Thursday, July 8, 2010

Book Review: The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade


After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck as a spirit (DON’T call her a ghost) in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast who despises the social elite. He alone can see and hear (turns out he’s been “blessed” with the ability to communicate with the dead), but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Alona has never needed anyone for anything, and now she’s supposed to expose her deepest, darkest secrets to this pseudo-goth boy? Right. She’s not telling anyone what really happened the day she died, not even to save her eternal soul. And Will’s not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side. He only has a few more weeks until his graduation, when he can strike out on his own and find a place with less spiritual interference. But he has to survive and stay out of the psych ward until then. Can they get over their mutual distrust—and the weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?


Mostly lighthearted with enough emotion and serious undercurrents, The Ghost and the Goth is a great, engaging read. The dual narrative lets the reader know both Will and Alona much more intimately and the overall world created is a well rehearsed, well explained one. The supporting cast also play strong roles, providing both progression for the plot and points of turmoil for the pair.

Alona is conceited, airheaded, and narrow minded- at least initially. She has her reasons and motivations and overall, is actually a very well constructed character. Many of the things she says and thinks were quite humorous, providing relief even in the most frustrating of moments. Kade does a fantastic job building Alona throughout the book and providing depth not immediately expected because of not only her cheerleader stereotype but the way she comes off.

Will is, essentially, the complete opposite of Alona for an array of reasons as deep rooted as Alona's own motivations. A tormented ball of adorable, he is strong minded and strong willed but still has his sources of weakness- and not only that he can see and talk to ghosts. Kade stitches together everything he has dealt with and the constant ramifications of it seamlessly, creating a highly sympathetic character and as Alona gets to know Will more, her own level of compassion increases. The pair together, as the book progresses, is a great one the reader will root for.

Kade did not take the easy route in her post-mortem world. She didn't use things already set and taken from movies for everything. Though some things could be predicted with it, the rules were not set. The way things played out for Alona were not the same as every other ghost and even Will didn't know the full extent of the extra dimension he constantly was involved in. Figuring out the way things worked was only one subplot in the overall, well played out line of events. Though a few places did seem like Kade took the easy way out, when the characters involved were really considered, it showed proof of how intimately she knew her characters. Could she have come up with a better way to get the characters out of a situation? Yes- but would the characters have really done that over the easier route? Most likely not, particularly Alona.

With some impressive twists that outshine the few predictable moments, two vastly different but still connected main characters, strong narrative in split perspective, and an overall great plot, The Ghost and the Goth is certainly worth the read. It's a mix of emotional and feel good and the overall execution is well done. Kade inserts both seriousness and humor, sometimes mixing the two in the same scene in a smooth fashion, helping to add to the overall likable nature of this book.

Source: ARC Received for review free of charge from author/publisher
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (June 29, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 142312197X
ISBN-13: 978-1423121978

Author's Website


  1. Great review Kari! I'm curious to know more now. Will have to pick it up soon! :)