Monday, November 10, 2008

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

(2008). New York: Little Brown and Co.

Charlotte Usher is trying so hard to make this year count. She has been meticulously studying photos and yearbooks of Petula and the two Wendy’s – the most popular girls in schools – in order to catch the attention of Damen, the god of high school. She’ll do anything to make this dream happen and go to the fall dance with him for her first kiss….

But a gummy bear gets in the way.

In fact, it gets so in the way of Charlotte’s air passage that she dies. Right there in the class where she felt his complete attention on her. Well, being a tutor to help him pass physics was just one way. Now it’s too late. Charlotte is dead, gone, and never been kissed.

But at her “new” high school, she learns that a bunch of those dearly departed, including Piccolo Pam (she swallowed her instrument), Metal Mike (music was his downfall), Deadhead Jerry (a hippie teen) and others, cannot not go to the next world until they embrace what it was that ultimately killed them – and not the obvious either. The answers lie in their textbook “Deadiquette” as well as their quest to save their home. If they can’t, they will live in limbo forever.

And Charlotte kind of likes that idea. She can now be around Damen as much as she wants to and he’ll never know she’s watching him. She can study Petula intensely and find out what makes her tick. She can be with the love of her life and pretend for eternity- but then Scarlet gets in the way.

Scarlet, Petula’s younger goth sister, is the only one who can see Charlotte and what she’s doing. When the two start talking, they realize they can experiment and fulfill their curiosity by switching themselves through possession….the only thing they didn’t bank on was how one girl could dramatically change the other’s life.

A refreshing, colorful, and hilarious outtake of death and gothic characters in today’s teen world just made its debut. The author is extremely witty and funny, starting off each chapter with a narrator’s synopsis that is a perfect fit for the reader. The imagination and style of the author are evident from beginning to end in this well-written book for teens. Mix a little “Scary Movie” humor in with “Mean Girls” characters; give it the all encompassing theme of true love and this unique author’s writing style, and you have yourself a true YA winner!

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