I LOVE the "I see dead people" concept. It's packed with plot potential (say that three times fast!), and I can already see you planting some seeds now that I imagine will come to fruition later in the story. However, it really bugs me that no one else knows about Ellie's secret. Not even her own twin brother? Not even after twelve years of them living together?! In all other aspects of their life, Ellie and Chris seem quite open and close, and it struck me as unbelievable that Chris wouldn't catch on to the fact that his twin sister sees and interacts with ghosts at least once a month. I don't know if Chris' ignorance is vital to your current outlined plot, but I think that pulling him into the loop would not just make things more believable but also add a lot of good dialogue and relational development material. That doesn't mean that everyone has to know Ellie's secret, of course; I can see a lot of madness going down if someone like Albus figured it out on his own, for example. And madness is always fun. :] But I do wonder why Ellie feels the need to keep her ability a secret? What is her reasoning? I think it's important that you address this early on in the story. I mean, Ellie is a witch, and she sees "normal" ghosts along with everyone else on a day-to-day basis at Hogwarts. So what makes her so afraid to tell anyone else? I'm curious to know, and I think that better understanding Ellie's frame of mind about her secret-keeping will help your reader make better sense of her actions.
You've got an intriguing build-up here so far, but I think pace could do with some streamlining. You've already opened up some good plot lines. Why is Regulus hanging about? What is going on with that mysterious wall in the Restricted Section? How is the obvz sexual tension between Albus and Ellie going to develop? Fantastic opening questions. But then the plot seems to fall flat and meander when it should be escalating. Let's see some action! This doesn't necessarily have to be a ginormous plot overhaul. Much of it can be addressed by simply tightening your prose. The prose itself is gorgeous, but there tend to be times--especially in your dialogue--where things get repetitive. Take Ellie's conversations with both Regulus and Albus in Chapter 4. There's a lot of back and forth filler dialogue that doesn't need to be there. A lot of "My what?"s and "Who?"s and "Did I hear you right?"s that can be cut and tightened into a more compact interaction. Even simple changes like these can quicken the pace. As for Chapter 5, I'm a diehard Scorose fan, so of course this chapter made me smile. It's all written very well, and it's an adorable side story. But it's still a side story, and even in filler chapters, there should be SOMETHING that propels the story forward. Much as I love Scorose, I was impatient to get around them and find out what's really going on with Regulus and the mysterious wall and Ellie's abilities. Just be sure that you always accompany your filler with some plot pushing. Otherwise, it becomes much easier for the reader to lose interest.
Lastly, two completely subjective suggestions. Personally, I find Ellie's invocations of varying historical figures to be distracting. Don't get me wrong. I snorted out loud at "Holy mother of Pride and Prejudice," but the tone struck me as a little off. Would Ellie really say something like that? Or be referencing Kepler and Galileo that way? Maybe so! But it just struck me as odd and cumbersome. Secondly, in Chapter 3, I really wanted to hear the full contents of the Sorting Hat's song. Since Ellie makes such a point of first eavesdropping and then talking to Ben about the "sinister" nature of the Sorting Hat, it made me wish that I, as the reader, had the opportunity to hear the song for myself. So mayhaps consider using your poetic flourish to add one?
Overall, I think you've got a GREAT start here. I genuinely like and empathize with Ellie, and I'm curious to see just where all this mystery is leading! I hope my suggestions have been helpful and perhaps, in some way, started the creative gears whirring again. But seriously, I do hope that, 'cos I would love to read more of Ellie's story. :] Thanks for giving me the chance to read and review!
Author's Response: Her secret... yeah. I know I need to explain why she's so weird about it. It makes sense that she hides what she is from her friends and doesn't go around advertising the fact that she sees dead people that other people can't. Her keeping it secret from Chris is actually a super important "plot device" (for lack of a better phrase) between her and her twin. They're close in all aspects, except this really huge thing. There's definitely more story to tell there. And Albus... yeah. If Albus found out... there's more planned there too ;)
Ugh. That dialogue in chapter four. I think about half of it can be cut out. I had a lot of trouble writing it, and I think that shows because of just how repetitive it is. And chapter five was a lot longer - more ACTUAL story than just adorable ScoRose stuff, but it wasn't fitting into the chapter flow overall so I had to sadly cut it out. I'll definitely keep your comment about including something about the plot in filler chapters in mind for future ones (I'm sure there will be future filler chapters).
I should probably explain somewhere why she goes around using random historical figures as expletives. She's a huge astronomy nut, ergo all the Keplers and Galileos. Hmm... Ideas abound for new conversation ice-breakers...
I totally chickened out on the Sorting Hat song. I can't rhyme. It's the reason why I didn't write it. It's left this giant hole in the plot of my story and made it overall weaker but it just a terrifying prospect. One day, I shall work up the courage to attempt writing a Sorting Hat song. One day...
Thanks so much for your lovely reviews. I've written like a bajillion notes in my drafts based on the feedback you've given me. It's been incredibly helpful! And sorry once again for the delayed reply.