Thursday, June 25, 2009

ghostgirl ~ Tonya Hurley review

Little, Brown Young Readers
August 1, 2008
336 Pages

If Edward Scissorhands and Kim (Winona Ryder's character in that movie) had a baby it would be ghostgirl.

From her incessant need to be accepted and liked, to fit in, to her ever present inability to not quite do so, Charlotte really is a perfect blend of Johnny Depp's lovable but so odd character and Winona Ryder's originally rather snooty, teenage girl character.

Of course, a book about a girl who starts starts the first day of school determined to become one of the popular It-Girls (having remade herself over the summary), only to end up choking to death on a gummy bear and coming back as a ghost can't be completely realistic. But as soon as you remember that ghostgirl started as a character on and picture the story as something along the lines of Coraline or the Corpse Bride (or another Tim Burton movie) and not something to be taken completely seriously, it's amazing fun.

The characters are all great--even if popular Petula made me think of the song "Downtown" the whole time...--and I thought the mix of the crazy, ditzy cheerleaders and jocks with Petula's sister and the Charlotte and the other others worked really well and provided a great balance and counter.

The little subplots were a nice addition to the story, too--and one that wasn't expected. I had thought the whole story was just going to be about Charlotte and how she learned to deal with what had happened to her (or whatever the point of the book turned out to be) but there turned out to be more storylines involving secondary characters than I expected. (And they were woven together well.)

There were times when I wondered about Charlotte and why she wasn't caring about certain things (like her family) but most of that was explained later on in the story. In general, the first few chapters were the weakest part of the book and did make me wonder just how much I was going to enjoy it but once I got further into it I really had loved it.

So, besides the beginning not being as strong as maybe it could have been and a point or two not being explained as well as it might should have been, there wasn't much I found at fault with the story.

I received the sequel Ghostgirl: Homecoming along with this in the mail from the publisher and I have already started it so there should be a review of that very soon as well.

Thank you to Lisa at Little Brown for the books! :D


  1. Nice review! I'm reading this one right now and the beginning I was already thinking wow, this is going to take forever to read because it wasn't really hooking me. The moment she choked on the gummy bear and smacked her hand against the glass, I thought of Tim Burton likeness so I cracked up at your remark of Edward Scissorhands.


  2. I loved the story and have to agree that Burtonesque imagery danced through my head also as I read along! The humor is hysterically tragic which keeps the book so entertaining. Can't wait for the second!

  3. Nice review- all we need now is for Tim Burton to make this into a movie!

  4. @ Amber
    I had the same problem in the beginning but then I got into it! I hope the same's true for you :)

    Glad my little...comparison made sense!

    @ lauren
    I hope you do get a chance to pick up the second one...I enjoyed it even more than the first (as I stated in my review of ghostgirl:Homecoming)

    @ Marie
    most definitely!


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