BLURB: After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck as a spirit (DON’T call her a ghost) in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast who despises the social elite. He alone can see and hear (turns out he’s been “blessed” with the ability to communicate with the dead), but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.
Alona has never needed anyone for anything, and now she’s supposed to expose her deepest, darkest secrets to this pseudo-goth boy? Right. She’s not telling anyone what really happened the day she died, not even to save her eternal soul. And Will’s not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side. He only has a few more weeks until his graduation, when he can strike out on his own and find a place with less spiritual interference. But he has to survive and stay out of the psych ward until then. Can they get over their mutual distrust—and the weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?
REVIEW: I have to admit, this wasn’t one I was planning on reading right away (no particular reason). But, after reading some excellent reviews and seeing the cute cover, I snatched it up and, boy-howdy, I’m glad I did! After getting it yesterday afternoon, I settled in to read it and couldn’t put it down (while this is meant as a complement, I always feel bad when I say I read a book in a matter of 2-3 hours, since I know how much work the author put into it!).
Alona’s a great character, and she, as well as her interactions with Will, are what kept me reading until the wee hours of the morning. In life, she was the perfect cheerleader-student-A-lister. In death, she finds out just how far she’s fallen from the top of the social pyramid–her friends talk crap about her, her BFF has her tongue down Alona’s boyfriend’s throat the day after Alona’s memorial, and every day she winds up flat on her back in the middle of the road, just like when that big bus hit and killed her.
She’s understandably ticked off but determined to find “The Light” (although some people believe she belongs in, yanno, the other place). Then she discovers Will, a creepy, goth-looking guy who, while alive Alona would have nothing to do with. But he can communicate with the dead–something he’d rather not do, something his psychiatrist wants to lock him up in the looney bin for–and Alona needs him to go to the light, a place with unfattening Krispie Kremes and endless shopping.
Another thing I liked about this story is how Stacey Kade takes typical high school cliches, like the gorgeous cheerleader who has everything or the loser goth kid, and tweaks them. Throughout the story, Kade makes it a point to show how things aren’t always what they seem. Alona may look like she has a perfect life but she also has an alcoholic mother and a distant father. Will’s father committed suicide, devastating Will’s mother and leaving Will to deal with his “gift” alone. This point-making was a little heavy-handed at times but not annoyingly so.
Besides Alona finding her way in the spirit world and Will trying not to get expelled or committed, there are other plots going on that keep the action moving forward and keep it from being all about Alona (although she’d probably like it that way) or Will. Kade’s story is fast-paced, filled with tons of snarky dialogue, and well-drawn characters who keep you rooting for them. Highly recommended!
Final Grade for THE GHOST AND THE GOTH by Stacey Kade: 95/A
YA Paranormal Romance
ARC provided by We Love YA!
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