We bought the girls Nooks for Christmas this year, and when I sat down to show them how to download library books onto their readers, we ran into a little problem: everyone else got e-readers for Christmas, and they had checked out everything we looked at on the Overdrive site. So we narrowed our search by clicking "show only items with available copies" and "young adult/juvenile" - and guess how many hits came back? Two! One of them was this, the first book in a series that I'd never heard of, but we thought it looked like fun, particularly when we saw it was recommended to fans of the Gallagher Academy series, which is my daughter's favorite series. She transferred it successfully to her reader, and was enjoying it so much that I put a copy on my Nook as well, and we both read it at the same time. That's one huge advantage to e-readers!
It's a fun ghost story with a mystery element, and it's told in alternating viewpoints by the ghost and the goth respectively. The ghost is Alona, a popular cheerleader who reminded me a lot of Cordelia in Buffy. The goth is Will, an introspective teen whose main problem that he can communicate with ghosts, and if they find out he can, he'll be mobbed by them all asking him to fulfill various requests so they can find rest. He wears a headset all the time, because the music helps keep the ghosts at bay, and he has told no one about his ability - his mother and his therapist are fairly close to having him committed. So when Alona, who dies at the beginning of the book, notices that Will can see her, she immediately latches onto him. She wants some answers, and he seems to be the only one who knows anything about her ghostly situation.
Will didn't like Alona when she was alive, and he certainly doesn't want to hang out with her now that she's dead. But he has a problem, and Alona might be able to help him solve it. So they decide to try to work together - not an easy feat. But the situation is quickly growing to something that appears much too strong for them to handle...
The characters start out as fairly stock stereotypes, but as the story progresses, deeper aspects of their characters are revealed, so there turned out to be more substance than I expected. The story is funny, has an intriguing supernatural element, a sweet romance, and a refreshing antagonist. My eleven-year-old daughter enjoyed it even more than I did, and she's in the middle of the sequel right now. While this book probably could have been a stand-alone, and it didn't end with a massive cliffhanger or anything, I'll be reading the sequel as well.
Books in the Ghost and the Goth series:
1. The Ghost and the Goth
2. Queen of the Dead
3. Body and Soul
The Ghost and the Goth (#1 in the Ghost and Goth series) by Stacey Kade (Disney Publishing Worldwide, 2010)
Also reviewed at:
Muggle-born: "So while the romance captivated my interest, the actual paranormal aspect of the book did not. I cared about Alona and her past and future, but I couldn’t say the same about the other ghosts."
Small Review: "The real accomplishment here is that the book never feels bogged down, depressing, or overly serious. Instead, the author manages to maintain a light and sweet tone throughout the book without diminishing the importance of these issues."
Truth, Beauty, Freedom & Books: "Great characters, romance, fab storytelling--I actually bought a copy, that's how much I enjoyed it."