Thursday, May 28, 2009

Book Review: Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

And if I should die before I awake,

I pray the popular attend my wake.

Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she's dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn't stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal. If you thought high school was a matter of life or death, wait
till you see just how true that is.In this satirical, yet heartfelt novel, Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at some times and the lengths we'll go to be seen.

I'm going to admit that I picked up this book mainly because of the cover. Now, that doesn't mean that the premise wasn't interesting, it was, but the cover just looked extremely original. The book starts off with Charlotte's death...death by gummy bear. If it's not tragic enough to be remembered as "that girl who died because she choked on a gummy bear", she finds out that she has to attend high school for ghosts. At this "deadiquette" class she meets other teens who had untimely deaths, and together they are supposed to work toward graduating (crossing over). Charlotte is supposed to accept that she's dead, but she just can't give up the dream of catching Damen (her super popular, living, crush). So, Charlotte strikes up a deal with a girl named Scarlet (who is, much to Charlotte's surprise, able to see Charlotte). Charlotte will inhabit Scarlet's body for a while, and during that time Scarlet will get to wander around invisible to her peers. Shenanigans ensue.

The story was unique, and written by someone who really made me remember the angst of being a teenager. It was well written, and Hurley is a veteran in the field. This may be her first teen book, but she's spent a lot of time writing/directing for television and film. The problem, however, was that I lost interest around the middle. This might have been due to the large number of books that had just been released that I had been dying to read, or it might have just been my lack of empathy for a character so set on being popular. Eventually, I made it through, and was pleasantly surprised that story picked up again toward the end. The sequel, Ghostgirl: Homecoming is being released in July, and I'll undoubtedly read it. I'm interested in seeing how Hurley can continue this story (since the first one seemed to wrap up really well). The premise of the new story does sound interesting, and once again the cover art is amazing.

by Tonya Hurley
328 pages
Published by Little, Brown and Company
Rating: B-


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