Book Review: The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen

20522640Novel: The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe | Goodreads
Release Date: September 15th, 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam & Son’s Books for Young Readers
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (thanks Jill!)

A haunting, contemporary love story from the New York Timesbestselling author of Conversion

It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.

As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose petal lips and her entrancing glow. But there’s something about her that he can’t put his finger on that makes him wonder about this intriguing hipster girl from the Village. Why does she use such strange slang? Why does she always seem so reserved and distant? And, most importantly, why does he only seem to run into her on one block near the Bowery? Annie’s hiding something, a dark secret from her past that may be the answer to all of Wes’s questions . . .

This book is everything you could ever want in a book. Magical realism, Ghosts, New York City, Historical Fiction, New Adult (that isn’t super sexy!!!!), Contemporary – it covers all the bases. I adored Katherine Howe’s first YA book, Conversion, and The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen is just as incredible.

The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen follows Wes and Annie, two people from different times, but both grappling with their place in their world. Wes is a film student at NYU for the summer, and he desperately hopes to make NYU his home come fall. Annie’s family is in danger, and as she goes from her home in the 1800s to present day, she has to investigate what will happen to them, in order for her to save them. Their lives intertwine and they fall for each other in this utterly beautiful way. Although not completely believable (I didn’t really feel the romantic sparks between then, especially considering Annie’s attraction to another man) but it was adorable all the same. I was a massive fan of their friendship, which intensifies over the course of the novel, and by the end I was so emotionally attached to Annie and Wes that the thought of them going their separate ways broke my heart.

Howe is an incredible writer. She tells Wes and Annie’s stories with the picturesque background of New York City and makes their narratives mesh so well. The plot is rich and exciting, and I was never bored. It took me about fifty pages to get into the story, but once I was in, I couldn’t put it down. I was reading at a swim meet – that’s how into the story I was.

Both Wes and Annie grow significantly over the course of the book, but Wes stood out to me as a particularly changed character. He meets different people, puts himself in new situations, and truly experiences life, something he discusses time and time again in the book. His love for film and passion for art comes through in his perspective and I loved seeing his film come together through the book. His friends, Tyler, Maddie, and Eastlin, pushed Wes outside his comfort zone and with Annie’s help, showed him the importance of seeing the world around him. I loved their friendships!

The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen is yet another beautiful book about life from Katherine Howe. I need her next book.