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Ghosts ruin everything. Especially your love life.

Everything is going great for Suze. Her new life in California is a whirlwind of parties and excellent hair days. Tad Beaumont, the hottest boy in town, has even asked Suze out on her very first date. Suze is so excited that she's willing to ignore her misgivings about Tad... particularly the fact that he's not Jesse, whose ghostly status - not to mention apparent disinterest in her - make him unattainable.

What Suze can't ignore, however, is the ghost of a murdered woman whose death seems directly connected to dark secrets hidden in none other than Tad Beaumont's past.

287 pages, Paperback

First published January 30, 2001

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About the author

Jenny Carroll

15 books247 followers
A pseudonym of Meg Cabot, under which she wrote the first 4 1-800-Where-R-You books (When Lightning Strikes, Code Name Cassandra, Safe House, and Sanctuary) and the first 4 Mediator books (Shadowland, Ninth Key, Reunion, and Darkest Hour). These 8 books have been re-released under her her real name.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,127 reviews
July 1, 2016

"You can't tell me you've liked being trapped in this room for a hundred and fifty years."
"It hasn't been all bad," he said, with a smile. "Things have picked up recently."


Okayyyy sooooo I wasn't gong to write a review today, but it's going to be a long weekend (WOOT! Bring it on 4th of July!) and I know I will finish at LEAST one book and will need to post about it Tuesday-So I'd rather not get backlogged. Plus-Any chance I get to boast about my Jesse and Suze addiction to get people aware of it again, I'm going to do it.

This is a series, I'm finding, that not only I liked, but many many of my friends did, too. Turns out? I wasn't the only pre-teen laying in my bedroom binge-reading this series and pining about Jesse like I thought I was....no wonder she is so popular. Go figure. It's so fun to talk to all you guys about how much we loved this and why it's still great, so that's why I feel the need to talk about each and every installment, no matter which are my favorite and which are just plain awesome (Pfft. They all are-even my least fav).

Jesse has those kind of eyes some guys have, the kind of sad eyes that make you think you might want to try and make them not so sad.


I must say that I enjoyed the first installment more than this one, but I remember that being the case years and years ago when I first picked these up. I loved Suze's voice, again, and loved Jesse even more. But, as it is, I really wanted more Jesse. lol-I couldn't quite pinpoint why this one wasn't my favorite years ago, but now the BBF whore in me knows exactly why. There was plenty of Jesse, really, but OMG is it too much to ask for him to be on every page? Yes? Hmm. *pouts*

"Now that," he said, putting his hands down, "was your finest performance yet. You seemed caring, yet disgusted."
I glared at him. "Don't you," I asked, grumpily, "have some chains you're supposed to be rattling somewhere?"


I actually found this one comical in the most subtle ways-the vampire aspect, the dumb jock Suze attempts to tolerate, the references to her monster-like poison ivy hands, the step-brother dynamic, and, frankly, Jesse's humor. I loved this book just like I knew I would, but I love that I get the depth in which all the jokes are meant to be taken. Before, yeah I laughed as a kid, but I certainly didn't realize just how wry the humor was-I mean, so refreshing. I even had forgotten about dear old Father Dominic-he and Suze's banter and relationship is something I had long since forgotten and I am so happy it's all coming back to me now-even stronger than before.

"A mediator is someone who helps others resolve conflicts. Not someone, who, er, kicks them in the face."
I smiled at him. "I'll keep that in mind," I said.
And I would, too. Right after I kicked Red's butt.
Whoever he was.


So, yeah. I could go on and on about how happy these books make me, but I know for a fact they get better and better and Jesse's jealousy gets stronger and stronger....What's not to fall for?? So, with that being said, I think I'm going to leave the review here and wish everyone a happy holiday weekend. I wanted to pick the third up over the weekend after my fantasy, but I got granted an AMAZING ARC I did not expect to get, so I will probably pick it up first. But if I'm being honest? I already miss these guys. I have NO clue what the hell I'm going to do when I am done with these all over again. Probably cry. Yeah. Sounds about right.


