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The Girl and the Ghost

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  216 ratings  ·  84 reviews
A Malaysian folk tale comes to life in this emotionally layered, chilling middle grade debut, perfect for fans of The Book of Boy and The Jumbies.

I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, an
Published August 4th 2020 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 4.41  · 
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 ·  216 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Hanna Alkaf
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi everyone! It's the author here.

One of my pet peeves as a reader is when an author doesn't own up to their mistakes and tries to gloss over it like nothing happened. I don't want to do that. So here goes:

In the ARCs of THE GIRL & THE GHOST, in the part of the book near the beginning where Suraya and the ghost, whom she names Pink, finally meet, there is a scene where the language used by Pink mimics that of abusers and groomers. It speaks to my own privilege and sheltered upbringing that I did
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
Oh my goodness, The Girl and the Ghost is the story I wish I had as a young diaspora Malaysian reader.
I love this book with my whole heart and this is easily a new favourite book.

- Follows Suraya, a Muslim Malay girl who lives in a kampung (village) and inherits a pelesit, a ghost whom she names Pink, from her witch grandmother. When Pink's nature and a greedy pawang (shaman) threatens the two, they must solve the mystery of Pink's past to survive.
- Where do I even begin? I loved everything abo
breana / milkyboos ♡
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2020
WELL. I have never read a story that is so charming and sweet, while also terrifying and heartbreaking all within the same page.

I really wish I had this book growing up. I would have carried it everywhere with me and lost myself to its magic whenever I felt sad or angry or especially lonely. It’s a MUST READ; I’m already plotting how to force all of my younger cousins to read and fall in love with The Girl and the Ghost immediately.

I also spent the entire last chapter crying, so do what you wil
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
full review can be found on my blog!

Disclaimer: I received digital copy review from the author. This does not affect my review in any way; all opinions are my own.

It’s not a secret that Hanna Alkaf is an excellent writer when it comes to playing her readers’ emotions. Like her previous work, The Weight of Our Sky, The Girl and the Ghost has the same elements, which are; family, friendship, emotional yet happy ending, Malaysian culture and folklore that really influence the story and of course, s
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid 4.5! I wanted more ghostly shennenigans! Hanna- this is a fabulous book. Recommended everyone. Recommended.
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

What makes The Girl and the Ghost such an emotional book, is how relatable Suraya and her story are. A lonely girl in a world that doesn't understand her. And those feelings of watching our friends drift further away from us. Those moments of rage, resentment, and anger. The Girl and the Ghost is a story about friendship and forgiveness. My heart ached this entire book whether it was
I loved a lot of stuff about this book! It was really creepy, and it was wonderfully written. I loved the uniqueness of the story, and the immersion into Malaysian culture.

I really liked a lot of the themes that were brought up in this book. There was a real focus on friendship, love, jealousy - how those three things can intertwine. There was also a theme of death and grief. I kind of wish the story had spent a little bit more time on these themes though. As it was written, it felt a little bi
This was good! This was very, very good.

I really, really cannot stress enough that the writing in this is gorgeous: it's sufficiently spooky for an MG fantasy featuring ghosts & other traditionally evil-type spirits from old Malay folktales, and all the descriptions here are just immaculate. This book uses third-person voice to invoke that very old-timey storytelling technique where it feels like there's an omniscient narrator telling the story to you, personally:

"The familiar chirp of the g
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Girl And The Ghost is an utterly dark and moving read about a girl who discovered her longtime friend is so much more than just a pelesit, a ghost. Its a journey through friendship, acting courageously and discovering secrets that are bound for a change.

I am seriously obsessed with this story because not only is it super Malaysian but it was so original. Its like a combination of things that so I'm familiar with by pairing it up with something so new and fresh. And because of that, I absolut
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.

As someone who reads a lot of middle grade fiction, I'm always looking for a story that is unique. THE GIRL AND THE GHOST by Hanna Alkaf is just that story. Based on Malaysian folk tales, Suraya discovers as a young age that the grandmother she never met gifted her a pelesit, a ghostly companion whom she names Pink, that becomes a playmate and friend to her as she grows up. But Pink also has a dark side, and Suraya is uncomfortab
Wai Kok
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By the time Suraya was five years old, she should have broken various bones in her body at least twelve different times, been poisoned twice, and possibly have actually died on seven separate occasions.

