Ride of Your Life
By Shevi Arnold
Genre: YA Romantic Paranormal
ISBN: ISBN-10: 1477477934
Number of pages: 296
Word Count: app. 83,000
Thank you for stopping by today! I have a wonderful Guest Blog from Author Shevi Arnold to share with you, as well as my Review and other good stuff, so please continue to read below :)
Seventeen-year-old Tracy Miller met the love of her life . . . thirty years after her own death.
Tracy was working at the House of Horrors at the Amazing Lands Theme Park when the fire broke out. Instead of running, she lost her life trying to save eleven-year-old Mack. Now thirty years have passed, and suddenly everything changes with the arrival of two new ghosts: a little girl named Ashley and a cute seventeen-year-old boy named Josh. Josh would do anything for Tracy, but can he help her let go of the past and accept his love?
Ride of Your Life is a bittersweet, romantic, YA ghost story that was inspired by a true event: the Great Adventure Haunted Castle fire, which killed eight teenagers in 1984. It is a fantasy novel about undying love, and it won third-place in Smart Writer’s Write It Now (W.I.N.) contest in the YA category, which was judged by Alex Flinn, the author ofBeastly and Cloaked.
Hang on. Love can be as terrifying as a roller coaster, but it can also be the Ride of Your Life.
What’s More Romantic than ‘Till Death Do Us Part’?
By Shevi Arnold
There’s a line in my all-time favorite movie, The Princess Bride, which goes “Death cannot stop true love. It can only delay it a little.”
I adore that. Isn’t that the kind of love we dream of, a love that can’t be stopped, a love that can survive anything, even death?
It’s the kind of love we find in movies, like The Princess Bride and Ghost. Remember how Patrick Swayze’s character stuck around after his death to make sure the woman he loved was safe and knew how much he loved her? How romantic was that?
But does such a love exist, or is it just something Hollywood invented?
I don’t know.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in love. I wrote a novel, called Ride of Your Life, about two teenage ghosts who die thirty years apart, meet, and fall in love in an amusement park. I believe in love, teenagers, death, and amusement parks. I’m just not sure I believe in ghosts.
If you tell me you once saw or otherwise experienced a ghost, I might not believe you did, but I will believe that you believe. I know many people are comforted by the thought that their loved ones are still around and looking out for them. As I see it, anything that helps them deal with their loss is a good thing. But I can’t say I’ve ever had that kind of experience myself.
I don’t know what it’s like to be a ghost or even encounter a ghost, but I do know what it’s like to be a teenager. I was one when I started writing Ride of Your Life in my head. And I know that sometimes, tragically, teenagers die. I know their loved ones miss them, and sometimes those left behind are haunted by the memories of those who have passed over.
And it makes me wonder: do those who have passed miss us too? Do their memories of the living and the lives they have left behind haunt them like supposed ghosts haunt us?
I don’t know what the afterlife is like, but I imagine it to be a place of love. I don’t know if ghosts exist, but if they do, I suspect they’re pretty much the same people they were when they were alive. And I also suspect that there’s something holding them back, something that keeps them tied to the world of the living, something that makes them ghosts.
Ride of Your Life was inspired by one of the worst amusement park tragedies in history: the Great Adventure Haunted Castle fire that killed eight teenagers in 1984. I was also a teenager at the time, and I had visited that park on several occasions, so it affected me deeply when I heard about the fire. In my mind, I wanted to give that tragedy a happy ending, as happy as something like that could possibly have, anyway. So I imagined a happy ending.
Ride of Your Life starts thirty years after a fire in a fictional amusement park. The heroine, Tracy, is a seventeen-year-old girl who died in the fire and is stuck in the park, because of a secret that is holding her back. She’s a ghost haunted by something in her past. And even though she pushes Josh--the boy ghost who loves her--away, he will not stop loving her.
It’s the kind of love we all dream of, a love that can survive anything.
