“Charlotte Usher headed purposefully across the parking lot to the front doors of Hawthroen High, repeating her positive mantra – ‘this year is different. This is my year.’ Instead of being forever etched in her classmates’ high school memories as the girl who just took us space, the seat filler, the one who sucked up precious air that could be put to better use, she was going to start off this year on the other foot, a foot with the hottest, most uncomfortable shoes that money could buy.”
Charlotte was going to bag the school hottie, make the cheerleading squad and become one of the popular girls. Then she went and died. In the afterlife she carries on at school, at Hawthorne High, but instead of her normal class shes studies “Dead Ed” with her teacher Mr Brain… incidently she can see his brain. She has to come to terms with her life and tie up loose ends, but how is she going to do that when she cant come to terms with her death?
When I first saw Ghostgirl I thought I would love it, it sounded just like my kinda thing, hilariously funny, afterlife, slightly gothic looking? Hello! Totally me! But then I read it…. I kinda wish I’d not bothered and stuck with believing I’d love it!
Let’s try and start with the positives. Ghostgirl is hilarious. It would make a FANTASTIC teen “chick-flick,” the characters really jumped out of the pages at me as the types you see in that type of movie. It would be like a mix between Freaky Friday and Mean Girls I reckon… and obviously the younger, non-drugged fuelled Lindsay Lohan would be brilliant for the part of Charlotte… I did find myself enjoying the story but even that’s not without its flaws.
The story was great, it was entwined with funny events that mixed everything up a bit… but I have to say it was pretty predictable. I knew the ending before I was halfway through the book and I think to be honest the book didn’t have to be as long as it was… I did enjoy it but as I say, it was very predictable and not much different from teen movies and TV shows… I liked the little kinda twist between Damen and Charlotte and stuff but it was just far too obviously to love.
The characters were great, most of them. The dead kids? They were brilliant, and I totally understood why they were the way they were. Even Damen I had a bit of a soft spot for. Petula and the two Wendys were generic high school princesses and Scarlet was the typical “freak” but in general they were decent enough characters. All bar Charlotte…. I couldn’t stand her, she was selfish, ignorant, whiney and to be honest, downright stalkerish! I preferred her a lot more dead than alive but it took a lot for me to like her dead! She redeems herself slightly but I honestly don’t know if I can carry on with this series unless she’s a completely changed character in the next one!
Im sorry that this review focusses on all the negative… in all honesty I did enjoy reading Ghostgirl but its kind of that enjoyment that goes along with watching Legally Blonde, Mean Girls and Freaky Friday… you know they aren’t the best stories ever, and you know they are a bit rubbish, but theres something there that you like about them and that’s what makes you carry on with them! I really do think that Ghostgirl would be a brilliant movie and that someone should commission it because it would sit proudly on the shelves next to these modern day classic teen movies and I would watch it!
I think I also have to add that quite possibly one of the things that made me carry on the book was the awesome music references in it. Each chapter page featured a quote from a famous person or lryics from a band, and I NEVER thought I’d see Radiohead lyrics in a YA book! The music refererences carried on throughout the story too and I loved those. I also really enjoyed the “Narrator” boxes at the beginning of the chapters too. They reminded me of a voiceover in a movie and I think they drew me into the story more than anything else!
All in all I think I might recommend Ghostgirl to someone who wanted a fluff read… nothing too serious and nothing too great, just something to pass the time with. I MIGHT re-visit the series one day but I don’t know… I think I kinda see the series as a guilty secret that I want to take part in but don’t really know why!! (A bit like my love for all Lindsay Lohan movies… pre drug fuelled rampages!)
Ghostgirl was Tonya Hurley’s first YA novel and is the first in the series. It was published in 2008 by Headline and my copy was purchased using amazon marketplace.