For more of my reviews, please visit:



***********

Ahhh this series will NEVER get old. Never. What a refreshing reassurance. Jesse will literally never bore me....I guess that means I can re-read these yet again when I'm older. :P

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RTC!
Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
845 reviews447 followers
August 11, 2016
3.5 stars

Probably the weakest in the series but I had so much fun reading it nevertheless! I really like Meg's writing and she has a special place in my heart. She can write hilarious scenes but sad & relatable ones as well. But she does it in her own special way which I love. I feel like she captures Suze's development as a person (and mediator) fantastically. Oh, and Jesse is cutie as always.
Profile Image for Sara (sarawithoutanH).
439 reviews2,874 followers
February 2, 2018
Rereading this series makes me very nostalgic. I'm not sure if a new reader would enjoy these books, but I'm having a great time reliving my high school reading days. I also love Suze and I'm glad I read about characters like her as a teenager.
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
510 reviews297 followers
July 18, 2016
Mini review:

I have been a fan of Meg Cabot since I was in high school. When I saw that this series was in my library I read the first book. And man was it fun! Curious about the second book I put it on hold. While yes Ninth Key was still entertaining the first book was better.

The beginning was a little to plot convenient. It was a miscommunication that lead to a lot of consequences. I was hoping that Meg would train a bit more with Father Dom but that didn't happen. Jesse is still a mystery in this book.

There are some things that are revealed. And as usual Suze was fun to read about! I enjoyed reading about her family. The ghost stuff was fun as well. I will definitely continue this series.

I highly recommend this series!
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,853 reviews1,491 followers
August 4, 2022
This really is a holding-pattern story. We don't get any movement on the Father Dom relationship. Cece and Adam are barely present. At least we get some great developments with the step-bros. Okay, just Doc (Davey), but that was the highlight of the story, by far. And that's no small highlight.

Her (ghost) dad is totally annoying me, though, and that's rare. I generally identify with the dads, but this guy is just window dressing with occasional forays into marplot.

I'm sticking with my original four stars on this, but it doesn't deserve them.

A note about Chaste: There's some making out with the new guy, but that's all there is. So it's pretty chaste. I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it since she's obviously developing feelings for Jesse.
Profile Image for Sharon.
505 reviews254 followers
May 27, 2018
I enjoyed it. Cozy, cozy read. With humor+mystery+heartwarming moments.

Also, I seriously love the protagonist, Suze. Her thoughts are just so relatable and hilarious.

I think I still like the 1st book better because it had a stronger family and friends theme there. However, it’s nice to see more badassery from the heroine.

4 stars

Things that you might want to know (WARNING: Spoilers below)
Happy/satisfying ending?
Love triangle? Cheating? Angst level?
Tears-worthy?
Humor?
Favorite scenes?
What age level would be appropriate?
--------
Should be going to sleep at 2:54 am but nooo my brain tells me I should start this book. Also, cheers to having a peaceful Sunday all to myself to read this ✨✨✨
Profile Image for Maggie ☘.
525 reviews648 followers
July 8, 2018
Just as much fun as the first one, though the plot was weaker. Liked both Suze, Jesse and also Doc. I don't have mich to say about these books. They're certainly compulsively readable, you could easily read each book in one day. Suze is the right mix of sassy, kick ass and likeable. Jesse is swoonworthy. And there's great cast of secondary characters. The paranormal aspect (if I can even call it world building) is really weak, but at the same time this book never pretends to be something it's not. It's light and fun read.
Profile Image for Rhea (Rufus Reads).
76 reviews113 followers
September 23, 2020
Rereading this series after years and gosh, need me more of Jesse <3 cannot wait for Paul to be introduced!!!
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,471 reviews19.1k followers
April 25, 2017
Re-read 4/25/17: If I recall correctly, I think this one is my least favorite of the series, but it was still SO GOOD. Like I said before, I don't think I would recommend this series to someone who doesn't already have the nostalgia factor, but I definitely do recommend a re-read if you haven't ever done so. Sooooo much fun
Profile Image for P .
687 reviews317 followers
April 17, 2015
อ่านไปสองเล่มเริ่มรู้สึกว่านางเอกทำอะไรผลีผลามไปนิด ส่วนเรื่องของเจสซี่ก็แทบจะไม่ได้เปิดเผยอะไรมากไปกว่าเล่มที่แล้วเลย สงสัยว่าจะเคลียร์ก็เล่มท้ายๆแหละมั้ง เล่มนี้จะไม่ได้เน้นหนักไปทางต่อสู้กับผีหรือบทบาทของเมดิเอเตอร์เหมือนกับเล่มที่แล้ว แต่มีการแทรกพาร์ทสืบสวนมา ซึ่งนี่แหละที่ทำให้เรามองกว่าซูซทำอะไรโง่ๆลงไปเยอะมาก แต่นั่นก็เป็นตัวที่ทำให้เนื้อเรื่องไหลไปข้างหน้า เพียงว่า...มีอะไรอย่างนี้บ่อยๆครั้ง มันเหมือนกับการกินน้ำพริกถ้วยเดิม มุกเดิมๆที่เคยขำ เคยคิดว่ามันตลก พอมาเจออีกทีในเล่มนี้ มันชักจะไม่ตลกแล้วสิ จากไม่ตลกจึงกลายเป็น 'แป๊ก' ไปตั้งแต่เมื่อไรก็ไม่รู้ ...

