You know those crazy-ass novel plot pitches, the ones that sound like someone was huffing a seriously epic-amount of Elmer's glue to have come up with THAT idea? Those stories typically had some crazy element, like one of the characters is a dead-like ghost-zombie throughout the entire novel; crazy bad, right? Well, I'd have thought that right along with you, dude or dudette, and we'd have both been wrong. Crazy, yes, but bad? Nah, not always!
C'mon, reviewer reader, I would never-not-ever lie to you...And neither would this review. Put simply, I'm a bit blown away by how much I literally-like-whoa enjoyed this novel. The premise of the story alone was a sink-or-swim reality, and when all's considered, the writing of the book actually held up pretty well...for the most part. As far as a technical standpoint, The Ghost and The Goth stood up all in all decently. The pacing of the story was excellently well done with negative zero lag time, and the two main characters are believably real, but...
...While more enjoyable than a bowl of calorie free tasty ice cream, this book contains some seriously serious issues. While the novel is well constructed, with excellent build up/pay off scenes that drive the plot, at times this focus of pacing and plot definitely come as a sacrifice to quality character development. Yeah, yeah, I know, a lot of fancy-schmancy critique there, but basically the novel blasts along with the plot being a demanding bitch, doing all the driving while never once giving the keys to the characters for some off-roading exploration.
(That GIF is apropos for more than one reason, there!) Put simply, Alona and Will, while believable characters with their own solid identities don't get much more character exposition than "Here's cliche One, cliche Two, and cliche Three," along with a character description. This is a pretty ouch-inducing criticism, especially considering, um, hello? THIS NOVEL IS WRITTEN IN FIRST PERSON! Okay, sorry...*attempting to reign in book-nerd-rage.* Overall, if I had one heavy Bitch-Just-No! complaint, the above would definitely be it. However, while I will give the novel some latitude because, after all, it is a part of an on-going series, I'm still a wee bit disappointed.
And, on that note? The secondary characters! Now, yes, yes, yes and yes...I get that in deep split first person POV, the supporting cast typically get shafted in the "Hey, I'm a real boy!" department. But, even still, most authors can do a tad bit better than playing the cliched "I'm the evil principal" character, "I'm the cliched worried mom" character, "I'm the neglectful parent" character, and so on. Not, alas, for Stacey Kade. Considering the issue with the aforementioned lead characters' lacking development, not to mention their pigeon holed character types, it seems writing cliched characters is kind of Ms. Kade's modus operandi.
And, yet, in spite of all the bitching and moaning I've been doing... I still like this book! Surprising, right? Well, for starters the uniqueness of both the plot, and specifically the characters, truly helps. While Alona is the stereotypical cheerleader preppy chick, and Will is the stereotypical goth dude, such works geniusly well for the book because their identities are given excellent framing and the motivations for their personalities are stronger than just "I like the color black," or "I love pompoms!" While their setup is cliched, their delivery is not; thus the lead characters are cliched, but believably cliched!
I did, Violet; I did! And, reader, I recommend you doing the same! This book is crack, it's not good for you, and it certainly won't improve anything other than your Happy Brain Place, but indulge, just this once. I did, and will probably do so again!