As ghosts in the amusement park, Josh and Tracy get to experience whatever they believe. The ghost world in the story is a magical place…but it’s also fraught with danger. After all, not everything we believe is good, and if you believe something will hurt you, it will.
Tracy is particularly afraid of one roller coaster at the park. It zooms ahead so fast, spins you around and upside-down, lets your legs dangle so you have nothing to stand on, and doesn’t even let you see where you’re going. And Tracy believes that love is like that kind of roller coaster. She’s scared, because love can be a scary thing. But sometimes we have to let go of our fears and dare to take the ride of our lives.
(From the end of chapter one. At this point, Tracy the ghost has desperately tried and failed to prevent a teenage boy and a young girl from getting killed on a ride at the Amazing Lands Theme Park.)
People continued to rush through her, but Tracy ignored the flashing of the sunlight and shadows on her closed eyelids, ignored the screams and the panic. She let her consciousness slip away from the scene, let it blur until it faded into nothingness.
She was in the ghost world now. Here everything was silent and still, and nothing real could touch her. Although there was nothing to see, Tracy kept her eyes shut. The darkness was comforting, like a soft blanket on a cool night.
The only illusion she held onto was her body. Letting go of that was difficult, like stepping off a high diving board when she couldn’t see the water below, like riding on a roller coaster with nothing under her feet. It was a freefall into the unknown. Her body was what she knew, even if it was no longer real. It was familiar, and it felt safe. Everything around her was quiet and peaceful and still. She was alone in her world. Completely alone.
Then Tracy felt something hit her in the chest, and she returned to the Amazing Lands Theme Park with a scream.
Wow, this was a fantastic story! I really enjoyed it; the concept was compelling. The writing was very, very good; it all flowed well. There was good development within the characters, and I thought they were pretty much all likable. Tracy and Mack have been gone for thirty years, but still are connected to the Amusement Park, where they past on, but you read their reasons for staying. Josh and Ashley are the new ones at the Park, after they lose their lives, but something about them makes Tracy change, and you'll see if its for the best or not. What I thought was sweet, was the building of an instant attraction or longing that Tracy and Josh have for one another. Tracy tries all she can to resist this connection they seem to have, but Josh won't let her. What I also really liked, were the fun looking illustrations that greeted us into each new chapter, looking at an illustration of some ride at the Park. With reading this whole story, it definitely gave me the urge to want to go to an Amusement Park with friends, and it will do the same for you, and oh eat some delicious food :)
I don't know what else to say, but I left this story with a good feeling, and I think you will to, so do read this novel; it's a perfect Summer Read!
*My Rating: 4/5
*My Audience Rating: Between PG & PG-13
About The Author
Shevi Arnold loves writing, illustrating, and making people laugh—and she’s been doing all three since 1987 when she started working as an editorial cartoonist for a newsweekly. She’s also worked as a comics magazine editor, as an arts-and-entertainment writer specializing in comedy and children’s entertainment, and as a consumer columnist.
Nowadays, though, she enjoys writing (and sometimes illustrating) humorous fiction, fantasy and science fiction, mostly for children and young adults. Shevi grew up in Philadelphia, and her family had a season pass to Great Adventure in the early 1980s. She was nineteen-years-old and studying overseas when a fellow college student asked her if she knew about the Great Adventure Haunted Castle fire. Eight teenagers had lost their lives.
Like many, Shevi was shocked by the news. In her mind, she wanted to give that tragedy a happy ending. Ride of Your Life is the result. Her previous books are Dan Quixote: Boy of Nuevo Jersey--a humorous novel for middle graders about individualism and friendship overcoming peer pressure and bullying--and Toren the Teller's Tale--a YA fantasy about the magic of storytelling and one girl's struggle to accept that magic within herself. Why My Love Life Sucks, the first in the Gilbert the Fixer, is a funny YA science-fantasy novel about the ultimate geek having to confront his ultimate fear--getting stuck with a gorgeous girl who wants to be his platonic best friend literally forever.