While I do absolutely appreciate Hanna Alkaf’s young adult historical fiction on Malaysia’s May 13 Incident, I expressed that it was not written in a genre I have a lot of experience with. It did place the author firmly in my sights though, and when I heard that she is following up The Weight of O
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All middle-grade books should be like this. It was FANTASTIC. My only wish is that I can travel back in time and read this as a kid under the covers with a flashlight.
It was legitimately scary.
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is not your typical young person’s tale. It features a spirit/ghost that has attached itself to a young girl and is not always good. There is an evil man, a not nice witch grandmother and a cold emotionally detached mother. There are bullies and monstrous creatures and there is loneliness, sadness and loss. And yet, despite all of these dark and sometimes outright scary things, there is a beautiful lesson about real friendship, being true to oneself, having courage in the face of fear, the ...more
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-for-dad
As someone who reads a lot of middle grade fiction, I'm always looking for a story that is unique. THE GIRL AND THE GHOST by Hanna Alkaf is just that story. ❤️

This book will appeal to those who love dark stories, and the Malaysian inspiration makes it one with which very few readers will be familiar. I love that it demonstrates the very fine line between love and hate, and how emotions like jealousy can morph as they consume us. At it's core, it's a story about friendship and the challenges that
☆ syu, the romance aficionado ☆
UPDATE: 25th of August, 2020


June 5th, 2019

Pretty excited to hear about this book because I would read anything Hanna Alkaf writes to be honest.
Jonna Feliz
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Maybe that was what she was. The durian of friends. Maybe people would learn to like her one day. Maybe she just had to meet the right ones." - The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

Hauntingly beautiful.Alkaf's The Girl and the Ghost is emotional, relatable, and magical. This is a book that young people should definitely read. It's a story about family, friendship, and forgiveness.

Borrowing Alkaf's words: "This story is a ghost story. It is the story of Suraya, who desperately wants a friend, an
// I received an eARC from HarperCollins publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review //

🌕🌕🌕🌖🌑 — 3.75

Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The full review (with spoilers) can be found on my blog at ...more
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Malaysian culture fans
I got a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. I loved the writing style. After the first few chapters, I thought this book would become one of my favorites.

The ghost was my favorite character, dark side and all.
I am a dark spirit, the ghost said desperately. I am a powerful being. I have the wisdom of the ages. I cannot be called PINK.
“But you are! You’re Pink!”

My problem is that I was a little unsettled by the sexual innuendos, they made me feel like the ghost was a pedophile.

I liked Sur
Sheila Averbuch
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Girl and the Ghost is a wonderfully creepy escapade through current day Malaysia, via some very old-school Malaysian folktale characters. When 12yo Suraya realizes that her best friend, a ghost inherited from her grandmother, is a tricksy spirit who's unquiet in this world and really needs to be banished back to where he came from, Suraya and her friend Jing set off on a road trip across the country to find the grave where the ghost needs to be put to rest. I love the combination of the mode ...more
Michelle Misra
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
This is how you write middle grade novels y'all.
I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss

It took me a little while to get into this book but once it took off it was a really enjoyable read. I think it did a good job balancing the light and dark elements of the story and the characters were fun and engaging. It was also interesting to be able to read about some mythology that I was not very familiar with. Definitely a good book if you are looking for something that is both fun and spooky and also a nice standalone story.
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

Unapologetically Malaysian. 'Nuff said.
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I’ll admit that I couldn’t really get into this book the first time I picked it up; I put it down almost immediately and it took over one week to pick it up again. I’m so glad I picked it up again as I devoured it in one sitting. This book is amazing; it is a slow burn, so don’t give up. This story will reward your patience and hit you in the feels. It’s a tale of friendship (sometimes toxic friendship), loneliness, bullying, loss, and family. Like all good fairytales, this has dark moments; thi ...more
Mishelly loves
I really enjoyed this book! It deals with bullies, revenge, jealousy so well! Sharing friends and replacement of friends. That’s so relatable! As well as grief, and how it affects her relationship with her mother. But I was surprised at how dark and sad this book was with horror elements. (I received and ARC of this book) I know the author said there’s a scene that’s going to be rewritten but it didn’t stand out to me! If it was due to scary disturbing content, there were a few scenes that I tho ...more
Amanda K
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

This is a 4.5 for me

An utterly enchanting modern Malaysian ghost story! Suraya is a wonderful heroine but the pelesit stole the show!
Wan rohani harun
I adore and love this book! And I don’t even read horror that much! Being a scaredy cat that I am, I usually avoid that genre like the plague. But the book was recommended by a fellow reader via her twitter account and my curiosity was piqued. How will the story end? Etc etc. So I made the choice to read it. And even though there are certain parts that were scary to me, I managed to read till the end of the book. Go buy the book. Share it with your children. Trust me, if this makcik can complete ...more
Sara Codair
Aug 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautiful tale about childhood and friendship. It explored the harm bullies can do and the joy a true friend can bring. The bittersweet ending made me cry a little. But overall, it was a magical yet thought provoking read.
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this ghostly Malaysian middle grade about both sides of the power of friendship--jealousy and love.

What kid hasn’t wished a swarm of mosquitos on the group of kids that make fun off their too-short pants or holey shoes? Suraya actually, when her grandmother's dark spirit pelesit, Pink, feels the need to protect her from schoolhouse taunts.

What starts off innocent enough turns scary as Suraya quickly sees how dangerous a pelesit can be and how dark jealousy can twist. When Pi
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the author and Harper Collins for a digital copy of the arc in exchange for an honest review.

This book wasn't what I expected it to be but it was definitely more. This was a story about friendships and found family. It was about asking for help when you need it the most. A full review soon on my blog, Pages in Waves .
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YA writer, mom, Hufflepuff, and professional introvert.

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