Sunday, March 27, 2011

Book #13: The Ghost and the Goth

I picked Stacey Kade's The Ghost and the Goth as my most recent 2011 book after hearing its forthcoming sequel mentioned in a webinar I attended a few weeks ago. The premise of this YA novel appealed to me because it is a paranormal-themed novel without being too paranormal--really it's realistic fiction with a paranormal element central to the plot. Not being a huge paranormal fan, I thought I'd give it a try.

I wasn't disappointed. Kade's writing includes some really funny dialogue, especially between two main characters Alona Dale and Will Killian. Alona, who was at the very tip top of the popularity chain at her high school, finds herself dead after being hit by a school bus. For reasons unbeknownst to her, she doesn't "move on"--rather, she roams the school with other ghosts, and none of the other students who were so recently her minions can see her. None, that is, except Will, who has the gift/curse of being able to hear the dead. Unfortunately for him, this ability has translated into his mother and shrink thinking he's schizophrenic, and he has a hard time relating to people at school amidst all of the dead voices that only he can hear constantly filling his ears. Will is what Alona would have called a social zero when she was alive--but can they help each other? That's the premise of the book, and it will continue into a sequel to be released in May of this year.

The Ghost and the Goth is a quick read thanks in part to Kade's witty characters and quick-paced chapters, and the book deals with several larger themes than the perhaps run-of-the-mill YA paranormal fiction. Sure, there are some romantic elements to the story, but there are also great opportunities for contemplating how no one's life is perfect, the risks and benefits of telling the truth, and the real meaning of friendship in a cut-throat high school world. I'd suggest this book for readers who enjoy YA realistic fiction, for those who are hesitant to try some YA paranormal fiction, and for those who enjoy some clever dialogue.

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