ตอนแรกมองว่าซูซเป็นเด็กสาวที่โก๊ะๆเปิ่นๆ ซุ่มซ่าม ทำอะไรให้มันดูน่ารักน่าหยิก พอหลังๆนี่เหมือนจะตั้งใจ บอกเลยว่าไม่ขำแล้วนะ เปลี่ยนมุกเหอะ หวังว่าเล่มต่อไปจะงัดอะไรเด็ดๆมาทำให้เราอยากอ่านซีรีย์ชุดนี้ต่อไปได้นะ ...

Profile Image for Io705.
20 reviews
January 5, 2010
The Ninth Key (Part Two of the Mediator Series)
Final Response by Iolanthe Brooks
12.24.09

I think Suze is just a confused girl trying to find her way. Only for her it’s even harder. Everyone is pressuring her to do different things, things a girl shouldn’t have to worry about. Her mom pressures her to go on dates, even if it means walking into traps and her mentor, Father Dominic, pressures her to help all these ghosts. If I were Suze, I’d be all confused inside.

Normal girls lean on each other when they are going through tough times, but who can Suze lean on? No one understands her. It’s like she lost, and all alone in world where she doesn’t belong. But, what world is that?

I feel like maybe some people are just destined to not fit in. No matter how hard they try they’ll never be “right.” But, what if those people are the most kind, caring, sweet people? What happens? Can the sweetest of the sweetest endure being all alone? I don’t think they can. No one can, and just because these people are different from your average run-of-the-mill girl or boy, they’re still humans. And, no human can ever be all alone their whole life without going crazy.

I wonder if Suze is going to go crazy, I think she will. I think that Suze thinks that no one notices her, no one pays her any attention. So, she’s already started ruining her life by wearing shorter skirts and kissing random boys and hurting the ghosts instead of talking to them. Why would Suze let this happen to her? Why won't she just try to talk to the ghosts?

Maybe she can’t bear to talk to them (the ghosts). It’s like all that peer pressure to be “normal” won’t let her talk to the ghosts. Maybe, she’s mad at them. Maybe she’s mad that they ruined her social life, that they hurt her, but did they?
 Maybe the ghosts don’t have to ruin Suze’s life. Maybe they only ruin her life because she lets them. She lets everyone ruin her life. And, then I think she becomes to afraid to admit that she’s let people’s words hurt her, so she lies to herself. She tells herself that she’s some super strong ghost-buster (per-say) and that no one can hurt her. So she hurts the ghosts.

I think we all do this a lot, whether our ghosts are siblings or friends, or even mentors. We convince ourselves that we don’t need others love. And, then we take out all our pain on others. We let peer pressure make us crazy, so crazy that we could hurt and kill, and do beastly things. Instead of working things out, we choose to hurt each other. And, it’s a chain. We hurt one person and they hurt another and they hurt another, and it goes on and on and on. But, hurting others never solves anything. It just generates anger.

