by Stacey Kade
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Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.
I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot body, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?
Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.
I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?
There’s nothing better than a book that surprises you… in a good way. My story for this book is a long one, dating years back to when I added pretty much anything and everything to my ever-growing tbr pile. I was picky back then, too-Don’t be fooled. However, I didn’t quite know what I loved and how to decipher what made me tick, down to my deepest molecule.
So when I did my most recent delete spree for my tbr pile, this had to go. I mean, it had all the signs of books I try to stay away from: Fugly cover (I know, I know, shut up), hardly any friend’s ratings, no quotes that appealed to me (but I’ll change that in my review 😉 ), and just nothing to back it up and not enough ratings. But, after reading my beloved Mediator series again, I was in the mood for this book. And guess what?? I immediately added it back onto my tbr and bought it immediately. Best decision I’ve ever made (well…).
I pulled the Dodge over to the side of the road on Henderson, next to the tennis courts, flipped the hazard lights on, and waited. Alona hadn’t committed suicide, I knew that. The girl had enough arrogance and self-esteem to choke a horse. She had, however, died a violent and unnatural death, which probably meant she was still tied to the exact place of her death.
So, I guess since it’s so late, I need to get right to the book, don’t I? This story, while not wholly original (what story is these days, really), is done extremely well. That’s just my opinion, but I think I read enough books to have a little bit of room to say that. I know what I like, I know what I don’t, and I’m actually quite picky. This book, what with all its quirky humor and obvious disregard for what is now a social faux pas for our top reviewers today, stood above all cliches…by making itself into one.
I sighed. “Alona.”
“Good luck with class,” she said with faux cheer. “Hope you like musicals. I’ll make sure to tell them Annie is your favorite.”
“Wait, just wait a—”
Without another word, she slipped through the closed door, humming “Tomorrow” under her breath.
Great. Not only do I have an angry spirit guide, but an angry spirit guide with a vindictive streak and an unnatural knowledge of show tunes. Better and better already.
Now let me explain: Alona is your typical stereotypical bitchy cheerleader. So overdone, yeah? Well…that’s all in who you ask. Me? I can appreciate a fun, over-the-top, cliched-and even cheesy-book if done correctly. Do you know how many times I desperately wish for more books like this that aren’t trashed with horrid grammar, misspelling, and nasty characters you just can’t root for? It’s just unheard of these days, and I find it so comical that I turned my nose up to this one because, frankly, it was actually quite adorable.
“Good. I’m not goth.”
“Your hair is black, you have piercings, you wear black all the time and act all freaky—”
“My hair is naturally this color. I have three earrings in one ear, that’s it. This shirt”—I tugged at the fabric across my chest—“ is navy blue, and if I act weird all the time, it’s because of ghosts like you.”
And that’s the thing-it’s all in your personality. For one, Will wasn’t even a goth. I mean…perhaps he dresses a little dark, but he’s hardly Emo. And his personality, another shocking factor, actually had me swooning from his first POV. He was actually…butterfly inducing from the moment I was in his head. Yikes. Shocked Chelsea. Chelsea is shocked.
“Are you staying … or just passing through?” I asked through gritted teeth.
“Why? Does it matter to you?”
A thousand smart-ass replies leaped to mind, but she would be expecting that. So, I went for the truth. “Yeah, it does.”
Her eyes widened and the faintest hint of pink spread across her face. I grinned. Had I just embarrassed Alona Dare, the Alona Dare?
So back to my original point (man I can get off topic like no-one’s business)-typical cheerleader. Judgmental. Rude. On a pedestal…but she was meant to be this way, therefore making her wholly likable (and don’t forget what I said: Don’t ever judge a book by its cover….)-She had me laughing out loud from chapter one on. Nothing felt overdone, nothing felt cheesy-it was all perfectly balanced and, frankly, had the sweetest message.
But, hey, this obviously wasn’t without its flaws or I’d have given five, right? I think a lot of my problem stemmed from how fucking tired I was. Endless tiredness. Endless running. Go Chelsea run Chelsea find Chelsea clean Chelsea-Go go go. So, yeah, putting this down every 10% really pissed me off, if I’m being honest. When you pick up a book fifty times in 100 different moods, it tends to effect a book.
And yes, while not wholly cheesy, it did have its more exaggerated moments-like his therapist-puh-lease. And Joonie-bleh. Also, I guess I wanted a little….more? But, candidly speaking, that’s really all that bothered me. *shrugs* I just loved it so much.
“You don’t have to follow her,” I said. “It’s Friday. I know exactly where she’s going after school.” No way would Joonie miss a visit to Lily, not after what she’d told me today.
“So are we going, too, or what?” Alona idly flicked a piece of … ghost lint? … off her shorts.
Refreshing, sweet, lots of banter between Will and Alona, and a story that actually fuels itself without reaching, I fell in love within moments. Will was a beautifully tortured boy that I totally didn’t expect and Alona had a hidden life that no one could possibly see behind the veneer….just like she wanted. A story constructed of not only laughter and wise-ass remarks, but learning what it means to be a kinder person-even if she isn’t with her kind anymore and even if she struggles with it up until the very end (perhaps more…). A book filled with muddled social tiers such as jocks and mean girls and cheating bfs, cliched to the max merely to make us laugh….and it surely succeeded. Whether this book is for you or not, I really don’t know. But when life got just a little too tough around here, I turned to what makes me happy, and that’s apparently a ghostly significant other, happy to haunt (and annoy) the one they love just because they can (a la Mediator :P).
Well, color me surprised. This book was not at all what I perceived it to be, once again proving that you can’t simply judge a book by its [horribly cheesy] cover. Cute, funny, witty, sarcastic, well-written, and not at all what I thought it would be like, I fell in love almost immediately with Alona’s snarky attitude and Will’s desperation to not see those who haven’t went to their final resting place.
I still can’t believe I loved this book as much as I did. Even more surprising is that I can’t wait to read the second installment. For those of you judging this book by its cover…don’t. It’s way better than you would ever think-Even with it’s stereotypical nature and play on the social tiers of High School (Though, I think this was done on purpose for comical intents and purposes) (which I loved, btw).
But, for those of you who need more convincing…..