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ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

October 3, 2008

Charlotte Usher has never been popular. She’s never even been noticed. But this year she’s sure things are going to be different. In the right clothes, in the same classes as her longtime crush, Damen—a result of Charlotte’s stalkerish behavior—how in the world can he not dump Petula, the most popular girl in school, in favor of the new and improved Charlotte?

Yet despite all her research, Charlotte is still invisible. She’s not even noticed as she chokes to death on a gummy bear after physics class. Determined to not let a little thing like death get in her way, Charlotte continues her pursuit of Damen from the afterlife.

You can count me among the minority of readers who found ghostgirl, by Tonya Hurley, a somewhat entertaining but rather disappointing book. It just didn’t work for me, though I can see how other readers may like it. It’s a satire and commentary on social hierarchy in high school, which will appeal to a lot of teens. Plus, look at the gorgeous packaging! That alone will have teens picking it up. But I could never get into the story, and I found the characters, the plot, and the satirical element unsatisfyingly thin. According to the VOYA review of ghostgirl, Hurley created the character of Charlotte online in 2002, and it did read like a novelization of something that was not originally a book, then was stretched into a 300+ page novel.

If you’re looking for a high school satire, I would recommend Sloan Tanen‘s Appetite for Detention instead. Appetite for Detention is largely photographic (see the Bloomsbury site), with captions describing the various stereotypes being skewered. Even without the photos, though, lines like, “Edgar wasn’t a skater, a punk, a jock, a geek, or a nerd. He was just depressed, and he hadn’t found that clique yet,” are sharper and wittier than anything in ghostgirl.

Among the reviews of ghostgirl: Chicklish, Miss Print, Oops…Wrong Cookie, and Tempatt.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2008 8:20 am

    I love Sloane Tanen’s books … have done since Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same grabbed me in the bookstore aisle one day. Appetite for Detention cracked me up – and made me nod and remember, too.

    Shelley Adina, who just discovered this blog

  2. Zoe permalink
    November 2, 2008 1:07 pm

    Does Charolette get violent?
    Is she invisble as a ghost?

  3. missprint permalink
    November 5, 2008 8:09 pm

    To Zoe: I wouldn’t say she gets violent. As to the invisibility, it varies (and would be a spoiler to say more).

    To Trisha: I completely agree with you. I was excited when I first saw this book and severely disappointed once I started reading it.

    Miss Print

  4. November 11, 2008 12:21 pm

    im doing a book report on the novel Ghostgirl,
    and i was just wonding how i should present it…
    ?? 😦


  5. November 11, 2008 12:22 pm

    …read the book!!!!!
    its soo funny!


  6. November 13, 2008 2:55 am

    im presenting tomorrow!!!!!!

  7. February 1, 2009 11:43 am

    I started this last week, and I couldn’t even bring myself to finish it. Just didn’t care about the characters at all!

  8. spooky permalink
    February 2, 2009 2:32 pm

    way r utalking about i liked that book

  9. spooky permalink
    February 2, 2009 2:33 pm

    i mean wat r u taking about

  10. bella permalink
    February 11, 2009 7:45 pm

    LUV this book! i hav it its awsum and HILARIOUS!

  11. Meghan permalink
    June 2, 2009 6:23 pm

    I LOVED this book! It’s a must read! I think it goes over some people heads cause it’s satire. It’s hilarious and also profound at the same time.

    Best book of the year! Can’t wait for the next one Ghostgirl Homecoming!


  12. Karson permalink
    November 1, 2009 12:17 pm

    i love thi book if it was a video game i’d be soooooo happy

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