A Certain Slant of Light
Title: A Certain Slant of Light
Author: Laura Whitcomb
Number of Pages: 282
Advertised Age Level: Ages 12 and up
Age and Grade of Main Character(s): unknown
Language: profanity, use of the “F” word
Sex: main characters consummate their relationship with limited description
Drug/Alcohol Use: one character has a history of drug abuse
Violence: domestic violence, frightening episode caused by natural disaster
Social Issues: dysfunctional family, suicide, drug abuse, misunderstanding involving an inappropriate relationship with a teacher
Suggested Movie Grade: PG-13
Premise: 130 years ago, Helen died. For reasons she doesn’t understand, Helen has remained tethered to this world, attaching herself first to one human and then another, unable to communicate but still aware of the world moving around her. Currently attached to a high-school English teacher, Helen is shocked when she discovers that one boy in class seems able to see her. James, who also died many years ago, has taken possession of a human boy, Billy, whose spirit left his body after a drug overdose. As Helen opens up to James, he shows her how she, too, can take real physical form. Helen inhabits the body of Jenny, whose strict, hyper-religious parents have made her life so unbearable she’s suffered a spiritual death. As Billy and Jenny, James and Helen are able to experience real love as corporeal humans. However, the mysteries from their past begin to catch up to them, and James and Helen come to understand that they must face the things they fear most of all.
Potential Points of Concern: James inhabits the body of Billy, a boy who suffered domestic abuse and descended into drug abuse before “dying”.
Helen inhabits the body of Jenny, a girl so oppressed by her zealot parents she becomes suicidal.
Helen and James consummate their relationship. Not gratuitously graphic.
James/Billy’s father was an alcoholic and physically abusive to the point of nearly killing James/Billy’s mother. James/Billy’s current guardian, his older brother, Mitch, is emotionally abusive.
Helen/Jenny’s parents mistakenly come to believe that Helen/Jenny has had a sexual relationship with a teacher.
Helen/Jenny’s father is having an extramarital affair.
Desperate to leave Jenny’s body, Helen consumes a bottle of pills.
Age Appropriateness: 13 +