Suze is too stuck on what her mom says, on what others say, that she can’t even hear her heart over the roar of their words. She’s lost in a world of her mom’s dreams, and other’s dreams and commands. She’s just looking for a way to be herself, a mediator, but to also be happy and loved, and not alone. But, Suze is really stuck. By lying to herself she’s made almost impossible to get out of that cycle of hate. She refuses to admit to herself, that she’s not a grown-up. And, she can’t be a superhero. She can’t do everything right, because no one can. As soon as Suze can admit that she’s made mistakes, and that she always will, then she’ll be able to live as herself. She’ll be able to be happy being a mediator, not depressed. I think that if Suze will open her eyes she’ll be free.

But, no one said that was going to be easy.
Profile Image for Carol.
829 reviews63 followers
December 7, 2020
SO INTENSE!!! loved this next installment, so much more dark and ,honestly, thought that Suze wasn't going to make it even thought I know there are more books lol
Something that I quite enjoy is seeing Suze setting her roots into this new life, she is growing so close to Doc, her new younger stepbrother, and they are indeed partners in crime when the subject is finding out more about Jesse's past. They had such a strong link, it made me tear up a little.
Also, let's talk about how super gone Suze is for Jesse already even if she tried to deny it LOL love my girl, Suze and her badass self.
Profile Image for Nasty Lady MJ.
1,057 reviews16 followers
May 6, 2020
This isn't necessary a bad book. But this book and the first book are always difficult for me to get into, compared with the rest of the series. Bryce and Tad are honestly sort of homogenous. At least with Michael (random guy who flirts with Suze in the third book) there's sort of a twist. It's still a decent book though, though I did think it was sort of lame Suze got grounded in the end.

To see review with gif click here.


Original Reading Experience:

I read this in a binge read when I finally got my hands on the rest of the series-I had read books five and then later four first BEFORE finally reading books one, two, and three.

Honestly, I just wanted to get on with this one and get to the last book because I had to know how my ship was going to work out. Because it just had to because surely Meg wouldn’t be that cruel…

Anyway, what I remembered the most about Ninth Key was Suze’s fashion choices-Armani sweater seat, Batgirl boots, and Betsey Johnson miniskirt. That outfit was imprinted on my brain.


And I kept thinking about it since. Or at least that’s the outfit I always associated Suze with besides the plethora of slip dresses that she wore in the fourth book.

Funny, how this series became a lot of my fashion inspiration at the time. No Cosmo for me, but Mediator.


Reread:

Ninth Key to me was always the forgotten book in the series. A lot of people say that about Reunion, but I actually like Reunion more or remember liking Reunion more-I think it Sleepy and Gina that made that one better than it really is.

I so ship them. Despite the fact that Gina deserves someone a lot more responsible than Sleepy.

Okay, all kidding aside, Ninth Key isn’t bad, it’s just not that remarkable.

Well, the climax scenes were well done and hilarious, but besides them this book was a particular slow book. I have to give it Meg though for slowly developing the relationship between Suze and Jesse. I really do love a good slow burn romance, and this is what this one is. It’s such a arare thing in YA, so excuse me while I sort of relish in it.

However, I don’t think there was really any growth between them in this installment other than Suze acknowledges that Jesse is hot, and Jesse interrupts a very awkward date with Tad.

But we all knew it was never going to last with Tad. I’m sure he found himself a nice boyfriend when he moved to San Francisco, just saying. Honestly, Bryce and Suze were more believable and that’s pushing it.

It’s odd how it takes Paul Slater, who is basically a sociopath, to actually be the one love interest that potentially can match Jesse and that’s mostly in fannon. Because Paul in cannon is sort of jerk, but he’s not in this book so we can’t talk about him.

Boo.

Most of the development to the overall series was done of the ancillary relationships-family and friends-which was nice. As I said before, it’s a filler book, but it does a good job showing how blended families relate to each other so that was good.

