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Reviewed by Teresa Syms for Readers' Favorite
Spirit Talker, a novel by Rebecca Laffar-Smith, relates the story of Sara Brooks, a young Australian girl who for some reason is followed by ghosts. Since her mother’s death, six months earlier, Sara and her dad move across the country for a fresh start. Hoping that another major episode will not occur, Sara and her dad settle in and begin life again. She makes friends at school, enjoys her Saturday at the roller skating rink, and develops a tolerant relationship with her handsome neighbor, Will. Will seems sad and distant and is unaware that he is followed constantly by a little boy who Sara believes to be a ghost. Sara sees ‘people’ everywhere. She is finding it more difficult to tell real from spirit. Her friends begin to believe she is crazy when she is caught talking to something no one else can see but her. What Sara doesn’t tell her dad is that almost from the beginning in their new home she is visited by Grae, a handsome 17th-century young man who loves to write poetry for his lost love. As time progresses, Sara feels unsure about her psychiatrist and his constant recommendation that she participate in an in-patient program as he believes she is schizophrenic, and a strict, monitored treatment plan is the best approach. Sara flatly refuses and senses she can learn how to not only help her friend Will after his attempted suicide but comprehends her purpose also lies with helping the ghosts accomplish an uncompleted task in order to move on. What will happen to Sara without proper treatment? Will she go too far in her attempts to help Bobby and Will connect? Laffar-Smith highlights important aspects such as mental health issues while attempting to find one’s place in the world of the young.
Spirit Talker by Rebecca Laffar-Smith is a compelling book about a young girl trying desperately to cope with life and mental illness after the death of her mother while seeing ghosts everywhere she goes. Laffar-Smith’s character development is exceptional. Not only can the reader see, feel, hear and experience everything Sara and her friends do, but the reader also receives an exceptional depiction of the ghosts who visit and talk to Sara. Laffar-Smith’s plot and story development are to be applauded. I was captivated by the trials and tribulations of Sara and her friends as they experience life in the living world while the ghost realm invades Sara’s daily life. The author writes to give the reader an experience of what living with mental illness is like, and how it affects every aspect of life. An intimate knowledge of what it is like to live with mental illness completely adds to the credibility of this book. I offer high praise to Rebecca Laffar-Smith’s Spirit Talker. I will not forget this book for a very long time. Exceptional work!