The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
2010; Hyperion Book CH
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 bod, 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? (courtesy of Goodreads)
The Ghost And The Goth was just what I expected: a fun, light paranormal romance. Alona Dare, the most popular girl in school, just died in a freak accident. Will Killian, the school loser, is just trying to hang out for a few more weeks so he can graduate high school.
The book is told from alternating points of view of Alona and Will. Alona comes back to school as a ghost - something is preventing her from moving on. Will is the only person who can see and hear her. They become an unconventional team. Will helps Alona to move on and Alona helps Will to control all the ghosts that are vying for his time.
Alona's voice is the most difficult part of this book. As a stereotypical popular, mean girl, she is selfish, conceited, and shallow. Combine those qualities with a social-climber's ambition and you have one tough girl to like. Alona seems to hide her depth even from herself. It took a long time before I began to understand or sympathize with her. But by the end of the book, I admired her spunk and bold attitude.
I liked Will right away. He is the "goth" of the title, although his clothes are the only thing "goth" about him. He appears dark and depressed only because he is trying to escape from the hundreds of ghosts who try to monopolize his time. He truly hears voices and can survive only by shutting the world out. His quiet, thoughtful personality is a refreshing break from Alona, but his sarcastic viewpoint on life and his temper make his world fun to read.
The plot drags a bit in the middle. There's so much prep work to establish the world that it takes a long time for things to really get moving. This isn't as irritating as it often is. I enjoyed becoming familiar with Alona and Will's worlds, but I was definitely ready for the plot to move along.
I recommend The Ghost and the Goth to anyone looking for a funny, sarcastic twist on the typical paranormal romance. I'm looking forward to the next book (according to Stacey's website, there will be two more books).
Rating: 3.5 / 5