Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween: Ghost and the Goth

Happy Halloween everyone!  I'd like to claim I thought long and hard about this post, but honestly, I was going to treat it like every other day.  I thought to myself, I don't read horror books.  And I don't.  Sort of.  See, while I don't read slasher books that turn into movies like Saw III (which I never saw), I did realize I read a lot of books about ghosts.  Some of them are a bit eerie, but most of them are more fun than anything. Which is absolutely true of The Ghost and the Goth.  Here's a quick summary for you.

Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.

I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?

Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.

I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?  Quoted from Goodreads


I realize this book has only the loosest connection to Halloween.  It's mostly shallow, fun, fluff reading, but it is about ghosts, so again, Happy Halloween.

Probably what I enjoyed about the book the most are the characters.  They are complete opposites and both incredibly flawed.  This is where the book gets fun.  A boy who sees dead people isn't exactly uncharted territory, but despite that, this book didn't come across as tired or overdone.  

Because of Alona and Will's differences, it's fun to watch them change and grow as the series progresses.  They compensate for each other's weaknesses, proving they are far better together (eventually) then they were apart, no matter how differently they saw the world. I'll be honest, at first it was chaos--beautiful, watch them yell at each other chaos, but it gets better. Plus, the author makes it very clear why each of the characters behaves as they do.  Neither of them has a perfect life (or death, in Alona's case),  but they get better as the books go on.

I really enjoyed Stacy Kade's writing, especially Alona. She was good at capturing the cheerleader's voice, and sounding like a genuine teen, which is hard to find, and there was some great sarcasm.  Plus, her story is light. Most ghost stories are heavy with gloom and gore and death and moving on. This could have been a story like that.  All the elements are there, but it's Alona who really makes the book more of a comedy than horror. 

Then there's poor, sweet Will.  At first he comes across as your typical tortured teen, but I liked him better as the book progressed and I got to know him, kind of like Alona.  There isn't a lot of romance in this book.  That aspect comes later in the series (an even then it's pretty light), which I appreciated.  They grew together as friends first, and other stuff developed later.

The pacing of the story is great. The main dilemma is quick to present itself, but after that, things keep going. You aren't always on the edge of your seat, but the blend of humor, relationship angst, and reveals kept me reading.  Despite what I've said, they book isn't all light and funny.  There were some darker moments (I mean, I did choose this book to review on Halloween) that I also enjoyed.  They sort of grounded the book and added a layer of suspense that would have otherwise been missing.

I awarded this book a fun 3.5 stars. If you're looking for a cute ghost story that's already finished (that's right, all three books in this series are out!) you should absolutely read this.  Happy Halloween!  

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