And I liked how we got to see a bit more of Adam and CeeCee in this installment, though I did feel like they were used a bit by Suze.

Bad Suze.

Overall though, Ninth Key is a good quick read. It’s never going to have the same impact on me like other installments, but it doesn’t damper the series.
Profile Image for romancelibrary.
1,037 reviews446 followers
July 30, 2020
Re-read in 2020 on audio:

I don't know how Meg Cabot does it, but man, this series is just *chef's kiss* and it stands the test of time. Ninth Key pretty much takes place the following week after Shadowland. Just as Suze is beginning to adapt to her new school, a screaming ghost decides to visit her in the middle of the night while she is sleeping. Poor Suze 😂 But hey, at least she's got the hot ghost of Jesse de Silva keeping her company in her bedroom 😉

The plot in this book is bigger than ever, with Suze taking on a serial killing businessman. I love the way Meg Cabot builds up the plot. At first, Suze thinks it's just a regular mediating job and oh boy, was she wrong. I love how the author built up the creepiness of the Beaumonts. SO GOOD!! Suze is still a badass, if a reckless one. She is whip smart and uses her brain to get out of messy situations. We also have some great relationship development with Suze and David and also with Jesse and Suze. I vividly remember her fights with Jesse and I still enjoy them now LOL. And we finally got to meet her dad, who's been haunting her for years!

As usual, Johanna Parker does an impeccable job narrating this book. She brings Suze to life and voices her character in the exact way I imagined her to be when I first read the series many years ago. Next book: it sounds like Gina will be paying Suze a visit! I honestly can't remember anything about it, so I'm excited to continue my re-read!!
Profile Image for hal .
769 reviews110 followers
February 21, 2015
The Mediator series is definitely become one of my favorites. Perhaps it's too soon to say that since I've only read the first two books? But I definitely like it.

So, let's talk about Suze for a minute. This girl is everything I want to be. She's tough. She's sarcastic, and funny. She's relatable. She's just freaking awesome. I would want this girl as a friend. She's just a character I really clicked with. And that is a super rare occurrence.

The thing I like about the Mediator books is you don't have to focus a lot. It's a nice, easy read and while I like books that are thought-provoking and deep, I also like when I can just relax with a book, when I can just effortlessly turn the pages. Not to say it's all fluff- the Mediator books do raise some interesting questions about the afterlife. But it's definitely a book that doesn't require you to clear your head and focus before reading.

Jesse, Jesse, Jesse. He is both a fictional character AND dead. Simply painful. Why can't guys like him exist in the real world?? Or at least, at my school??

Overall, a book perfect for relaxing with on a Friday night. Five stars.

Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,310 reviews95 followers
April 23, 2018
Good book. Our heroine has finally had her first dance with a boy (so what if he doesn’t really know her name). Then he turns up to be connected to her latest ghost. (Ok still cute, so that’s a plus) Then she finds out his Dad is really weird (but rich, so...I was going to say nice car, but not so much) Then she gets her first kiss (ok, he still doesn’t have her name right, but he’s closer)
Yep, things are clicking along pretty good for our heroine, until we add murder and mayhem along with unruly ghosts. What’s a girl to do? And is it too late to correct her date on her name?
Good story! Lots of fun. 😊
Profile Image for Silke.
274 reviews22 followers
March 2, 2016
Auch dieser Teil hat mir wieder sehr gut gefallen. Am liebsten würde ich direkt weiterlesen, aber ich möchte mir die Reihe noch ein bisschen aufsparen. :D
Profile Image for Amy.
224 reviews62 followers
March 13, 2015
High Stakes the second book in The Mediator series was okay but I think I preferred the first book.

Suzie was a little harsh at times in this book, especially towards her step brothers. She also tried to be funny at times but to me it seemed inappropriate, it just didn't really work for me. It made her seem pretty stupid to be honest. I expected her relationship with Jesse to progress a little in this book but it seems she is at a stand still with him. He saves her a lot but most of the time he just disappears on her.

The overall story line in this book was good and Cabot really has you guessing until the very last page. I changed my mind about who the bad guy was at least three times, the characters were quite unreliable in this book.

