Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I should die before I awake,
I pray the popular attend my wake.
Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she’s dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn’t stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal.
If you thought high school was a matter of life or death, wait till you see just how true that is. In this satirical, yet heartfelt novel, Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at some times and the lengths we’ll go to be seen.
Ghost Girl‘s cover art and packaging are adorable and, in my opinion, it has some of the best book marketing out there. I don’t know about you but the cover designs kind of made me think back to the Shoe series I used to read as a child. You know the books like Ballet Shoes that had the little window inside the cover. Ah, brings back good memories. Anyway, in addition to the cover art, the story idea is incredibly clever. With all the wonderful marketing and the fun story idea, you would think this book would be a winner but unfortunately it fell a little flat.
From the book description, you can tell the book has a little bit of a dark side, which I usually like. But the read ended up being a little too gloomy for my taste. The story did hold my interest and I wanted to keep listening (I listened to the audiobook in case you missed the book type listed above). When it was over, I didn’t feel happy or more so I didn’t really feel anything.
Charlotte wants to be popular and that is the bulk of the story. Since this is her primary goal, I struggled to find depth in Charlotte’s character. She fights hard to achieve her popularity goal even in her afterlife and her persistence is admirable but it wore on me after awhile. In the end, her character grows, which was a relief for me since in 98% of the book she was really shallow and selfish. I wanted to like Charlotte but I found that I just couldn’t relate to her.
On the plus side, Hurley’s writing is expertly descriptive and has a clear tone, albeit a gloomy one. At the beginning of each chapter is a quote from famous literature, poetry, or songs. At times, I liked this touch but then again there were times when I felt the quotes were over done.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about Ghost Girl. I really wanted to like it because the cover and story idea were so much fun. But this is one of those books that you can’t judge by its cover and all the other little sparkling marketing features. It’s possible that Middle School aged children would enjoy this book but I think that even they might find it a little drab and depressing. Maybe the next books in the series will be a little more fun.