The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe

September 13, 2015
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The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen
By Katherine Howe

ISBN 978-0-399-16778-2

Aspiring young filmmaker, Wes Aukerman, arrives in New York City for the summer school term determined to create a documentary which will guarantee his admittance to NYU, a goal he desperately pursues to avoid returning to his mundane Midwestern existence

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“. . . captures the emotional, personal, and social turmoil of the teen-age mind . . .”

As he assists a fellow filmmaker, Tyler, who is filming a séance in the old Bowery district, he comes into contact with a captivatingly beautiful young woman named Annie, who seems very much out of place in today’s modern world. 

Annie appears and disappears at the most inopportune and contradictory moments; modern language and technology are confusing and foreign to her.  She is searching ostensibly for a lost ring, but the underlying search is for meaning in her currently fragmented existence.  Wes, attempting to help her find the answers she needs, falls in love with this otherworldly enigma.  Wes, inadvertently involve three of his friends, TyIer, Maddie, and Eastlin, inner confusion about what is happening to him. In their search together to find solutions to the haunting questions with which Annie struggles, both Wes and she come to accept the truth about Annie Sinderen—she is a ghost from 1825.  Hard enough for a shy, insecure teenage boy to successfully manage falling in love, but even harder when the object of his love is a 200-year-old ghost!

With the help of her modern friends, Annie Van Sinderen struggles to combat a significant moral dilemma of her times and to make a difference even though it leads to her death a second time.  Katherine Howe captures the emotional, personal, and social turmoil of the teen-age mind and combines that with the nuances of historical New York City and the moral contradictions present therein. 

Reviewer: C. L. Collins

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