by Stacey Kade
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July 5, 2010
The sneering heroine of Kade's debut novel, the aptly named Alona, rules her high school's social scene with an iron fist. Alona has secrets, but before readers can discover them, she gets killed ("God, buses are so ugly when you see them that close up"). While Alona is learning to cope with the fact that a ghost can't be the center of attention (and that her friends aren't as genuine as she believed them to be), her narration alternates with that of one of her former classmates, Will, a social outcast fighting a diagnosis of mental illness. Will, in fact, can see and speak with the dead, who overwhelm him with their demands to take care of last requests. Alona is part of the clamoring crowd at first, and by the time she learns to work with Will, it might be too late for him to avoid the mental hospital and make it to graduation. Bumpy initially, the story becomes steadily more engrossing as Kade finds her feet stylistically and her characters' voices and identities develop. Ages 12–up.
June 15, 2010
"God, buses are so ugly when you see them that close up," observes snobby cheerleader Alona Dare just before a school bus runs her over outside of gym class. After returning to her high school as a ghost, she begins to discover its pettiness and discovers that only outcast Will Killian can see her. Fans of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (2009) will enjoy the humorous banter and romantic tension as the two teens make a pact to aid one another in this amusing debut told in alternating voices. While Alona helps Will deal with the pack of spirits who constantly beg him for a final wish, the unscrupulous psychiatrist who wants to lock up him up, the principal who wants to see him fail before graduation and the black cloud that has started following him, Will, in return, teaches Alona how to be kinder and resist disappearing into nothingness. In the process, they realize each other's mysteries, the keys to solving them and their attractive qualities. Kade makes this unlikely scenario feel real. (Paranormal romance. YA)
(COPYRIGHT (2010) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
August 1, 2010
Gr 8 Up-Alona Dare was the most popular girl in her high school class, or at least she was until she was run over by a school bus. Returning to the scene of her death as a ghost, she anticipates overwhelming grief at her untimely death. To her surprise, her classmates quickly move on. Not only that, but weird outcast Will Killian can see and hear her. Alona, used to getting her own way, haunts Will until he agrees to help her figure out how to progress from ghosthood to the big white light that she keeps expecting. Will has problems of his own; namely that every ghost in Groundsboro High, including a seething black mass of energy, now knows that he can see them, and they all want him to carry out their last wishes. Will and Alona have to work together to get the ghosts to stop tormenting Will, and to figure out exactly what Alona has to do in order to move on from this world. Their new relationship is full of surprises as they each experience a side of the other that neither expected. This tale of friendship from unexpected corners shows how two people can grow tremendously over time. The tale is absorbing, and Kade successfully portrays a typical present-day high school. This novel will appeal to fans of romances and ghost stories alike.-Laura Amos, Newport News Public Library, VA
Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
August 1, 2010
Grades 9-12 Alona Dare has it alla cute boyfriend, elite social status, and a three-year reign as homecoming queenuntil she is killed by a school bus. Now she is stuck (with several other ghosts) in some sort of middle ground, and her only apparent hope for moving into the afterlife is social outcast and goth Will Killian. Will needs to tune out the ghosts so his shrink doesnt lock him up for good, but Alonas beauty and persistence make her hard to ignore. Factor in a strange love triangle, a dangerous spirit determined to hurt Will, and an angry, belligerent principal, and its obvious that Will needs some serious help just to survive, much less graduate. With plenty of humor, this quirky debut will appeal to both genders. The characters are fully dimensional and appealing in spite of their hang-ups, and the sexual tension and alternating narrators are reminiscent of Maggie Stievaters Shiver (2009). Despite a few implausible plot devices, the story succeeds as an exploration of high-school culture and the benefits of sacrificing yourself for another.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2010, American Library Association.)
PublisherDisney Book Group
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