Ghostgirl

Ghostgirl  - Tonya Hurley Alright, what to start with...

I liked the cover. The packaging. The layout. The way the whole book is formatted. Actually, it's what pushed me to buy it, since I found it at a low price at the bookstore. And... I guess that's all? A perfect example of "don't judge a book by its cover".

This story could've been interesting, if only it had been carried in a different way. Unfortunately, things go down hill fast, very fast. The writing itself, for starters, is nerves-grating: lots of telling instead of showing, and resorting to so many adverbs that I stopped counting after chapter 2. The setting is that of a high school, but the style is at best middle school-level, and I'm not sure a high schooler would enjoy it—so I don't have any idea about what the targetted audience was.

The characters came out as flat and cliché at their worst: all the cheerleaders are sluts, the Goth Girl, the jocks... If the whole book had been treated as a real parody, it may actually have been enjoyable; however, it fell in the middle, hovering between attempts at being funny and a more serious kind of story. And thus, the end result was a pile of clichés that weren't even amusing. Parents and family are thrown out of the window with the assumption that "teenagers are so self-centered that they just don't care about them once they're dead". Yeah, right, I so believe that. YA literature in general doesn't bother about family much, but in this book, this trope is brought to its apex, and with a stupid reason to boot.

The story itself didn't make much sense. The dead kids have to protect a house, but we're never told why (as a reader, I would've liked to at least know, even if the characters themselves weren't meant to). The living kids are allowed to hold a ball in a place that was pronounced unsafe, something that just doesn't compute. Charlotte is supposed to be the girl nobody pays attention to, yet she's bullied by the popular girls, which doesn't fit much the "invisible girl" concept–such people are just ignored, not bullied. She's also so shallow and selfish, with a definite streak of stalker, that there was no way for me to like her or empathize with her predicament; everything bad that happened to her, she brought upon herself, anyway. And let's not talk about the pop-culture references. I'm all for cameos and insiders, except that those weren't of much use here.

Again, it could've been a good story if it had really played on humour and clichés. This was the story I wanted to get; alas, it's not the story I got.