Shadowland by Meg Cabot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I probably shouldn't enjoy easy chick-lit this much, but against all reason, I do. This is the fifth time I've read this book. Yup, five.
Suze is one awesome protagonist. Since she was a toddler, she's been able to talk to ghosts. In time she's come to understand that she's a Mediator--a liaison between the living and the dead--with the obligation to help ghosts on to their next lives, whether they want to go there or not. Through all of this, Suze is just trying to be an average teenager...as you've probably guessed, that doesn't go very well.
I've read a few other Meg Cabot books that haven't hooked me quite as much, but I have to say, she's an amazing writer. Her style is very streamlined and controlled, like every plot point is mapped out perfectly to keep you hooked through the whole book. Everything unfolds at just the right pace, both in the scope of the individual novel and the six-book series, which is probably the #1 reason I love this series so much.
The characters, too. Like I said, this is very much chick-lit, so not the deepest characters you're going to find, but I wouldn't call them cliched. I first read this series when I was maybe 12 and I was very uncomfortable with my femininity, so Suze was something of an idol to me. She was intelligent, proud, and strong, but still wore mini-skirts and styled her hair every morning. She's far from infallible. She tends to be too headstrong and boy-crazy, both of which get her into some sticky situations. You'd be shocked by the number of times she has to be saved and still pulls her dignity together.
For a first book, the plot was pretty good. Cabot gives the readers a crash course in Suze's life, which has just changed dramatically with her mom remarrying and moving them from New York to California. We're also introduced to her ghost-busting escapades in the form of a vengeful girl who committed suicide and the hot ghost, Jesse, who lives in her bedroom (way more plot involving him to come). I wouldn't call it the most exciting book of the series, but it's an exciting quick read.
I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good teen romance. Don't be put off by the paranormal plot, because in my opinion, this is a lot better than what the genre has become post-Twilight.
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