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Young Adult Fiction 166
interesting YA contemporary with supernatural elements
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THE GHOST OF US is an intriguing YA contemporary with a supernatural twist. Cara is a ghost hunter who wants to make it big and get out of her small town, where she has been notorious for being "Scarf Girl," a horrifying event that happened when she was in middle school that she has not been able to escape. Her big break comes when she begins to hear the ghost of a boy who died a year earlier. He agrees to help her with the science to prove ghosts exist if she will take his sister to prom.

Willing to do whatever she needs to, Cara is immediately shot down by Meredith. However, she persists and with the help of Meredith's brother's ghost, she begins to date her. The secret of why begins to build as they connect more and feelings grow. Cara knows she is running on borrowed time as prom approaches and that the truth will be tougher than the lie.

What I loved: The relationship that builds was really great, and it was good to see Meredith and Cara connecting over their dates. The times that they best connected was when the ghost was not there, so although it started with that, the relationship builds on its own.

Cara has some tough lessons to learn about the way she has always seen herself and the way that things are/could be. She has really built her life and personality around what happened to make her Scarf Girl, and she is beginning to learn that maybe it does not have to be that way - even if she does need to go to the local community college. She has a particular low point that drives some epiphanies and helps her grow. Her selfishness and immaturity around this seemed realistic for her age, and her growth was fairly strong.

The supernatural elements add a particularly intriguing element to the story, and I enjoyed the way it was included. There are some humorous conversations as well as some more serious ones with themes of loss/grief and healing that play out with Meredith.

What left me wanting more: The story felt a bit repetitive in places, and there is a lot of tension created by the way that Cara handles things and the ways that she assumes everyone orbits her and handles the truths (or rather lies)/friendships. That being said, this ended up being a learning opportunity, though all of that was compressed at the end.

Final verdict: THE GHOST OF US is a unique YA contemporary with supernatural elements that speaks to themes of character growth/tough lessons, healing and grief, the power of lies, friendship, and defining yourself by who you are and not your past failures.
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