The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
When Chloe was a little girl, she heard and saw ghosts. She's managed to forget about it for years until she sees a ghost at school and freaks out. Next thing she knows, she's admitted to the Lyle House, a group home for mentally disturbed teenagers. Chloe tries to fit in and take her medication, hoping that she'll get to go home soon. Then she realizes that the other teenagers all seem to be hiding secrets and that perhaps Lyle House isn't what it seems. Will she be stuck here forever?
When reading this book, I just couldn't get the scene out of my mind from "Sixth Sense". You know, the one where the kid says, "I see dead people." Chloe has managed not to see dead people for 10 years; then she hits puberty and one day she sees them everywhere. She understandably freaks out. When she gets to Lyle House and her new psychiatrist tells her that she has schizophrenia, Chloe doesn't argue. She just shrinks into herself and starts to wonder if she really is going crazy. Meanwhile, she's stuck with a bunch of teenagers who are also supposedly mentally imbalanced. Armstrong uses the idea of a group home to enhance Chloe's feelings of abandonment and being trapped. I really wanted Chloe to come to terms with her necromancy, but she shies away from calling ghosts to her. When she realizes that she is not the only one with super powers, she forms a tenuous relationship with the other teens, cute Simon, bubbly Rachelle, and anti-social Derek. Armstrong writes each character with skill and a dash of deception. Even though I liked Rachelle and Simon, I found myself wondering if I really knew them. Is Rachelle really just happy-go-lucky or is she hiding something? And is Derek as self-centered and bullyish as he seems? I'm excited that this is the first book of a planned trilogy called Darkest Powers. There were several plot lines left open and the ending left me wishing the second book was already on bookshelves.
The Summoning has been nominated for the 2008 Cybils Awards in the Science Fiction/Fantasy category.