Author: J. A. Templeton
Published: October 01, 2011
Buy: From Amazon UK
The Deepest Cut is a heart-felt book about a broken young girl, Riley, and her ability to see ghosts. After mourning the death of her mother, Riley and her family make a new start in Braemar, Scotland. Unfortunately for Riley, her irksome 'gift' doesn't become any more appealing to her on the other side of the ocean. Riley soon finds herself tangled up in a spot of ghostly bother, with a spiteful girl named Laria, who died over 200 years earlier, right at the heart of it. Finding out more about her abilities while struggling to deal with her emotional issues, Riley begins to realize that the dead can hurt the living. However, it isn't all grim and bleak in Riley's new life. She begins to fall in love. The only problem is, tall, dark and handsome happens to be a ghost. A ghost who is ready to move on to the other side...
This book did funny things to me. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, really, but when I hear 'ghost story' I automatically think 'scary'. That was the assumption I had made about this book before I started it so it did end up becoming a completely different reading experience. For a start, this book is not actually that scary. A few of the crazy-ghost-scenes bordered on creepy, but I didn't find it particularly chilling. (Though I do admit that reading the graveyard scene at two in the morning freaked me out a little!) Instead, I found this book to be a lot more emotionally driven. It is a sweet, compassionate tale about about girl who happens to have a lot going on. There are many personal problems in Riley's life, the biggest being her tendency to self-harm. She calls herself a 'cutter', describing each act of cutting as a way to release the inner pain that is devouring her. I'm still unable to untangle my thoughts on the inclusion of self-harm to the story, so I can't say for certain whether this aspect enhanced the book or felt unnecessary. At times, including the cutting allowed Riley to create a bigger impression on the reader. There is something about her personal struggle to stop herself that I found made her a more believable, layered character. However, sometimes it felt a bit forced into the story line, like such an idea didn't quite belong in this type of book.
My favorite aspect of The Deepest Cut is the heart-breaking love story. I am a romance junkie, so this book ticked the box for that point. Ian MacKinnon is achingly beautiful and the first boy Riley thinks she can begin to love. The fact that he is a ghost made their relationship all the more bittersweet. I did, at first, think Riley's reaction to him was a bit unoriginal, but as the story progresses, their feelings for each other becomes the most important reason why Riley is able to slowly draw out of her shell. J. A. Templeton handles the scenes between the two beautifully, making me want to both cry and swoon at the same time. It was perfectly presented, perhaps a bit too perfectly, as when the time for Ian to move on draws closer and closer, the reader realizes with a pang that the two can never actually be together.
When the end of the book does eventually arrive, there is another shock waiting round the corner. There is a quick entry of another character - Kade - who happens to belong to the MacKinnon bloodline and is also freakishly similar in looks to Ian. In fact, poor Riley stumbles for a minute, thinking he is Ian. Again, I'm unsure as to whether I think this was a good move or not. It was a bit too last-minute for me to appreciate more characters, especially when it is obvious Kade is a significant one. However, I am very much looking forward to finding out more about him and seeing where his character fits in in the sequel. Though I will be completely bummed if Kade turns out to be Ian's replacement!
And if that wasn't enough, the book ends on a sort-of cliffhanger. A sort-of cliffhanger is always better than a proper cliffhanger as I'm not left to agonizing over what will happen next, but it is enough to have me intrigued and eager to pick up the sequel.
Overall, The Deepest Cut is definitely a likable book, although slightly different to what I had imagined. J. A. Templeton has created a readable story with added elements of suspense, romance, and a little bit of creepy. I would definitely recommend this book, perhaps not so much as a must-read as it does have a handful of flaws, but more as a book worth noting down.
Rating: 3.5 stars