Portraits of Celina by Sue Whiting
On 1st April 2013, Portraits of Celina the new YA novel from Sue Whiting was released. Don’t let the release date fool you this YA novel is nothing short of a masterpiece.
I had barely turned the first page before the book had me hypnotised and willing myself to read faster. Each page is infused with emotion, tragedy and the promise of an unforgettable ride. I wasn't able to exhale until the last page.
Bayley Anderson, her older sister, Amelia and younger brother, Seth suddenly find their world turned upside down with the tragic death of their father. Bayley who witnessed her father's accident must take over from her mother who has been emotionally crippled with the loss of her husband.
The opening line of the book reads: The day I turned sixteen was the day we buried my father. Immediately you feel for this girl, I mean imagine losing your father around the age when you need him most.
Unable to cope with her old life and the constant reminder of her late husband, Kate moves her family from their Cronulla home to the uncertainty of the country. To a house filled with secrets and unanswered questions for almost forty years.
Bayley's room holds a valuable clue to the house's past. An old chest filled with memories, clothes and more of Celina O'Malley than anyone realises, consumes Bayley's existence.
The move to Tallowood does little to curb Amelia's self-destructive behaviour. Seth dances with death and although Bayley is trying her best to make everything normal, nothing could be further from the truth. Before too long Bayley herself is fighting to keep her identity and not be lost to ghosts from the past.
Oliver, his father Bob, mother Annie and reclusive grandfather Bud are the Anderson's closest neighbours, only a lake separates them.
Just as everything seems hopeless, Gran, the family matriarch arrives to pull them from their darkness.
Between Bud's midnight wanderings, Amelia's disappearing acts and Bayley's constant dizzy spells. The thought of romance is the furthest thing from her mind. And when she meets Oliver's dad, Bob, the chemistry is both electric and un-nerving. Is she losing her mind?
Past lives of Karinya are intertwined with the present and all at the hands of Celina O'Malley.
A soul taken too soon who is hell bent on revenge and uses the only means she knows how to orchestrate it, Bayley Anderson.
This book will not only appeal to the YA reader but is also well suited to the adult market. Sue's descriptive technique of the characters is flawless. It's an adventure, often dark always spine tingling and without any fluff. Be prepared for a roller coaster ride of emotions before a climatic finish of volcanic proportions.
Everything from cover to cover with the journey in between is captivating. I loved Portraits of Celina and know you will too. An intricate web of love, loss, manipulation and so much more.
CKT Book Reviewer