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The Girl and the Ghost

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  584 ratings  ·  173 reviews
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, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both,
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by HarperCollins
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Hanna Alkaf
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
"The most beautiful blooms come from the darkest soil."

representation: Muslim Malay MC (own voices), Chinese side character.

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


Loved learning all about Malay culture and folklore in this one! It was also wayyyyy creepier and darker than I expected, so be warned if you're recommending it to a younger reader!

trigger warnings: death, bullying, maggots, broken bones, nightmares including cannibalism, body horro
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 ♡
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
Elvina Zafril
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Girl and the Ghost was a pleasant read.

Suraya is only a child when she inherited her grandmother's pelesit after her grandmother passed away. She named the pelesit 'Pink' and they have been friends ever since. Suraya discovered that Pink isn't just a pelesit but it is also a ghost.

I found that this book is kind of emotional and what makes it such an emotional book is because Suraya herself. She is a lonely girl. With a mother who never understand her and care about her like any other parent
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
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
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
A solid 4.5! I wanted more ghostly shennenigans! Hanna- this is a fabulous book. Recommended everyone. Recommended.
I was asked to do a presentation of children’s books under the banner of “Spooky Stories” for the Halloween season. There’s no counting the titles you can pull from, even if you limit yourself to the stuff published in the current year. Even so, whenever you make a list of books, no matter what the topic, it is imperative that you give it a critical eye and make sure you have a wide variety of perspectives, genders, races, etc. My list began with picture books, so I made sure to include The Bol ...more
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
Wai Kok
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, halloween
This enchanting ghost story from Malaysia concludes my spooktober reading list. Listed as a middle-grade children’s book but beware, this book may not be suitable for children, I’m not even sure if it’s ok for adults: some parts of it were so dark and creepy I felt the chills all over my body. Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, creepy and sweet: this fairytale is bound to cause a myriad of emotions. I do not know how to describe the story and the feeling it gives, an emotional rollercoaster wi ...more
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(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
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Suraya is an only child, with a deceased father and a mother, who is protective and reserved. When her estranged grandmother (a witch) dies, she wills her pelesit (a ghost) to protect Suraya. After several years, the pelesit reveals herself to Suraya, who names the pelesit Pink, her favorite color. Pink was treated abominably by the witch, and becomes friends with Suraya, seeking to protect her from bullies at school and other pains associated with growing up. Suraya has a good heart and is horr ...more
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Athirah Idrus
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I began reading the book with a sceptical mind as I always do but perhaps this time more so because 1. I'm not much of a YA person and 2. Not a hantu fan either. But the way the book was written with so much ease, so unapologetically Malaysian made me feel right at home (not with the ghost la) but I could imagine the scene, with the familiar accent (I can imagine) and Manglish words liberally infused in conversations between Suraya and Jing especially, that made me feel like "ehhhh, geng!" I rea ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From friendship, family, loss, and love. Hanna Alkaf covered all of these topics in a simple yet touching way.

While reading, I felt a bond form between me and the characters. The relationship they shared felt real. They felt real.

One of the reasons this book felt real is because of its culture. Malaysian culture is somewhat similar to Indonesian. There were lots of similarities throughout the book (ex: types of ghosts, pawang, food, relationship between races and religions)
The most relatable thi
Jonna Feliz
"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
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Michelle Misra
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
This is how you write middle grade novels y'all.
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Actual rating: 3.9

This book follows the story of a lonely Suraya whose mother seems so distant ever since she was a kid. Luckily for her, Suraya's unknown grandmother left her a pelesit and so the two have unexpectedly been friends for years. Everything gradually changes though when Suraya attends a new school a little far from home and befriends a new student named Jing there. Pink, the name Suraya once gave to the pelesit, is bothered by the existence of his master's new friend that he can't s
// I received an eARC from HarperCollins publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review //

🌕🌕🌕🌖🌑 — 3.75

Kelly Lyn
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
all of the Star Wars references was a very nice touch and now I need to learn more about Malaysian folklore
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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YA writer, mom, Hufflepuff, and professional introvert.

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