I didn't like Tad though. He was stupid to not know what was going on with his dad and uncle. I also didn't understand why he was so interested in Suzie, it's not like they had anything in common. I don't think he will be in the next book, just like Bryce I think he will be a one off character. I hope that doesn't keep happening in this series, being introduced to boring love interests isn't good!

Profile Image for Morgan.
291 reviews60 followers
February 12, 2016
Book 2 = CHECK

This book was just as good as the first. Suze is honing her mediator skills and Jesse is as charming as ever. Not to mention the fabulous sibling rivalry going on. Having four siblings myself, Meg Cabot nailed it right on the head!! Loved every bit of it.

Luckily I had a large car ride today and got to do the majority of the reading of this book myself, and gave the book on tape a rest. Not that I minded the audiobook for Shadowland, but when you get the chance to sit down and read.....you do what you gotta do! ;)
Profile Image for Kaisa.
106 reviews123 followers
October 15, 2011
More Jesse =) I want even moooore Jesse please.
I love that these books are short enough for me to read even when I'm supposed to be reading other things. haha.

You know what was nice about this book? There was a moment where I thought Meg Cabot was gonna throw in the most overused creature in the world into the story, but she didn't! She didn't. And I was thankful for that.
Meh, what can I say... These books are entertaining.
Profile Image for Delitealex.
212 reviews104 followers
February 18, 2016
An enjoyable addition to the Mediator series. Suze is back and as feisty as ever. She makes a mistake while trying to help a ghost which gets her mixed up with some other dangerous business. It was a quick fun read I can't wait to continue on with the series.
Profile Image for effbee.
140 reviews279 followers
January 10, 2022
In my memory Tad was much more of a romantic lead... why did my preteen self like him so much... perhaps he was the original himbo ...
Profile Image for Kelly.
380 reviews26 followers
March 15, 2015
I thought this one was a lot more fun than the first. I like the development of her relationships with Jesse and the stepbrothers. I wish other characters had a little more to do in this novel, like CeeCee and Adam and Father Dominic, but I'm hoping for a return to them in future installments. I'm going to have to get my hands on the rest of these soon!
Profile Image for Lid.
690 reviews344 followers
January 10, 2017
Ha sido bastante divertido sin embargo no aporta nada respecto del primer libro e incluso deja más de lado a los personajes secundarios centrándonos en una historia que no ha sido gran cosa. Sigue siendo bueno por la protagonista y el humor pero como segundo libro ha quedado flojo.
Profile Image for Aires.
188 reviews11 followers
November 17, 2016
Jednoduše perfektní, vtipné, napínavé. :) Susannah vážně není žádné ořezávátko, skvělými hláškami nešetří a k tomu Jesse...Co víc si přát :)
Profile Image for Megan.
419 reviews21 followers
July 16, 2020
Original rating: 4 stars
7/2020 reread: 4 stars

-
I could give a seminar on five easy ways to kick a ghost's butt and not mess up your hair.
Second volume! I managed to forget the plot of this book entirely, for some reason? Which is weird because it's actually quite distinct where its ghosts and mystery are concerned. In this volume, Suze is visited by a distraught spirit begging her to tell "Red" that he didn't kill her. With this limited information, Suze undertakes some amateur sleuthing, which leads her to Thaddeus "Red" Beaumont, one of Salinas County's foremost real estate developers . . . and self-professed vampire. Oh, and she just so happens to be kinda-sorta-dating his son, Tad.

I'm in the middle of my reread of book three as I write this, and Ninth Key works as an excellent bridge between the frenetic, simplistic, choppy style of Shadowland and the more refined, purposeful, incisive wit of Reunion. Prose, dialogue, pacing, and characterization all improved by several notches (a trend that will continue in book three). Additionally, the central mystery of this book (while no less raw than the previous conflict involving Heather Chambers) felt cleaner. More mature, if you will. Not only because the writing is smoother but because the Beaumont's dirty laundry has a great ecopolitical bent, replete with humor-veiled indictments of corporate greed, urban sprawl, and irresponsible wealth.

