December 6, 2011

Ghost stories

Give Up the Ghost

Cass McKenna prefers ghosts over “breathers”. Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable. And they know the dirt on everybody. Cass likes dirt. She uses it to take revenge on the bullies and poseurs in her school by exposing all their secrets. It gives her power and ensures that they leave her alone. But when Tim, student council vice-president (and poseur), discovers Cass’s secret, things start getting out of control. Tim wants to contact his recently-deceased mother and gets Cass to help him. As she gets to know Tim, she realizes that he isn’t too bad. But he’s a lot more troubled than she thought. As Cass begins to care, she learns that living friends are more important than dead ones.

Crewe has written a uniquely entertaining novel, both funny and tragic. She realistically captures the emotional turmoil of teens and the problems of high school. Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson would enjoy this book.

Teresa fell in love with Brother Rush the first time she saw him. He stood out from the regular dudes on the street, with his pinstriped suit and high gloss shoes. Every time she saw him, she fell for him more and more. But when he suddenly appeared in her home, standing through the middle of a table, she knew he was a ghost. 

Rush holds an oval mirror that reflects another place in time. When Tree goes through the mirror, she experiences her family’s unknown past, and the secrets her mother never told her. Denial and guilt run deep in this family, directly affecting Tree’s older brother, Dab, who suffers from confusion and pain. When Dab passes away, Tree’s grief, anger and loneliness threaten to consume her.

Virgina Hamilton’s novel is very complex and challenging. The characters, especially M’Vy, are ambivalent and contradictory. Their emotions rush out in a torrent of slang and incoherent thoughts. Yet their struggles are real and deeply felt, making the book a very worthwhile read.

No comments: