Friday, 7 October 2011

review: Give Up The Ghost

by Megan Crewe
Henry Holt, 2009
young adult paranormal

Ever since her best friend turned the whole school against her, Cass McKenna's pretty much only had ghosts for friends. Which suits her just fine, since ghosts always have the best dirt for her to expose the poseurs at her school. She never expected Tim, student council VP, to figure out her secret -- or ask her to use it to contact his dead mother. When Cass agrees, neither of them suspect just how severe the consequences will be for Tim, and in turn how changing her entwining in his life will be for Cass.
The cover:

Looooove it. Look at all those warm, lingering shades of blue, and the way the perfectly normal (and brunette!) girl is contrasted by the faded hand of a ghost. It represents the situation perfectly, really. A wicked awesome title font combination rounds off this absolutely A++ cover.

The book:

Give Up The Ghost ended up darker in content than I'd thought it'd be -- consider it, tone-wise, similar to The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade. Basically, less romance, more character growth and "issues", and a sore lack of founding for all the paranormal activity. It didn't read as expected, but definitely didn't end up worse for wear. Far from it.

Cass is awesome: smart, prickly and flawed, but not in a way that makes you want to punch her idiotic lights out. And she's hilarious, too -- just a sample of her wry, dry wit that makes this entire novel a delight:
The guy chases me around the city all week, and now that I actually want to do something for him, I've got cooties. Perfect.
Watching Cass realize, work with and overcome her own social roadblocks feels like a personal accomplishment. She's a normal kid, you know? Albeit with ghost-interacting abilities. She's just trying to face the injustices thrown at her long ago.

Crewe handled the age-old parent's-death tactic realistically, offering a chilling view into the world of the grieving. Watching Tim change as a character is at least as interesting as Cass is heartwarming, if a touch morbid at times. And the pure loveliness of their almost-more-than-friends relationship at the novel's end is gorgeous. So feel-good. *sigh* :)

The grim perspective that all their friends are in it for themselves is never quite resolved (are they, or are they not?), and backstory for Cass's paranormal abilities is skimpy. This novel isn't without its minor drawbacks, but in the end it's one you should read just to experience the most touching and real relationship a teen girl and boy can experience. Or I can give it to you this way: Give Up the Ghost was good enough to make me buy it. :)

Rating: 4.3 out of 5