Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Posted by Simcha 5:03 PM, under | 7 comments
I don’t like to read stories involving ghosts or kids getting killed so The Ghost and the Goth, which includes both of these, was not even on my radar. Or at least, that was the case until I started seeing the book crop up on several of the book blogs that I read, along with surprisingly positive reviews. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give The Ghost and the Goth a try.
Alona Dare is one of those pretty, popular girls who can make or break a person's reputation with just a look. Everyone wants to be her friend, and no one would dare cross her, but when Alona gets hit by a bus and dies she discovers that she wasn't as well-liked as she had thought. In fact, no one seems particularly sorry to see her gone. Even Alona’s best friend barely waited for her body to get cold before hooking up with her boyfriend, and all Alona can do is watch from the sidelines, unseen.
Surprisingly, there is one person who does seem to be able to see Alona- the strange Goth boy, Will Killian. Alona would never have demeaned herself by speaking to Will while alive but now that she is dead she doesn’t have too many options. For some reason Will can see her, along with all the other ghosts in the school, and that means he may have some of the answers that she is looking for, and Alona intends to get them from him, if he likes it or not.
When Will first sees the dead Alona on the ground crying, he can’t help but be amused at how far the haughty cheerleader had fallen. But the situation becomes less amusing when Alona takes to following Will around demanding explanations about her continued presence on Earth. Due to his “gift” of being able to hear the dead (a rather unpleasant gift, as it were) Will has picked up some knowledge over the years about ghosts, but he’s still far from being an expert on the subject, though in order to get Alona off of his back he agrees to assist her. But time may be running out for Will, who’s strange behavior has attracted the attention of a psychologist, who is trying to get him committed to a mental institution. Will's best friend has also been behaving really oddly lately and her involvement with a dark force beyond her understanding may prove to be dangerous to Will.
I went into The Ghost and the Goth with very low expectations and was surprised by how easily I got caught up in the story. We start off in Alona's head, privy to the angry thoughts running through her mind, right before she gets hit by a bus. The story then picks up three days later as Alona struggles to come to terms with her new situation, disappointed to see how easily the world has gone on without her. In the next chapter we meet Will, who has inherited the strange ability to see ghosts, and for whom day-to-day living is a constant struggle because of this.
Before I started the book I really couldn’t imagine how I could find enjoyment in a story that involves a girl getting killed by a bus, but Stacey Kade somehow manages to pull it off. Despite the subject matter the story is entertaining and light. It probably helped that I didn't find either Alona or Will to be particularly likable at first, though as the story progresses and they come to understand and appreciate each other, I also came to care the two of them more. I enjoyed those moments that led to each of them shedding their preconceived notions about the other, eventually leading to a real friendship between them. There are even several romantic moments here, which I wouldn't have expected between a boy and a ghost. I'm really curious to see how Alona and Will's relationship will develop in the next book.
Yes, I did enjoy The Ghost and the Goth enough that I plan on seeking out the sequel and from now on I'll try to be more open-minded when it comes to my reading material (though I still won't read The Lovely Bones).