A see-through girl in a cheerleading costume sits on the lap of a boy in black clothes on a park bench.

About the Book

Title: The Ghost and the Goth (The Ghost and the Goth #1)
Published: 2010

Cover Story: Oh God, Please No!
BFF Charm: Yay!
Talky Talk: He Said, She Said Urban Paranormal
Bonus Factors: The Underdog
Relationship Status: Booty Call

Cover Story: Oh God, Please No!

This cover is très embarrassing for me as an adult reading YA. HOWEVER, if I had seen this cover, instead of the plain red one with white writing on it that I received as an ARC back in 2010, I would have had a much better idea of what the book was about. Because surprisingly? The title — which caused eye rolls of epic proportions, and is the reason I’ve had this book for almost two years before reading it — doesn’t do it justice.

The Deal:

Alona Dare (somebody smack her parents upside the head, will you?) is in the top tier at her school, and believe you me, she has worked hard to get there. So obviously, she’s not going to let anything get in her way. Except, maybe, perhaps, getting hit by a bus. So yeah, that happens. And each day, she wakes up on the side of the road where she died, and wanders back to school, where nobody can see her, and everybody stops mourning her tragic death waaay too quickly, and then she starts to disappear — even to herself.

But that’s before she makes eye contact with Will Killian, the lame goth boy she never paid much attention to.

He saw her, she knows he did, and that means something, so she’s going to make him acknowledge it, if it’s the last thing she does…

Only trouble is, every ghost in town seems to have the same idea, so how’s she going to get to him?

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

Oh, Alona, even in the beginning, when I didn’t feel I had anything in common with you, I admired your tenacity and frankness. And then all that shizz happened with you dying, and everything that happened after, and I felt kind of bad for you, even while your stubbornness defied sympathy. But as I got to know you better, I found out that we had more in common than I could have ever guessed, and by the end, I was just happy to hang out in your circle.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Okay, first of all, Will Killian isn’t a goth. At all, really. He even points out that his sweatshirt is navy blue, not black. It’s just all he can afford. And he can’t help it that his hair is black. What, is he supposed to get highlights? Of course, the biggest reason he gets accused of being a goth is because he dares to be different — and the collective ‘we’ can’t have that, now can we? Will constantly tries to hide in plain sight, but if you had ghosts talking to you, begging, pleading and even physically harassing you to do their bidding — be it write a letter to their gay son, telling them you finally get it now, and are sorry you were such an asshat when you were alive, or tell your bff that you forgive her for stealing your boyfriend once you died — you might want to crawl inside a nice quiet place, too.

That said, he’s still a teenaged boy, with teenaged boy hormones, and the way the swoon develops in this story is sweet and fun.

Talky Talk: He Said, She Said Urban Paranormal

It seems like every book I’ve read lately is told in his and her perspectives, which is an interesting coincidence. To me. As I mentioned above, I’ve had this book since early 2010, and I just kept putting off reading it due to the title, and the images it conjured. I imagine this book will be a surprise to people otherwise turned off by the title, and a disappointment to those drawn to it because of the title (due to the aforementioned Will not actually being a goth). I didn’t even read the back cover, I was so judgmental, so imagine my surprise when I read it, and actually enjoyed it — nay, even really liked it!!

Let me be plain-spoken: this is fluff. But as an urban paranormal — is that a thing yet? Did I make it up? What I mean is it’s realistic, with a paranormal twist. If it’s not already, let’s make this a thing, okay? Anyhow, it turns out to be a story about friendship and unfinished business, and how everybody hurts, and it’s important to forgive and a bunch of deep stuff all wrapped up in a kind of cutesie, witty, fun story.

Bonus Factor: The Underdog

Man standing in front of a yellow background holding his fists up in victory.

It has taken many years, but I’ve finally realized my true YA boy kryptonite: The Underdog. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long, since my history is right there, gaping at me — from the embarrassing: how Johnny Cade and Daniel LaRusso made me have a ridiculous crush on Ralph Macchio — to the understandable and approved: how Chris Chambers in Stand By Me made me forever and always devoted to River Pheonix. And then there’s the stint when I was 11, when I pretended Rambo was my big brother, but we won’t even get into that one.

Will Killian is an underdog extraodinare: underprivileged, misunderstood, unfortunate curse/gift, and of course secretly super handsome. Check, check, check and CHECK. That said, I fell for Will so fast the rest of the book waskind of a blur, but that’s okay, ’cause I L U WILL KILLIAN!!!!

Relationship Status: Booty Call

I don’t want this book to ever feel like I’m just using it to get my jollies, but seriously, sometimes there’s only so much dystopia and tragedy a girl can take before she needs some straight up funtimes. Lucky for me, there’s already a couple more books in this series, so next time I’m feeling down or lonely, I’m totally going to tap that shit.

FTC FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my review copy from Disney Hyperion. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!). The Ghost and the Goth is available now.

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.