Charlotte Alexandra Long is determined to create her own life, but severe reverberations await her at the crossroads of each decision and always the possibility that the very thing she put in place on her own terms could be wiped away by an uncertain future. As Pepper’s Ghost weaves in and out of her experiences as a teen and young adult, and locations in the South and Midwest, Alex emerges from the remains of young Charlotte, but her evolving identity will never escape being an outsider in society’s eyes. After a series of ill-fitting jobs, Alex joins a traveling amusement company as a sideshow performer, where illusion and reality interplay through the metaphor of an old theater trick. She faces challenges from her troubled but devoted father, her self-absorbed mother, a spectrum of circus employees, and emotional ties to memories and places that give solace in times of ambiguity and loneliness.
Rating: 4 stars
Pepper’s Ghost by William Auten is a YA read that will lure readers into its depth. The young character, Charlotte Alexandra, aka Alex, is interesting. She is unlike most leading female characters. What she really is surprised me…her journey was one wild roller-coaster ride after another. The dynamics of family life are played throughout this read. The parents make the life for Alex a bit more complex than should be. I liked how as a main character she was constantly challenged. Alex took on each challenge moving through life the best she could do. Sometimes things worked out and sometimes not. William Auten portrayed the realities of life along with fantasy in way the just made readers like myself more curious. Memories…and emotions were strong, it was easy to be swept up within them. Pepper’s Ghost is a coming of age tale that comes off as entertaining, mysterious, and deep. The plot was developed and the pace was steady. Overall, I recommend it to all.