Lure by Deborah Kerbel


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After reading the synopsis for Lure by Deborah Kerbel, I was eager to read this book.   I used to read ghost stories often when I was younger, but I haven’t read too many in recent years.  Instead, I’ve been hooked on shows like Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventurers.  So, it seemed this book would be right up my alley.

It wasn’t.

The story is written from two points of view; Max, from the modern-day, and John, a boy from the past, take turns telling their story.  It was interesting to see how much their stories relied on each other for the storyline to advance.  But, I didn’t think the quality of Max’s story was as fine as John’s story.  John’s chapters were so eloquently written and much more interesting; I was sucked right in.  After finishing each of John’s chapters, I had a better sense of who he was.  He’s a sickly and weak boy who loves books even though his father wishes he were strong so he could work in the family blacksmith business.  Each chapter showed his struggle with coming to terms that he’d never be good enough in his father’s eyes, and it was kind of heartbreaking.

After reading Max’s story, I only had a vague impression of who he was.  And from that vague impression, I decided that I couldn’t stand Max.  He sits there and simmers about how he is invisible to all of his peers, yet he skips school all the time.  It’s like, maybe if he made an effort to go to school with these people, he wouldn’t be invisible to them.  Plus, the only time the reader gets to know Max is when he is at the library or when he is around Caroline, a girl he was kind of infatuated with. 

Also, and I don’t mean to get nit-picky, but Max kept talking about how he loved breathing in Caroline’s “awesome” scent.  But, every time I read that or a variation of that, I just really wanted to know what “awesome” smells like.  This lack of concrete descriptions also lent itself to the vagueness I felt after finishing each of Max’s chapters.

As for the ending…I’m kind of baffled.  It all came as a surprise to me, which was cool, but things didn’t seem to add up.  I’d spoil the ending if I voiced my concerns though.

Overall, this book wasn’t for me.  It left me wanting more, but not in a good way.  While I very much enjoyed reading about John, I wanted to understand Max better.  It almost seemed like Max was a pawn in this story.  It almost seemed like his only purpose was to figure out the mystery, so character development wasn’t really necessary.

I also went into the story thinking it was going to be spooky.  It wasn’t, and I didn’t so much mind that.  But, I was kind of bummed out that it was lacking in paranormal activity.  Most of it was hearsay, and Max and the reader only experienced two or three things firsthand.  The things that did happen were kind of clever; I just wanted more.

Lure by Deborah Kerbel

Lure by Deborah Kerbel

Released: January 2010
Genre: Mystery
Age Group: Young Adult

[goodreads | indiebound]

Absolutely nothing is going right for Max Green. His parents have just uprooted their family from Vancouver to the bleak suburbs of Toronto, he has no friends, and everybody at his new high school is ignoring him. To make matters worse, he’s in love with an older girl who’s completely out of his league. When Max discovers a local library rumored to be haunted by ghosts, he’s immediately drawn to it. With the help of some cryptic messages, he begins to piece together the identity of the teenage ghost and the mysterious chain of events that have connected its spirit to the building for over a century. But just who was John, anyway? Why has he chosen to contact Max? And what does an old fishing lure have to do with solving the mystery?

3 responses to “Lure by Deborah Kerbel”

  1. Sarah Robertson Avatar
    Sarah Robertson

    Huh, it’s kind of ironic that the ghost character is more vivid than the living character.

    I’ve heard that ghost stories are the new big thing in paranormal (after the trends of vampires, werewolves, and angels), but I haven’t actually seen too many people reviewing them. Good to hear, even though you weren’t a big fan of this book in particular.


    1. Jackie Avatar

      I wasn’t aware that ghost stories were the “next big thing”. I generally enjoy those types of stories, so that excites me!


  2. Melissa Avatar

    Sarah – The ghost character is presented when he was alive in the chapters that he’s the main speaker, not as a ghost.

    Jackie – Thanks for linking to my review. I’ve only heard good things about this book before reading your’s, but I think it’s interesting to see a different opinion on the book.


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Hello, my name is Jackie. I’m a thirty-something mother of a rambunctious toddler from a small town in Michigan. When I’m not toddler-wrangling, I’m often seeking refuge from life’s most chaotic moments in a cup of hot tea. I also love getting lost in stories—both in books and virtually. I enjoy speculative fiction the most, and I am especially eager to read fantasy novels and horror novels. When I’m feeling especially indulgent (usually after everyone in the house has gone to sleep), I like to dive into video games and explore the sprawling worlds in Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, and Mass Effect.

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