The first time I read Wuthering Heights, I was 13. The scene that hooked me happens early in the novel, when Lockwood — the out-of-towner — is woken by a ghostly girl trying to get in his bedroom window.
It’s the spirit of the long-dead Cathy, wandering the snowy moors, begging to be let in, and pining for the mad, bad, and dangerous-to-know Heathcliff. A love story with a supernatural twist: it’s hard to resist its allure. Sinister romance, doomed passion, and love beyond the grave — what’s not to like?
It’s been a long time since I first picked up Wuthering Heights, but clearly some aspects of it still glimmer in my imagination. My first young adult (YA) novel, Ruined, is about a girl, a guy, and a ghost.
The story is told from the point of view of Rebecca, a fifteen-year-old New Yorker who has to move to New Orleans in the middle of the school year. At her new snooty school, she finds it hard to make friends, and too much about her new home seems confusing and opaque.
But Rebecca finds two people in New Orleans she likes — and thinks she can trust. One is a guy that nobody wants her to meet, let alone hang out with.
The other is a girl who just happens to be a ghost with a deep, dark, 150-year-old secret. And the ghost is trapped by a curse that involves all three of them — though Rebecca doesn’t know that yet.
In Ruined, Rebecca meets her love interest, Anton in a cemetery — Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans, to be precise. He’s not a ghost, and neither is she…but they certainly come from very different worlds.
She’s a New Yorker who thinks she doesn’t belong in this strange old city; he’s old-line New Orleans, longing for escape and adventure. People warn Rebecca away from Anton.
Even Lisette — the teenage ghost who’s been haunting the cemetery for more than 150 years — tells Rebecca that Anton’s family is nothing but trouble.
But love and trouble go hand-in-hand, right?
So now it’s your turn. Think about the books you love: what’s your favorite ill-fated romance? Who are your favorite star-crossed lovers? Do you see yourself as a wild spirit, like Cathy, still haunting the moors and waiting for Heathcliff — or does the thought of ghostly romance scare you?