Clementine’s Awakening by Jennifer Soucy

Review by Patrick R McDonough

This all starts with an experience. An experience of living the life of working in a restaurant. Some of us take food service workers for granted. Some don’t think twice about how hard they work or how little pay waitresses and bartenders make if it wasn’t for tips. Some are not even aware of the tug-of-war battle between the kitchen and those running food and slinging drinks to thirsty customers. Soucy demonstrates the experience as brilliantly as one could. As intricate as only an experienced worker in that business could. The very first day Clementine works at O’Hara’s is anxiety inducing. Balancing plates on both arms like it’s some kind of performative act, while trying to please multiple customers and not appear distressed. Then you add the layer of inappropriate behavior from a fellow staffer, layered with more inappropriate behavior from some idiot young man. But have no fear, Rosemary (the friendly ghost) is here!

Layer after layer of experiences of the restaurant life, of the life of a loner, with the series of finding and becoming best friends with Lula. These all stack and Clementine hits the top. Henry. Her piano man. The man she never knew she’d get. And Henry’s feels the same love for Clementine–his southern belle. Life would be pretty awesome with all her new friends and boyfriend, right? That would be a fairy tale. This is horror, and Soucy knows exactly how and when to turn it up to eleven. With bursts of gut-wrenching and fast-paced explosions blood,  terror, and confusion, typically caused by the bad man (the not so friendly ghost), Soucy proves that she’s a force not to be reckoned with. I really enjoyed how Clementine adapted to all the different challenges. She’s the every girl. The every guy. She’s you, me, us. Her insecurities are ours. Her fears are everyone’s.

Soucy walked a fine line between romance and supernatural horror at times. I loved it. It felt like a good ol’ love story, but I know it isn’t. I had an idea how everything ends. And then I read the ending. It wasn’t anything like what I thought it would be. It was so much better.

I received a copy from the publisher for review consideration.

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