Hauntingly Beautiful

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Beautiful in its haunting glare, Helena Fox presents a story about ghosts and mental illness, and how they both chase those inflicted with their presence.


1. Lovely writing. Fox does not write the average YA fiction here. She uses descriptive prose and free verse split into various formats to make its point of a young girl falling into madness over life, including losing her father. We see how her mind works via lucid and vivid language.

2. LGBTQA Representation. Is Biz (short for Elizabeth) gay? Bi? Pan? She's queer, and while she's unsure of how to label herself, she's given the space via her family and Fox to contemplate without fear.

3. Mental Illness Representation. As someone living with a mental illness, Fox writes a clear and properly-researched narrative of someone fallen, not into Hollywood's vision of mental illness, but a realistic portrayal. I felt seen in instances described in this tale.

4. An Unconventional Ghost Story. Biz often sees and hears her father when no one's around, but is she really seeing him, or is her mind creating space for her to handle her loss of him?

On the other hand, I see no real cons, other than it runs a little long. Some chapters could have been cut or edited for brevity.

Thus, this story's a winner, thanks to proper representation and beautifully haunting words I occasionally see in great YA literature.

4.5/5 stars