Before you head back to school, you need to take time to read ghostgirl and ghostgirl:Homecoming by Tonya Hurley (picture right). Part Beetlejuice, part Christina Ricci's Casper, part Bring It On, the ghostgirl books are the perfect end to summer, get you back in the swing of things for the academic year. 'Cause, let's face it. School's less about Chinua Achebe and quadratic equations and more about the cute new transfers or who will ask you to the first dance.
Both of these books were highly entertaining and written by a hand skilled in pop culture and teen experience. Hurley sets up each chapter with a song quote and philosophical tidbit. The themes and plot are in no way condescending nor do they stereotype teen angst, but they're also not too profound for occasional readers. There's nothing inappropriate for young teens, but the plot is complex and intriguing enough for older teens.
Still, while the stories themselves are highly enjoyable, the standout quality of these books is their physical form. In black hardback, the front covers have glassine panes that resemble coffins, and open to a Tim-Burton-like drawing of Charlotte. The pages are all tipped with silver, and the text is framed by black and pink flowers.
Given together, these would be the perfect gift for any reader or non-reader girl (or a boy you know likes YA fiction) to go back to school, or for any occasion while they're in school (birthday, good grades, etc.) Adults should probably check them out from the library, although they do add zip to the look of any bookshelf.
by Tonya Hurley
August 1st 2008 by Little, Brown Young Readers
Hardcover, 328 pages
0316113573 (isbn13: 9780316113571)
Charlotte Usher headed purposefully across the parking lot to the front doors of Hawthorne High, repeating her positive mantra - "This year is different. This is my year."
Charlotte Usher has always felt invisible, especially to A-List Petula and her Posse. Then, on the first day of the new school year, Charlotte finds herself paired with Damen Dylan, her Crush and Petula's boyfriend, in Physics class. The excitement overcomes her, and she inhales her gummy bear. And dies. At first, she doesn't understand why she's in a new school with new classmates who all look like they should belong in The Haunted Mansion. Then, when she discovers she's dead, she tries her best to infiltrate the bodies of Petula and the Posse, to convince the Powers that Be that she belongs with Damen, after all.
by Tonya Hurley
by Tonya Hurley
July 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Young Readers
Hardcover, 304 pages
031611359X (isbn13: 9780316113595)
Damen's off to college, Scarlet worries about their relationship and Petula's repeating a year, which suits her just fine. She's in the running for Homecoming Queen, and still giving her little sister grief about stealing Damen the year before. Meanwhile, Charlotte (aka ghostgirl), finds herself working an afterlife hotline for troubled (living) teens. When Petula runs the risk of crossing over, Scarlet puts her life on the line so that she can get help from Charlotte.
In Bed With Books, GreenBeanTeenQuean, Carrie's YA Bookshelf, LiyanaLand