Review: Ghost Hand

Author: Ripley Patton
Date of Publication: January 8 2013
Pages: 368 
Source: For Review- Thank you!

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Black has a rare birth defect known as Psyche Sans Soma, or PSS. Instead of a right hand made of flesh and blood, she was born with a hand made of ethereal energy.

How does Olivia handle being the girl with the ghost hand? Well, she's a little bit morbid and a whole lot snarky. 

Her mother thinks her obsession with death, black clothing, and the local cemetery is a bid for attention. But when Marcus, the new guy in Olivia's calculus class, stares at her like she's a freak, Olivia doesn't like it. And when her hand goes rogue, doing things she never imagined possible, Olivia finds herself running for her life with Marcus from a group of men bent on taking the power of her hand for their own nefarious purposes.


It started with a bang. Ghost Hand has a take no prisoners approach to plot, which basically means that the action is nonstop. This results in an extremely readable and entertaining read. It doesn't come without a cost.

The story begins with Olivia in class. She has this condition called Psyche Sans Soma where her hand isn't a real hand, it's more of a spirit thing. In Olivia's world, this is a rare but known condition. As Olivia is writing a test, something happens and her hand pretty much goes insane. It reaches out and grabs something out of the girl in front of her. Thus begins  a very crazy turn of events.

To enjoy this book, there were a few things I had to accept. First, there wasn't going to be much character depth.

You know those scenes that are all about characters' feelings and reactions to events? Scenes that aren't that necessary to the plot but make the characters more real? Frankly, there was not enough scenes that featured characterization. This left me very distanced from the characters. I had a first impression of each and it didn't go beyond that.

In general, a lack of detail was one issue I noticed. Some characters acted in ways I truly didn't understand. The parameters of the world went unexplained and I'm still fairly in the dark about the world set up. If there are anti PSS groups, wouldn't there be pro PSS groups? Some of the magical and ghostly stuff also didn't make sense to me.

The plot was great but the way I see it, this story was fascinating yet needs some more colouring in the lines. I'd like to be able to understand the characters and their relationships more. Olivia and her mother have an extremely strained relationship that I was curious about. I want to know more about PSS and people's reactions to it. Tell me more about Emma.

Considering the length of the book, I would have welcomed more. However, I tend to enjoy detail in writing. For people looking for pure entertainment, Ghost Hand is more than adequate.

One aspect to the story I enjoyed a lot was some parts of dialogue. I noticed it right away because the dialogue felt  natural. I've recently read and complained about the way swearing is used in YA and Ghost Hand pretty much did it perfectly. Olivia was spunky and not afraid to drop an f bomb here and there, in the right situation of course. Her narration was funny and a plausible voice for a teen, and the foul language totally helped that.

In general, a book I liked. It didn't call to me. I would have liked more character depth and connections, as well as some more explanations considering the premise and world building, but I enjoyed the plot and the story never failed to entertain. 3 hearts.


What do you think?