Genres: YA Paranormal
Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over “breathers.” Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody…and Cass loves dirt. She’s on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.
But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass’s whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.
As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim’s life, she’s surprised to realize he’s not so bad—and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance….
This review’s tone may seem a little strange, but this book put me in a very strange place because of how I was feeling due to outside factors when I read it. I haven’t quite crawled out of that hole yet.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Crewe’s novels and I always love a good ghost story. Give Up the Ghost has been sitting on my shelf for a few months and when in need of a short, hopefully good book, this is the one I came to. It was good, alright.
Cass is almost impossible to like, but you get where she’s coming from too. She’s been hurt badly by the people around her and she has many issues she needs to work through. Rather than deal with complicated things like people, she’d rather deal with simple things: ghosts. Reading through her eyes, especially at the beginning of the novel, is difficult because of this and the way she’s so obsessed with being negative and getting dirt on everyone, but if one can stick with it, the payoff in Cass’s character is fantastic.
In a way, Crewe’s writing in this novel reminds me of my own. It doesn’t waste time on the little details and is more focused on the characters’ feelings and personal issues because it knows that is where the strength of the novel lies. We can’t not understand why Cass is the way she is, though we may disagree with her strongly. Give Up the Ghost is completely character-driven and also very short, coming in at only 241 pages. That’s about the perfect length for it. If it had reached 300 pages, this would have been a bore to read.
It’s also a very subdued, quiet novel that still manages to be fairly powerful. It lacks some of the punch it really needs to bring everything full circle for the reader, but it definitely ended up punching me harder than I expected. I identified too much with Cass’s issues of not being able to communicate with living people and get along with them and it ended up becoming too personal for me to handle. I’d… rather not go into it any further.
I can see myself coming back to this in the future, but only if I’m in a good mood. It’s a bit too personal to touch when I’m in a bad mood.