Haunted Destiny by K. Abell

Kelly Abell’s Haunted Destiny was a story that had me equal parts frustrated and interested all at the same time.

Destiny Dove is the only survivor of a tragic car crash that killed her parents and baby brother. A teen uprooted from her home, she is forced to live with her eccentric grandmother whom Destiny has been taught her whole life to fear. She must start her life over living with an old woman who is not only a stranger to her, but just strange. All Destiny wants is to fit in with kids like her and begin to pull her life back together.

But Destiny soon discovers she is not like the other teens at all. She has developed the family gift of being able to see and talk to ghosts and her estranged grandmother will be the one person who can help her understand what the fates have dealt her…a haunted destiny. Being the town freak does not put Destiny high on the potential friends list, but Jake Turner sees something in her that the other teens from Blake High don’t. Destiny is actually able to put her unique talent to use and help Jake communicate with his recently deceased sister forming a bond between them that no one else can share or know about. In an extraordinary twist of events, Jake’s girlfriend Amy receives some furniture with some frightening ghostly spirits attached to it, and Jake turns to Destiny for help.

Now Destiny must struggle with a force she is unprepared to handle. When a party at Amy’s becomes a showdown between good and evil will Destiny have what it takes to save Amy and the others? Will the help of her grandmother, two resident ghosts and a surprise visitor be enough to rid the Morgan family of the evil possessing them and allow Destiny to finally gain the acceptance she so desperately wants? Or will the ancient evil destroy them all?

The major thing that stood out for me was that I just felt like more than half of the plot focused more on Destiny’s desperation to fit into the town and make new friends, rather than her ability to talk to ghosts.  I know they are certain insecurities that go along with being sixteen. Namely wanting to fit in and be liked, but every other situation had Destiny backing out because she thought that if she didn’t then she wouldn’t have friends. Thing was though, she didn’t even make that much of an effort to make friends. There was Jake, but he’s the one that put in all the heavy lifting. She just waited around for him to come to her, and when he did, she halfheartedly tried to push him away.

To be fair, Destiny was recently in a tragic car crash, where she was the only survivor, and I can’t imagine that she’s looking to socialize after having an experience that traumatic. I just wish that she wasn’t so focused on what everyone thought about her all the time.  Other than my annoyance with Destiny’s need to fit in, she didn’t really make a strong impression on me. She was kind and helpful to those who asked for it, but it seemed like Destiny’s personality never really outshone her fear of almost everything.

Jake was a total sweetheart. He was perfect, if not almost too perfect, in every way. He genuinely wanted to be Destiny’s friend, and he tried to undo a lot of the damage that his girlfriend, Amy, did by talking behind Destiny’s back.  Amy’s jealousy caused a lot of problems for Destiny.  Regardless of the fact that Destiny offered nothing but friendship to Jake,  Amy was constantly suspicious of their relationship.  Jealousy can be an ugly emotion, and through out the book Amy showed just that.

Grandma Rose is probably the one character that stood out for me. She was strong, wise, and didn’t take anyone’s crap. There were some people in town who thought that she was a witch, but she didn’t let that phase her. She continued to talk to her clients dearly departed even if it gave her a reputation as a crazy old lady with people who didn’t believe in her abilities.

The plot wasn’t all that bad once I put aside Destiny’s almost chronic need to fit in. Amy’s mother recently bought a bedroom set that is haunted.  I really liked the idea of the furniture having a piece of it’s history attached to it in the form of ghosts of the original owner. And once the furniture started really effecting Amy’s family it got interesting because of the way that it affected anyone that came into contact with it.

Overall, this is something I would recommend for those on the younger end of the YA spectrum. Being closer to Destiny’s age might help the reader like and/or understand Destiny better.   The characters were consistent, and the story was solid. I just wish that Destiny would’ve been more assertive, or that it went a little more in depth to why the furniture was being haunted.

Also reviewed by:
Between the Lines