: Dead Friends Forever by J.R. Turner. In all honesty, this is one of the best ghost/paranormal stories I have read in a very long time. Yes, it is geared toward young adults, but at the age of 35 I loved it. DFF contains suspense, horror, realistic and believable ghost and paranormal occurrences (yes, I am a believer in such things), as well as friendship, determination and loyalty.
Kaylee Hensler is a normal girl with a normal life until one eveningshe is dared to go into a haunted house — the Larson House. If she doesn't go through with the dare, she will not be allowed access to the skate park, says the town bully. Swallowing her trepidation, Kaylee enters the decrepit old house and all goes well until the presence of a murdered and decaying young girl makes herself known. If that isn't bad enough, there is a malicious presence that has nothing but torture and murder in mind, sucking the very air from the house and surrounding Kaylee. Running from the house, she swears never to return. The ghosts, however, have different ideas and ones that will change Kaylee and her life forever.
J.R. Turner does such an excellent job with description and characterization that the reader is quickly and easily transported into the story itself. The mystery and haunting aspects are phenomenal. I love both Kaylee and her friend Davey. They have such a tight and loyal bond and Kaylee's emotional strength is outstanding. Watching as she grows and learns about her true self is incredibly rewarding. The reader will even come to love the ghost of Isabelle as he realizes that she is reaching out with an aching heart to break free from the eternal damnation she is facing here on earth, none of which is her fault, but the fault of her vicious murderer. Her only desire is to have her soul set free to spend eternity in peace rather than pain and fear.
Truly, I cannot say enough great things about DFF: Dead Friends Forever. I was in a horrible reading slump when I received this book. I could not focus on any book; nothing would hold my attention. After a bit of thought, I decided to pick up DFF and began reading. Before I knew it, I was almost 100 pages into the book and so completely hooked that I did not want to put it down. I am so thankful to both the author and this story for bringing me out of my slump. DFF: Dead Friends Forever is the first in the Extreme Hauntings series and I am anxiously awaiting the next (I have been told it is to be released this fall, so my fingers and toes are tightly crossed).
For anyone who loves a great ghost story, I highly recommend DFF: Dead Friends Forever. Whether you are a young adult or full-grown adult, male or female, this book will stick with you. This is a new favorite book for 2009 for me!
An excerpt of the first three chapters is available on the author's website.