Reviewed by Elise Chen, age 15

Where Echoes Lie by Shannon Schuren

In the heart of a small Kentucky town, under the spectral arc of the moonbow, “Where Echoes Lie” by Shannon Schuren unfolds the tale of Rena Faye, a girl caught between dreams as vivid as her photographs and the weight of family expectations haunted by the legend of the town’s ghost bride. Rena’s world, much like the moonbow gracing their motel, is colorless, her aspirations dismissed and her voice unheard. Despite everyone around her growing up near the falls knowing the tragic tale of the bride who walks the cliff on moonlit nights, Rena dismisses it as her grandmother’s fanciful stories. However, when Rena’s life unravels, she must confront the truth about her town and family history. Struggling against her mother’s skepticism, Rena becomes the sole guardian of her family’s legend. In a blur of suppressed rage, Rena rebels against her family, working at their competitor’s motel. There, she meets Arden, the owner’s son, sparking an affinity that complicates her already tangled heartstrings, with her boyfriend Chance, whom she breaks up with regarding her affair with Arden. The encounter with the ghost bride in the woods transforms the once-mere tale into her chilling reality, propelling Rena into a summer of discovery. As Rena delves into the legend, seeking hidden truths, buried secrets, and her own identity, she survives an attempted assault that tests her courage. Through this darkness, Rena finds her light, confronting family secrets, unraveling the truth of the ghost bride, and stepping into her power. Although I am usually drawn to paranormal thrillers like this one, this book lacked the suspense needed, and the author would sometimes stray off-topic with too many stories, it was slightly distracting from the suspenseful plot. In addition, I also wished to see Rena grow more as a person, such as navigating her family constraints and contemplating between her two lovers, instead of only focusing on the ghost bride. However, I did appreciate Schuren’s use of poetic language and how the overall aura that Rena radiates to everyone and the readers, as her story’s ending showed that she wasn’t afraid of anything, standing strong with her heart beating for what she believed in.

3.5 stars of 5 stars

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385 pages