The Ghost and the Goth (The Ghost and the Goth #1) by Stacey Kade
Release: June 29th 2010
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Goodreads Summary:Alona Dare–Senior in high school, co-captain of the cheerleading squad, Homecoming Queen three years in a row, voted most likely to marry a movie star… and newly dead.
I’m the girl you hated in high school. Is it my fault I was born with it all-good looks, silky blond hair, a hot bod, and a keen sense of what everyone else should not be wearing? But my life isn’t perfect, especially since I died. Run over by a bus of band geeks—is there anything more humiliating? As it turns out, yes—watching your boyfriend and friends move on with life, only days after your funeral. And you wouldn’t believe what they’re saying about me now that they think I can’t hear them. To top it off, I’m starting to disappear, flickering in and out of existence. I don’t know where I go when I’m gone, but it’s not good. Where is that freaking white light already?
Will Killian–Senior in high school, outcast, dubbed “Will Kill” by the popular crowd for the unearthly aura around him, voted most likely to rob a bank…and a ghost-talker.
I can see, hear, and touch the dead. Unfortunately, they can also see, hear and touch me. Yeah, because surviving high school isn’t hard enough already. I’ve done my best to hide my “gift.” After all, my dad, who shared my ability, killed himself because of it when I was fifteen. But lately, pretending to be normal has gotten a lot harder. A new ghost—an anonymous, seething cloud of negative energy with the capacity to throw me around—is pursuing me with a vengeance. My mom, who knows nothing about what I can do, is worrying about the increase in odd incidents, my shrink is tossing around terms like “temporary confinement for psychiatric evaluation,” and my principal, who thinks I’m a disruption and a faker, is searching for every way possible to get rid of me. How many weeks until graduation?
The Ghost and the Goth is downright one of the most fun books I have come across within the Young Adult genre. Interesting I would say that it's fun and not a dark book, right? Being that this is a ghost story and all, but, au contraire, as opposed to the spooky feel you would expect from a story that is so heavily centered around ghosts, you get the complete opposite. This book contains humour. It is insightful. It also has an adorable romance and two main characters you cannot help but fall in love with.
Let's start with the two main characters, shall we? They are Alona Dare and Will Killian. Two of my favorite main characters in Young Adult literature, might I add. And what I love about this book is that we get two know both Alona and Will in the same depth because the story alternate's between both of their point of views. So not only do we get the male leads perspective from the story but we also get the female lead's perspective, as well. Something rather refreshing, I have to say. Alona is the ghost in the story and she dies in a accidental and complete surprising way. While Will, is still very much alive and has the unique ability to see ghosts. Well actually he can see them, hear them and even touch them. So it's quite obvious that both Alona and Will were meant to cross paths at a certain point, being that she is a ghost and he can see them.
What I love about Will and Alona is that both completely break those classic archetypes and stereotypes that exist in high school. These are two characters that on a regular basis would not interact with each other but because of the special circumstance that both are put it, they have no choice but to work together. Alona is disappearing as a ghost and does not know why, while Will see's ghosts and is even threatened at some point by a mysterious ghost entity. So throughout the story they eventually help each other out and learn a lot about each other in the process. On the outside Alona was a very beautiful, athletic, confident, stylish and popular girl when she was alive. While Will is not part of that crowd at all. He dresses in dark clothes, has few friends and people totally label him as a goth. But both Will and Alona couldn't be any more different. Throughout the story Will and Alona learn a lot about each other and you get to see that in reality both characters are overcoming serious issues and both characters are very smart young people, who are caring and have quite an amazing sense of humour. Will and Alona's banter is off the charts. They are just pure fun.
The secondary characters both dead and alive are really well developed in this book. Each of the ghosts have a very distinct story and personality to them. The friends and acquaintances of Will and Alona each have quite a interesting story, as well. And I loved that Stacey Kade made the parents of Will and Alona a very important part of the story and a key to the individual problems that each face. Usually in Young Adult literature, the parents of the characters tend to be very absent and if they are mentioned, their participation in the book is very small. It was definitely refreshing to read about them because let's face it, our family history has a huge influence on who we are as people and I think that it's important that it be incorporated in Young Adult books.
I loved the pacing of this book. It was a quick read and it had a lot of twists and turns and I an interesting take on ghosts. You almost felt that at certain point that ghosts are the most regular thing in the world and that they are around us and have a really real way of operating in the world. It totally reminded me of the movie "Ghost" with Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg in the sense that even though the issues and topics covered in that movie were really serious, it still remained a very fun movie with the whole ghostguide-ghost relationship and that interesting dynamic of "Oh my God, I want to get rid of this ghost because he's annoying me; but, I'm the only one who can see him and help him and he is kinda rather charming... but I won't let him know so he won't get smug on me" type of deal. And with Alona and Will you get that dynamic and with them it's even more special because there's a cute romance that blossoms between them. And I loved it because these characters are always very real and honest with each other and the attraction is not forced, it grows throughout the story. And they become very loving and supporting of one another while remaining themselves and growing as people.
Oh and I can't forget to mention: I loved the names of these characters. Kilian is a last name I had not heard of before and I loved that Alona called Will by his last name and not his first. It just kinda inadvertently shows her determined and willfull personality. Oh no! She wont call him Will, she's gonna use his last name and I love it when characters do that. She's so strong and observative and insightful, not what people would expect from her since they see her as, like, a Mean Girl (Regina George, anyone?) But she is so not, there is a lot behind her character and the way she is. And I wonder if Stacey Kade called her Alona Dare because she is daring? because she is, but in a good way. Will is so not a goth. He is the most sweetest guy. But he is very intelligent and clever, handsome, runs at the beat of his own drum and a bit of an intellectual (I geeked out over his shirt and the Matrix reference).
My advice: Read this book. It's a fun and light read. It's intelligently written and has really charming main characters who show you how to look past looks and to learn about what lies beneath. I just loved how this book made you think about looking past labels and stereotypes, that we as people get to seem so stuck on sometimes. Totally reminded me of this Shakespeare quote in Hamlet that I really like that says: "God has given you one face, and you make yourself another". Both these characters struggle with that dilemma and make each other and the reader reflect a lot about it. Book 2 in this series, Queen of the Dead, is already is out. And book 3, Body and Soul, is set to be published in May 2012.