Author: Megan Jacobson
Publication: February 1st, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition, 239 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
Read: September 2016
If fourteen-year-old Kirra is having a mid-life crisis now then it doesn’t bode well for her life expectancy. Her so-called friends bully her, whatever semblance of a mother she had has been drowned at the bottom of a gin bottle ever since her dad left them for another woman, and now a teenage ghost is speaking to her through a broken phone booth.
Kirra and the ghost make a pact. She’ll prove who murdered him almost twenty years ago if he makes her popular, gets her parents back together, and he promises not to haunt her. Things aren’t so simple, however, and Kirra realises that people can be haunted in more ways than one.
Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This story was a mix between a coming-of-age story and a paranormal experience. It felt like I was reading two stories at once. It was raw and honest and powerful. It was really emotional and all about the main character’s growth. I loved the setting as well since I’ve never read a book set in Australia before. It was a bit disorienting at first but I fell in love with it.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
It’s very simple but manages to pack an emotional punch. It’s honest and real. It’s really easy to read which made the book fast paced. It has a certain poetic edge and is full of different kinds of metaphors which I found completely beautiful. It’s so powerful and beautiful and emotional and it lent so well to the story it was telling.
Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book is all about Kirra who immidiately annoyed me when I first started reading this book. She’s quiet and shy and has a meek personality. She lets herself be manipulated into friendships and situations that she doesn’t want to be in. However, she’s really smart and kind. Slowly she starts to meet people that accept her and she starts to realize that she can change the things she doesn’t like about her life. She has a more hopeful attitude and I loved the growth that happens with her character throughout the whole book. However, Willow is my favorite character in this book. She’s kind of everything that Kirra isn’t. She’s spunky and honest. She has a take no shit attitude and a tell it like it is phillosphy which I appraciate. I liked the way she was introduced in the book and how she became a part of Kirra’s life. Lastly there’s Noah who while I found kind of cute, definitely didn’t feel like he added much to the story and was kind of unnecessary in my opinion. There’s also a lot of focus on Kirra’s relationship with her parents and I really liked that aspect.
I was so pleasantly surprised by this book, I liked it a lot more than I thought I was going to though I still had some problems with it.
The plot is strange. Fourteen-year-old irra has had a tough life and then she meets a ghost through a phone booth who promises to make her life better if she helps convict his killer. That’s basically what starts this story off but this book felt like it was trying to tell two stories at once. The first being Kirra’s coming of age and development. And the other, the random ghost story. It was really disorienting and it made me feel disconnected from the narrative when I first started reading. As I went on, I was much more interested in Kirra’s life and how she was growing rather than anything about the weird ghost in the phone booth. Her story was great. I loved how she slowly came out of her shell but that she didn’t suddenly become an extrovert because that’s what people wanted her to be. She kept her core characteristics while still growing and learning how to stand up for herself. I also liked how the author didn’t make it seem like it was an easy transition. Growing as a human being is hard work guys, no matter the age you’re in. Kirra had to struggle through it and sometimes she went too far and made some bad decisions for herself. Yet at the end, she definitely became more confident and strong while still keeping her personality which I loved. The ghost part of the story however was hard to grasp. I didn’t understand why it was there and what the purpose of it was. Even after the explanations of it and of the ghost and who he was were made, I still felt like it was unnecessary. This book could’ve been an amazing and powerful, coming of age young adult novel and that’s it. And I think the paranormal aspect did it a bit of a disservice because there was such a disconnect between the two stories even after the explanations. It made sense once it was all out there but it left a bit of bad taste in my mouth.
I feel like Kirra was a good narrator. She’s a complex character with a lot going on in her life and I loved reading about her journey. In the beginning, she annoyed me. She let herself get taken in and bullied and it was so frustrating to read. I told Reg this while we read it together, but I think that it’s the adult in me that just doesn’t have a lot of patience now for characters not standing up for themselves. I understand that attitude, I had it when I was younger, but I’m so far removed from it now that reading characters with that now ultimately annoys and frustrates me. However, I loved her growth and the way the author created that journey for her. It wasn’t easy to do, it didn’t happen overnight and there were a lot of ups and downs and I appreacited the realness of that.
Willow is definitely my favorite character of this book. She brings Kirra out of her shell without expecting her to be someone else and without changing who she is. She’s spunky and badass. She stands up for herself and she says what she wants and what she thinks is right. Some of my favorite lines from this entire book are from her. I would even love to see a standalone book about her and her life because it’s super interesting. Then there’s Noah. I liked him. I did. He was really sweet and earnest. But I didn’t think it was necessary for him to be a part of the story. He was only there for one reason and it felt like too much for what was going on. I didn’t really get to know him very well and it was just like meh. Kirra’s parents and her relationship with them is a huge theme in this book which I love! They didn’t have the best dynamic, in some parts it was actually pretty toxic, but the author really took the time to express how a relationship, even with a parent is made up of two people. Sometimes the kid has to tell the parent when they’re messing up or when they need attention for them or when they’re doing something to hurt them. It makes for a much healthlier relationship between them.
Overall, I was really surprised with this book. The plot felt a bit disconnected between the two different storylines and it left me reeling in the beginning. I really enjoyed the main character’s development and her journey. I loved her friend and I would love to see more of her. And I think that the author has a really beautiful writing style and I can’t wait to read more of her work soon.
So that’s it for this post! Let me know if you’ve read this book or if you are thinking about reading it after this review. I’d love to know! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!