CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 27. . . .March 19, 2010
Give Up the Ghost.
New York, NY: Henry Holt and Co. (Distributed in Canada by H. B. Fenn), 2009.
244 pp., hardcover, $21.99.
Grade 7-10 / Ages 12-15.
Review by Maggie Standish.
"It's Paige," I said. "You think I don't know? You pretend like it doesn't bother you anymore, put on your hairspray and makeup and your perfect clothes, but it's so obvious. It bothers you so much you can't stand to stay here with me and Dad. Where are your friends? Where's your life? You're so busy trying not to think about Paige being dead, that you might as well be dead, too."
Cass McKenna is a few months away from her seventeenth birthday. Her sister, Paige, died around four years ago. When that death occurred, Cass discovered she can interact with ghosts. With the help of ghosts who hang out at her high school, Cass calls out people for lying, backstabbing, and cheating. However, this behaviour gets the attention of Tim, Vice President of the Student Council, who recently lost his mother.
This book is written with the first person point of view, an approach which works well because Cass's attitudes and feelings change and her viewpoint is needed to fully capture this. Though the story is generally linear, Cass speaks about the past so we fully understand why, in the beginning and throughout most of the work, she distrusts and dislikes the living, especially her former best friend, Danielle. The characters in this book who remain static are the dead who talk to Cass, mainly her sister Paige and the two ghosts who are at the school, Norris and Bitzy. This is because, as ghosts, they no longer have the ability to change. Cass's father remains the same loving character. However, the main characters all learn from each other, and through that, change. This is a novel about dealing with death, change, and growing up mentally.
Give Up the Ghost has lots of characteristic description, but the story still moves a steady pace. However, the characters are the focus of this work. There is no clear message, but rather, this work will speak to each individual in his or her own way.
Give Up the Ghost can be enjoyed by both genders, even though the main character is a girl.
Maggie Standish, who lives in London ON, is a recent MLIS graduate.
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