Book Review: A Certain Slant of Light

Summary: A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb is a surreal romance about two ghosts, or 'light' as they call themselves. The protagonist, Helen, meets a boy named James who is able to see her while haunting her host Mr. Brown at the local high school. Her fear is quickly turned to curiosity, and then to something much deeper as she learns that he too is light, but has learned to inhabit the body of one of the quick (living beings). They proceed to find her a human body to inhabit as well, and the two fall deeply in love. But their intrusions have repercussions, and they find that they have tangled the fates of the families they have become part of hopelessly and irrevocably.


Overall, this book grew on me. When I began it I was very skeptical, and found the plot line simple and rather predictable. However, as I continued to read, I became more invested in the story and characters. So if you do pick up this book, give it a few chapters before you set it aside.

My favorite part of this book was definitely the language. It was incredibly poetic, and full of rich, colorful figurative language. I would say the main reason I enjoyed the book was the writing style and the aesthetic of the book in general.

As for the plot, I had some parts I loved and some parts I found annoying. First of all, I was confused by the fact that they were actually adults, but chose to inhabit the bodies of teenagers. Although it would've been one thing if they acted like adults, they seemed to have the maturity and mindsets of typical sixteen or seventeen year olds. Moreover, being a YA book, I feel it would've made more sense to just have them be young adults instead of trying to make a person who is in a teenager's body but still acting like an adult. It just made it confusing. The love story itself was very basic, and I thought it was annoying how quickly they fell in love ((like in two pages it seemed like)). The concept itself was intriguing, and I like the take on haunting and ghosts. I wish that it had been a little creepier though, although I don't think that's the direction the author was trying to take it. I really liked the families of the two people Helen and James possessed, and I think their interaction with the light was really interesting to read. I especially enjoyed reading about Jenny's (or Helen's) family, and I think that their dynamic was so interesting to explore. Whitcomb did an awesome job showing the families' interactions but still leaving the reader to form their own inferences and opinions, which is the mark of a truly good writer, and I applaud her.

For me, the ending of this book was one of it's strongest points. I was moved, and I liked the way it neatly concluded the book while still leaving room for the imagination to elaborate more on the story. The message itself was also so meaningful, and I think that it closed the book perfectly.

Overall, this book is a pleasant read. It's quick and will leave you with a happy, if slightly nostalgic, impression, an I would recommend placing it in between denser or more emotional reads.

What did you think of A Certain Slant of Light? Did you find the language intriguing? The love story basic? Comment below!

I just discovered there is a sequel to this book-- I think I'll pick it up soon. Let me know if you'd enjoy a review on that as well.


  1. Ohhh I'd love a review of the sequel!

    This book has such a lovely title <3 and oh my, the plot line with the families sounds really interesting!

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. Yeah- super interesting. And I agree, the title is so perfect. The language the writer uses is reflected a lot in the title. I'll have to grab the sequel then-- thanks for the comment Ellie <3