Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shadowland

The Mediator series was originally published under the pen name Jenny Carroll, and each of the books had different titles.  It's a cataloging nightmare for librarians, that's for sure!  And it makes life difficult for people looking to read books in their proper order.  At any rate, below is a list of the titles in the newly issued series with the original titles in parentheses.

I don't know what the attraction is for me of books and movies about characters who see ghosts, but whatever it is, I sure enjoy them.  I love Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's Suddenly Supernatural books, which are for a younger audience than these, and fans of those will be pleased to find these books waiting for them in the YA section.  My favorite manga series, xxxHOLIC, is about a Japanese boy who can see spirits and the effect that has on his life.  And I love TV shows such as Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies.  This series is a welcome addition to my favorites.

Suze is what is known as a mediator - she sees spirits.  She helps those who have unfinished business, and if the spirits are troublemakers, well, she deals with them.  She's been able to see ghosts since she was two years old, but no one knows about it.  When her mother remarries, and Suze has to move to California, she's not terribly pleased about it.  When she sees how old the house they'll be living in is, she's even less pleased.  The older the place, the more likely it is that there will be ghosts there.  Even her school is ancient - it's on the site of an old mission, and one of the first things she runs into is the ghost of a girl who recently died - a ghost with a pretty nasty attitude.

Suze's life is suddenly so complicated - she has an angry ghost to deal with, new brothers, a new stepfather, a new school - and new friends - more than she expected to have, as she wasn't terribly popular back in New York.  She also has the ghost of a charming, handsome man in her bedroom, and a confidence in her ghost-fighting abilities that just might be a tiny bit overrated...

This is a fun start to a series, with a sympathetic heroine who carries the narrative with a strong, engaging voice.  Her transition into the new family is handled very well, as Suze finds herself saddled with a little brother she can't help but like, and a couple older brothers that, before too long, she finds herself butting heads with in a very sisterly way.  I like Suze, how she speaks her mind and doesn't put up with nonsense from the other kids at school.  I didn't quite buy the fact that she could possibly have kept her ability to see ghosts from her mother - at the age of two, no less - and kept silent through years of therapy, but I was happy to suspend my disbelief because Cabot spins such a good tale.  I'd been meaning to try this series for some time, but it was an enthusiastic teen at my library who put the book in my hands after I'd recommended some other titles to her - she was excited for me to try it, and I was pleased to tell her how much I enjoyed it the next time she came into my library.

Books in the Mediator series:
1. Shadowland  (Love you to Death)
2. Ninth Key  (High Stakes)
3. Reunion  (Mean Spirits)
4. Darkest Hour  (Young Blood)
5. Haunted  (Grave Doubts)
6. Twilight  (Heaven Sent)

Shadowland (#1 in the Mediator series) by Meg Cabot (Avon Books, 2000)

Source: My local public library

Also reviewed at:
Griffie World:  "One of the true powers of Cabot’s writing is her ability to draw the reader into the story. Her characters are penned with authority, and they are quirky, yet lovable, even though sometimes a little prickly."
Puss Reboots:  "The book is somewhere between The Ghost Whisperer and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a little dash of The Sixth Sense."
Teenage Fiction for All Ages:  "...a fairly light read with characters you want to revisit, in a beautiful setting, with action and adventure and a possible romance. No wonder I've already started on #2..."

2 comments:

  1. Trying to figure out series sometimes drives me nuts. There really should be a rule that things are better organized! I hate when I read a book and find out that it is like book 3 in a series or start a book and found out that it is part of a series. That doesn't happen as much nowadays with book blogging, but still annoying!

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  2. Kailana - I've actually been getting out the label maker at work and putting numbers on the kids' series books that don't have numbers on the spine. It's been working out great - the kids love it! Maybe I should branch out to the books for adults... :-)

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