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Bending the Spine

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Early Review: Girl vs. Ghost by Kate McMurry & Marie August

image Description:
Girl vs Ghost is a young-adult, paranormal, romantic comedy suitable for all ages.

Isabel Lindley doesn’t believe in magic, but her best friend is obsessed with witchcraft. Strictly as a favor, Isabel agrees to help with a spell and is shocked when the ghost of a teenage boy splat-lands in her bedroom. Her friend is thrilled—even though only Isabel can see or hear the ghost—but Isabel is horrified. She’s the most ordinary sixteen-year-old girl on the planet. What is she supposed to do with a ghost who doesn’t know his own name, how he died, or why the heck he’s tied to Isabel with a psychic chain? Her only hope to take back her life is to help him solve the mystery of his demise so he can go to the Light. Or wherever. She’s not particular, as long as the ghost is gone.

Paperback, 242 pages
Published April 10th 2011 by Blazing Star Press
ISBN 1613400004 (ISBN13: 9781613400005)
primary language: English
url: http://www.misdirectedmagic.com/
series: Misdirected Magic Trilogy #1
I am going to preface this review by saying that this is not my genre of book to read.  Yes, I have read the Twilight Saga.  Yes, I have read other YA paranormal romance/comedy (Kim Harrison’s Madison Avery Series books 1 & 2).  I have mixed feelings about “the” saga, and Harrison’s, well, they were ok, if you like that sort of thing.  And that’s where I’m at here.  Girl vs. Ghost is not my sort of thing.
HOWEVER (!!!), that being said, this book is entertaining.  The premise is good, the writing is easy on the brain, and the story is fast paced.
It was frustrating to me that Isabel allowed Tripp use her as a doormat.  She’s supposed to be brain-smart, but lacks any common-sense whatsoever and follows Tripp into her fad-of-the-month.  Isabel needs to think for herself—she’s not a mindless drone.  Remember the anti-drug campaign from the ‘80s and ‘90s?  Isabel wouldn’t, she’s too young, so here it is: “Just say no!”  Grow a backbone and make that your slogan, Isabel.
Tripp is selfish and aloof to what her antics cost her friend.  It takes Parker to point out that it is her fault they’re all in this predicament (and he’s been trying since his first entrance to get her to understand) and she finally gets it—well, almost.  Her flippant attitude becomes tiresome and I wanted to scream at Isabel to wake up and find a real friend, one who thinks about her before asking her to join in on the next fad.  She is a liar and a fake.  Even at the end, she’s more pleased with herself than that Isabel and Marc were ok.  And I hate her.  Several times all I wanted was for her to get hit by a bus—a big, shiny bus full of cosmic karma for all the pain and suffering she was causing EVERYONE around her.  In my eyes, her heroics do not redeem her.  Cue big shiny bus.
I think that individually, Tripp and Isabel are half characters, but if you combine them they become one awesome character—Tripabel.  As Rebecca, my wife, put it: they need each other.  And maybe, that’s why the book works, because they just work as Tripabel.
We don’t get a good idea of who Marc really is.  I guess that the other books in the series (slated to be published in Nov. 2011 and May 2012, more here) will delve into his character more.  I did like the soul-mate aspect, and appreciate that Tripp was trying to help her friend find love when they cast the first spell.  The same is true about Parker.  From the few sentences I’ve read of Witches vs. Wizards though, the story picks up right where Girl vs. Ghost left off, so I imagine they will get more depth as the series continues.
Perhaps the most unfortunate parts of this entire experience are the cover art, illustrations, and title.  The art is juvenile, unnecessary, and the pre-chapter illustrations give away the plot before you get there.  Cover art attracts me to a book, and this is one I would have passed on, based on the cover alone.  And the title is frankly, a little lame and only somewhat applies to the book.  Isabel is only “versus” the ghost for a short period of the book before switching her opinion of him and trying to help him.  Marc was more of an inconvenience than an enemy.
WARNING TO PARENTS: This book contains A LOT of unnecessary cussing, illusion to cussing, and cussing in Spanish.  There is also an attempted sexual assault.
4 Stars: A pretty good read for an escape from reality.
Many Adventures,

*This pre-release was provided by the authors*

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