Angela's Reviews > Ghostgirl

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
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Oct 16, 10

** spoiler alert ** I honestly don't know where to start in what bothered me about this book. So I'll start with what I liked, and that was the author's voice. Even though I didn't get half the references to music bands and other pop culture stuff, I did like the genuine feel of the writing. I know that doesn't go along with a lot of other reviews I've read, but frankly, I wouldn't mind reading more Tonya Hurley if her next books weren't centered around characters who are stereotyped. OK, so I suppose I should start there: this book is a walking stereotype. The cheerleaders are evil and dumb, the jock is goodhearted but stupid, and Hurley actually went so far as to say dead teenagers don't worry about their parents because they're all so self-absorbed.

Not setting the bar very high there, are we?

Last I checked there were all different kinds of teenagers, just like there are all different kinds of people. Not all cheerleaders are evil snobs, not every nerd is a wanna be, not all jocks are stupid, and believe it or not, some teenagers do care about their parents. Which brings me to the next thing that bugged the heck out of me: Where are the parents? Now, I understand that most teen books I have thus far read have neglectful parents who are practically non-existent in the text. This has, in fact, turned into a cliche in teen fiction unto itself, but Hurley takes this to a new level because there isn't a single scene with a parent in it, and the parents aren't even specifically mentioned. Charlotte's are kind of, sort of, mentioned in passing, but I know nothing about Petula and Scarlet's parents by the end of the novel, nothing about the main male character's parents, and nothing about the parents of any of the dead kids. It's as if I've been put into a high school world where all parents have been wiped off the face of the earth by a tragic plague which left only teenagers. Ooooh, there's a good plot line, but I suppose that's already be done in Lord of the Flies.

On to the next thing that drove me crazy: plot holes. One in particular. The dead kids are supposed to keep a house from getting condemned, a house with asbestos in it. And they succeed at this task by having the local high school hold a dance at the house. Leaving me to scratch my head and wonder why any high school would agree to hold a dance in a nearly condemned property with asbestos in it. Do they really care so little about the health of their students? And does this solve the asbestos problem? It doesn't, and there is little as frustrating as getting to the end of a book with a conclusion that makes absolutely no sense.

Which brings me to my next issue, Charlotte is whiny, whiny, whiny, whiny . . . to the point that I had a very hard time stomaching her, and selfish. So selfish that her one ultimate act of growth in the end is virtuous only because it isn't as selfish as everything else she's done. It's like applauding a thief for not taking candy from a baby, because the character of the thief is just too ugly to make the more satisfying deed of the thief returning the candy unrealistic. Yeah, Charlotte, you didn't steal the kiss--good for you, now you're a hero! Are you kidding me?

At this point in time you're probably getting the impression that I feel kind of cheated by this book, and you would be right. Because it looked so good and I really got into it in the first three chapters or so, then it just deteriorated. I almost stopped reading when I got to the 12 steps, and that's sad because I love the 12 steps, but just didn't see how they had enough relevance to the plot. It isn't like we saw the dead kids working through the steps, and the only one they really covered in the book was letting go. So what of the others? Was it just filler material or what?

OK, I'm done with my rhetorical questions now. I understand full well how hard it is to write a novel and I respect Ms. Hurley for her hard work. And in fairness, the fact that I felt so much disappointment with the book, means that she succeeding in making me care. So in the sense that her writing style was entertaining, I can certainly learn something from her. It just wasn't my favorite read.

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