Published: August 4th, 2015
Publisher: Soho Teen
Sixteen-year-old Kara McKinley is about to realize her dream of becoming a professional baker. Beautifully designed and piped, her cookies are masterpieces, but also her ticket out of rainy Seattle—if she wins the upcoming national baking competition and its scholarship prize to culinary school in California. Kara can no longer stand the home where her family lived, laughed, and ultimately imploded after her mean-spirited big sister Kellen died in a drowning accident. Kara’s dad has since fled, and her mom has turned from a high-powered attorney into a nutty holy-rolling Christian fundamentalist peddling “Soul Soup” in the family café. All Kara has left are memories of better times.
But the past holds many secrets, and they come to light as Kara faces a secret terror. Someone is leaving her handwritten notes. Someone who knows exactly where she is and what’s she’s doing. As they lead her to piece together the events that preceded Kellen’s terrible, life-changing betrayal years before, she starts to catch glimpses of her dead sister: an unwelcome ghost in filthy Ugg boots. If Kara doesn’t figure out who her stalker is, and soon, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. Even her life.
On the surface From Where I Watch You is reasonably light-hearted with a bit of humour, but underneath it all is a nasty insidious darkness that worms its way into you and gave me a decided case of the shivers. I liked Kara's character, and generally found her to be quite sensible but for one howling problem - why would she not tell someone - anyone - about the notes she's receiving. I can understand that she doesn't tell people she's seeing her sister's ghost - but threatening notes, hmmmm!
I have to admit though that I had no idea who the stalker was. Did not see it coming! So that was a major plus for keeping the suspense up. The tension level ratchets up fairly slowly, but it never let's go and I liked that. Kara's Mum? What a sweetheart. I could just picture her waltzing around the cafe with her Jesus soup. She made me smile and I could understand why she had chosen that path after what had happened. Charlie I loved. He was so laid back yet so appealing and I loved the slow burn of the romance between Kara and him, he would totally have helped with the nasty note issue - why didn't Kara tell him?
All in all From Where I Watch You was a nice reading surprise that I ended up enjoying. It's a bit of a ghost story, a bit of a love story and a bit of a mystery that all melds together into a cohesive whole and I'll be interested to see what Ms Grogan pens next.