The outline of a girl with a ghost touching her shoulder

About the Book

Title: Shadowland (The Mediator #1)
Ninth Key (The Mediator #2)
Reunion (The Mediator #3)
Darkest Hour (The Mediator #4)
Haunted (The Mediator #5)
Twilight (The Mediator #6)
Published: 2000

BFF Charm: Heck Yes!
Talky Talk: Grrrl
Bonus Factors: Resident Ghost, Ass Kicking, Adorbs Family
Relationship Status: ILU4LIFE

The Deal:

Suze Simon sees dead people. She’s a mediator, a person who helps ghosts cross over by taking care of their unfinished business on earth. Of course, not all ghosts appreciate it, and not all ghosts WANT to cross over, so she’s developed quite an arsenal of ghostbusting moves. These serve her well when her mom remarries and they head from NYC to California to live with her new stepdad and three stepbrothers in a converted old boarding house, which happens to have a 150-year-old ghost lodger stuck in Suze’s bedroom. It also turns out Father Dominic, the principal of her new school, is also a mediator, so rather than forget about her powers, Suze is forced to work to improve them.

Over the series, Suze tries to have a normal life in California, but is foiled over and over again by the ghosts of dead classmates, a 150-year-old skeleton in the backyard, the ghost of Jesse’s bitchy fiancee, and another mediator who prefers to use his powers for evil (like sending Jesse into the great beyond).

BFF Charm: Heck Yes!

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

Of COURSE Suze gets my bff charm. First of all, the girl kicks major ghost ass. Second, she’s not too caught up in making a fresh start in California to snub her first friends, the not-so-cool kids Adam and Cee Cee, when the popular crowd considers letting her in. She has a snarky attitude, a good heart and a killer left hook.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

I’m not a big fan of supernatural romances, but when Meg Cabot gets her hands on them, DAYUM. Jesse was on his way to be married off to the daughter of a wealthy ranch owner when he was murdered back when northern California was studded with large cattle ranches established during Mexican rule (Think Zorro. Also, feel free to think Antonio Banderas for Jesse. Or just for fun. Whatevs.). Anyway, Jesse is all chivalrous and manly and hot, and even though he’s into Suze, he’s also into treating her properly — which includes not getting involved, since he’s, like, a ghost. so there’s lots of pent-up tension and banter, and a tough decision — does Suze help Jesse cross over, and lose him forever? And since it’s Meg Cabot, you can bet that every glance sizzles. Oh, and Jesse may live (er, haunt) in Suze’s room, but he isn’t a creepy Edward stalker who watches her sleep.

Talky Talk: Grrrl

Suze is tough. I mean, she has to be, since she’s spent most of her life beating up ghosts. She also really wants to have a normal teenage life — pool parties, boyfriends, the beach — and there’s a definite vulnerability under the surface. It’s less pop-culture-studded than some of Meg Cabot’s books, but the Mediator series definitely delivers what makes Meg Cabot so great — a heroine who makes you say both, “OMG, that’s so like me!” AND “OMG, I wish I could be/know her!”

Bonus Factor: Resident Ghost

Little ghost sugar cookies

Slimer or Peeves, Jesse ain’t. Ghosts are supposed to make the room 20 degrees colder, but I swear if Jesse materialized in my bedroom, I’d burst into flames.

Bonus Factor: Ass Kicking

Charlize Theron as Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road holds a gun a stares fiercely just off camera

Suze has got to be one of my favorite ass-kicking heroines. I’d love to see her, Katniss and Katsa sit around and share trade secrets! Plus she’d totally wipe the floor with Jennifer Love Hewitt and her freakishly gigantic boobs.

Bonus Factor: Adorbs Family

7 family members of all ages in a group hug

Gah! My little brother is one of my best friends, but Suze’s new baby stepbrother Doc is ADORBS. I want to shrink him down to pocket size and carry him around with me everywhere so he can tell me all his weird trivia about airplanes and alien cattle mutilation and government conspiracies. Doc’s 12, and has two older brothers Sleepy and Dopey (Jake and Brad) who are typically oblivious of the world but also sweetly protective of Suze. Suze’s stepdad is also awesome, and is so cute as he tries to figure out how to parent a teenage girl, and I love that he’s not cast as the evil villian who stole her mom away, but as a great guy who makes her mom happy and cooks awesome pancakes.

Relationship Status: ILU4LIFE

I’ve never found a Meg Cabot book I DIDN’T like, and the Mediator series is no exception. I listened to the audio versions of these books and found myself doing crazy housework like dusting behind the fridge, or sitting in the driveway for 30 minutes just to keep listening. I want Suze to be my bf4LIFE, except I want to marry Jesse so that probably wouldn’t work out. I’ll just reread these books obsessively instead.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased these books with my own money. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Mediator series is available now.

Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.