Title: The Ghost and the Goth
Author: Stacey Kade
May Contain Spoilers
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?
This was a fun book. Though I was never totally won over by Alona, she did undergo some much needed character development. Will, however, charmed me from the start, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him mature and grow as events spiraled out of his control. He’s dealing with a lot of difficult issues, and the fact that he can see and hear ghosts isn’t helping him much. They are ruining his life, despite his best efforts to ignore their presence. When the recently deceased, but lingering Alona blows into his life, things get very rough for him, and even he begins to think that it will be impossible to avoid an extended stay in the local loony bin.
Though both Alona and Will are dealing with some heavy emotional issues, the overall tone of the narrative remained breezy and accessible throughout. Told through alternating viewpoints, Alona is the golden girl with a bitter secret to hide, and Will is an outcast, who is also harboring secrets of his own. When Alona discovers that he alone can see and hear her, she is at first aghast. Here’s a guy she wouldn’t have given the time of day when she was alive, but now that she’s had an unfortunate run-in with the front end of a bus, she doesn’t have much choice but to ask for his help. Make that demand his help. Alona, after all, is the school princess, a member of the first tier, and Will should be grateful that she’s addressing him at all. Yeah, it’s an attitude like that that made me want to slap Alona more than a few times. She doesn’t ask for help, she demands it, and even now that she’s dead, she still bullies people into getting her own way. Yes, she desperately needed a major attitude adjustment.
Will, on the other hand, just wants to graduate and get the hell out of dodge. There are so many spirits lingering around the school that he can’t completely shut them all out, though he does his best to ignore them. With the nazi principal constantly on his back, waiting for him to screw up, Will is walking a tight rope to disaster. Everyone thinks he’s nuts because of his little “episodes,” and with Alona there to pester him, things keep getting worse. Still, he can’t help but be attracted to her; he’s had a crush on her for a while, which made me want to slap him!
The Ghost and The Goth kept me turning the pages, mainly because I wanted to see how the romance between Will and Alona would work out. That, and I wanted to see Will get a break, and finally take control of his life. Because of a promise he made to his dad, he feels that he has to just grimace and bear the awful times he’s experiencing. He doesn’t trust his mother enough to confide to her, but instead he’s given a chance to work through his issues with Alona’s help. As she began to see Will in a different light, she began to give him the strength he needed to save himself.
This is the perfect book to pack in your beach bag. The issues that Will and Alona must face aren’t so weighty that they’ll bring you down, and the swift pacing will keep you glued to the book. It’s a fun story that kept me engaged in the plot, even though one of the protagonists failed to totally charm me.
Review copy provided by publisher