Friday, December 31, 2010

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade

The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
Pages: 228
Publisher: Hyperion

"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 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. 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?"

If you asked me to sum up this book in one word I would say cute. If you gave me three I would say cute but predictable. However, this is my standard assessment of just about every work of romantic, for lack of a better word, comedy.

The basic premise of the story is that Alona Dare (your typical it girl with a secret) takes a fatal step in front of a bus and ends up as a ghost, spirit, or whatever term you’d like to use. In her incorporeal form she learns that her friends were never really friendly and that the entire school hates her, etc. So far, just a typical plot. Enter Will Killian. Will is Alona’s exact opposite, for one thing he’s goth (hence The Ghost and the Goth) and he despises all things popular. But you know what they say about opposites. After meeting up with some of the other spirits haunting the school, Alona realizes that Will can see and hear her. One thing leads to another and the two are practically joined at the hip because of certain agreements and arrangements, some voluntary and some quiet unexpected. So, the pair work together to free Will from the hoards of ghosts asking him to help them find the light, settle some unresolved issues, and manage to keep Will from getting locked up in the loony bin. Sounds good, right? The problem is Alona keeps disappearing, and one time, she may not come back.

The Ghost and the Goth is a very quick read, practically one sitting. It has some exciting moments, and it definitely holds your interest, but it’s no classic. The story line is, as I said, cute and predictable. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re anything like me, you need a break between those hard-core murder/assault/death novels. The Ghost and the Goth is the perfect filler, or as I like to say “fluffy”, novel to clear the mind before tackling another serious subject.

This novel is nice the way it is, but I wish that the plot had received a little more development. It could have had some real elements of exciting action. The seeds of the idea are there, but they didn’t sprout or grow.

The big picture: The Ghost and the Goth is a cute romantic story. It doesn’t require deep thought, and it has no anxiety ridden moments. I would recommend that you take this book on vacation with you. It’s a perfect beach read, quick, light, and funny.

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