Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Ghost Girl

Why did I pick it up?

My brain works in strange ways. I was in one of my favorite used book stores, you know the kind where the shelves are double packed and there is literally only enough room for a single person to get through? Anyway, I was walking towards the back where I knew they kept all the fantasy and sci-fi as well as some young adult. I was looking for the Cirque Du Freak novels and sitting there was Ghostgirl.

At first I didn't pay it any attention until my brain provided me with a snippet from a show called Ace of Cakes where the bakers made a cake for a special book signing of the author Tonya Hurley. They made a Charlotte cake. I picked up the book, hardcover, and decided I would check it out. Yes. Based solely on an old show I'd watched with a cake of the main character. I told you my brain works in strange ways.

The Review of Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley:

First I want to say I started the book at 7:30AM and finished by 10:25AM, yes on the same day. No, I didn't mean to hit "PM" on 10:25. It's a short book and a light read but in no way do those points take away from its entertainment.

Charlotte is the unpopular kid at school and has decided to change it. Fate seems to be working for her until she chokes on a gummy bear and dies after becoming the tutor of her crush: Damen.

In a cliché theme: Charlotte doesn't realize she's dead. When it does hit her instead of taking it entirely negatively, she decides her new state will help her win the affections of Damen: handsome, popular football player dating the head cheerleader.

Yes, the book has a clot of clichés in it: cheerleader gets what's coming to her, the cheerleader has two best friends (a la Mean Girls) who make her clique, the cheerleader's younger sister is the Goth girl who wins over the affection of said cheerleader's popular boyfriend. Except in this case the reason Scarlet (cheerleader's younger sister) wins over the boyfriend (Damen) is because of the ghost Charlotte who has been vying for Damen's affections.

Turns out Scarlet is the only one who can see Charlotte and Charlotte uses this to her advantage. Oh, did I mention Charlotte still has to go to Dead School and learn about not interfering with the living?

It's very much a Mean Girls kind of movie where the popular people learn from their mistakes, the outcast becomes welcome, and everyone lives (or moves on) happily ever after. Connecting with Scarlet and Charlotte was easy. They seemed like real teens and had their own insecurities and problems to deal with atop of the whole Charlotte being dead issue.

I loved how at the beginning of each chapter there was a sort of mini-prologue about what Charlotte was going through. They really drove the point home and gave an insight to what had happened so far as well as giving hints to how the chapter was going to go.

In the end everything works out. Charlotte learns what she's supposed to, the school learns the outcasts aren't so different, the popular people realize the error of their ways, and everyone lives with some joy in their lives. It brought a tear to my eye when Charlotte's issues were finally resolved and resolved well and the book itself ends on happy note with everything tied in a nice bow.

Would I read it again?

Yes. It only took me three hours after all, but seriously, yes. I will definitely be reading through the mini-prologues, especially this one:

"I love you, but I'm not in love with you: This is a false distinction. Completely backward if you think about it. Love is love. What's really meant by being "in love," is obsession, addiction, infatuation, but not actual love. Being "in love" is a statement of your own needs and desires rather than an attempt to fulfill another's. True love, on the other hand, is a bridge between two people."

The Negatives:

It was a short book, again, it only took me three hours to read it and clocks in at 328 pages, at least my hardcover version does. The other thing many people tend to comment on is the lame death jokes through out the book and the characters being stereotypical, which is the same trend I noticed in The 100-year-old Man. I think a lot of people fail to realize Ghostgirl is intended as SATIRE.

Satire: a genre of literature and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself, into improvement.

Ghostgirl is meant to be stereotypical and ridicule the very idea of high school clicks, clichés, and romance. It's meant to have death-puns to further push the idea of the book not intending to be the next Stephen King or GRR Martin or JK Rowling novel. It's meant to poke fun at the lengths all of us go to be noticed and that's exactly what the book did, in a quirky, kind of heartfelt way.

So, if you're reading the 1-star reviews on Amazon, please remember Ghostgirl is a satire. Also remember the book is meant for people as young as 12. So yes, it is going to be focused entirely on the main characters without worry as to what their parents are doing/where their parents are because, and let's be honest, most teens don't give a crud about what their parents are thinking. And really, I didn't care where or what the parents of the main characters were doing either. You're not supposed to.

Final review: 4/5 because I wish it was a little longer. Other than there not being enough: the book was great and I enjoyed it.

Until next time: comments, questions, rants, and the like can be directed to the comments.

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