I'm still really impressed by how serious the conflicts in The Mediator series have been. These books pass themselves off as fairly frivolous YA titles, but their content can be fucking dark, man. Shadowland dealt with the furious ghost of a mentally-ill teenage girl who killed herself during an emotional episode, ending with an exorcism of said girl, and Ninth Key somehow only raised those stakes (ha ha) by presenting dangerous, powerful adult men as the installment's antagonists. The scenes where the killer describes his plan to dispose of Suze, thus silencing her, are actually pretty graphic.

Not to mention, the closure we receive with the original ghost--the distraught woman begging Suze to tell Red he didn't kill her--becomes touchingly personal, also covering some heavy subjects (such as major end-of-life decisions and the impact this might have on surviving family members).

Idk, the subject matter is always so much more mature than I expect, and I think that's part of what makes these books really special. Suze is a mediator, meaning she deals frequently with the restless spirits of the dead. And this series doesn't shy away from presenting these spirits in a realistic, human light. These are people who died of wasting disease (while young, middle-aged, or old), by murder, by suicide, by accident, etc. The seriousness of these ghosts' afflictions adds such understated weight to the narrative, and it really contextualizes Suze as a character. Jesse as well--that scene where he describes the killer's "bedevilment" was straight up savage.
But I really hate it when I cry. I'd much rather bleed or throw up or something.
As for Suze and Jesse, their relationship makes nice strides in this second novel. The attraction between them is definitely apparent: Suze begins to joke about other romantic interests not comparing to him (still in a very offhand, tongue-in-cheek manner), and Jesse displays the first indication of romantic attachment via jealousy disguised as prim, brotherly concern (something we'll see a whole hell of a lot more of in Haunted).
Jesse has those kind of eyes some guys have, the kind of sad eyes that make you think you might want to try and make them not so sad. That's why I have to make a point of being so mean to him. I'm pretty sure there's a rule against that. I mean, in Father Dom's mediation guidelines. About mediators and ghosts getting together, and trying to, um, cheer each other up. If you know what I mean.
Suze won't reach a point of unrequited yearning until book four, roughly, which aligns well with the timeline of their friendship, too. I still really enjoy the development and pacing of their interactions. It helps that Suze always has such serious shit going on--she's always doing something that doesn't involve Jesse at all, usually. He pretty much just pops up to give some ghost-advice or to lend a hand during a major conflict.

We don't learn much more about Jesse's history in this book--again, we won't until book four. This builds up such suspense and excitement as book after book passes, each plot centering around a different ghost or ghosts, multiple--and none of them about the most important ghost in the entire series, and one of the main characters, who remains deliciously enigmatic for three full novels. Even knowing what happened to him, I'm still sitting here like, Jesse was murdered. Murdered! Somebody killed this gentle, intelligent, warm person. Why isn't anybody talking about that? Why isn't Suze digging up this fucking dirt!? I can't take it anymore!

Of course, Jesse's story-line takes center stage during books four and six, especially, and it's all the more dramatic and heartrending for the wait.

For negatives: Of course, the series hasn't hit its full stride yet with its prose and characterization, as mentioned above. Some of the scenes with the killer at the end felt highly scripted, a bit too convenient and deliberately set-up to make Suze appear to be as supremely badass as possible. I would have liked to see Suze really get freaked during those scenes, as I think would have been more natural considering the extreme danger she found herself in.
Profile Image for Annette.
2,412 reviews107 followers
September 4, 2021
Meg Cabot has a talent. A true talent. She has the talent to write stories about teenagers and to make them actually sound like teenagers, to make them actually act like teenagers. Just like the Princess Diaries series and just like the first book in this series the voice used to tell this story is just amazing. There's some sass, there are some irresponsible comments and at times I just can't hide the smile and my shaking head.

I also really like the difference in mediating techniques, where Suze quite clearly is just a teenager. She's not very happy with the random disturbances, she just wants to get things over with and she's rarely doing proper research so she jumps to conclusions. Does that mean that at times she's a little rude? Totally. Does that make her a true YA character starring in a YA novel? Totally. I'm already looking forward to reading the next one!
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