A recently deceased girl must solve her own murder in order to escape purgatory in Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews. Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she’s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids. There’s just one problem: she’s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive. She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents’ car drives right through her. She was right. Her parents are alive―but she’s not. She’s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn’t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she’s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.
Bad Girl GoneFeatured
What worked: This is an unique take on the whole dead-girl-needs-to-resolve-past-in-order-to-cross-over. In this case the dead try to remember who killed them and take revenge against their murderers. I really liked this twist. The whole karma thing takes on a whole ghostly different meaning.
Echo's story unfolds little by little. She's not the poor dead girl, but has layers to her personality. Not quite 'good', but not all 'bad' either. She longs to be with her boyfriend Andy. There's scenes that paint a vivid portrait of the pain of being torn away before one's time.
There's one dead boy, Cole, that Echo is attracted to. She feels guilty for feeling this way as she tells herself she's still in love with Andy. Cole shows her around Middle House and helps her find her ghostly abilities(each of the dead have one). Along the way their attraction grows.
The other dead kids in the Middle House also have their own stories. Readers get to see one of them find his killer and witness how revenge is taken. I admit, I kind of wanted to see more of these stories. What makes these characters likable is showing their vulnerabilities(yes, it's much more than just being murdered). Even tough ghost Darby has a soft side.
I also like the whole idea of these ghosts having a 'choice' in deciding what they do. The very ending shows this when Echo is given an opportunity to go down one path and the consequences that follow.
Satisfying twist on the whole premise of murdered teens getting revenge. Fast-paced ghostly tale of not only revenge, but redemption.