Thursday, August 25, 2011

Spotlight List: Ghosts


Whether it's ghosts as an enemy or friendly ghosts, I love a good ghost book. Ghosts as enemies are sure to scare me and leave me turning on every light in the house. But, I also have an extra weakness for ghost romances. Maybe it's the forbidden love aspect? Whatever the reason, I'm a complete sucker for them.

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
Release Date: September 21, 2005
Publisher: Graphia
Pages: 282
Goodreads Page

Helen has been a ghost for 130 years, but she cannot remember how she died or why she is stuck in ghostly limbo. For all of her 130 years, she has never been able to make a connection with a human or affect their world...until now. A boy in the class she is haunting sees her and brings life, love, and adventure to her for the first time in 130 years.

This book was emotionally beautiful. About halfway through it does veer off into subjects that are a little unexpected and pushes the bounds of morality, but I was fascinated. The ghostly romance is to die for (is that too corny?), but there is a lot more to the story than that. This works as a standalone book, but there is a sequel coming out soon that will provide resolution to the one point that left me a little uncomfortable.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Release Date: October 1, 2008
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 312
Goodreads Page

The Graveyard Book starts out with a bang as infant Nobody Owens' entire family is murdered. Nobody wanders into a nearby graveyard where the local ghosts decide to adopt him. Though unconventional, Nobody's childhood is filled with love from his adoptive ghost family. But Nobody can't stay in the graveyard forever and the man who murdered his family is still looking for him to finish the job...

This was my first exposure to Neil Gaiman and so far it is my favorite (I also read Coraline and Stardust). While the overarching story with the murderer was good, what really grabbed my interest was Nobody's relationship with his ghost family. Tender, touching, and sweet, they were the type of characters who didn't even need to do anything all that exciting to still command my attention. If you like that heartwarming "family feel" in your books, then I recommend checking out The Graveyard Book.

Tombstone Tea by Joanne Dahme
Release Date: August 24, 2009
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Pages: 272
Goodreads Page

New to town and trying to impress the in-crowd, Jamie takes a dare to spend the night in the local cemetary. While there, she meets a handsome boy named Paul who takes her on a tour of the graveyard and its residents. Jamie soon realizes that the "actors" she meets are actually ghosts, and some of them do not intend to let her leave.

Though a little thin overall, I enjoyed Tombstone Tea. The best part for me were the flashbacks to the ghosts lives leading up to their deaths. The villain is creepy!

The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
First book: Shadowland
Publisher: HarperCollins
Goodreads Page for the series

Suze is a mediator, which means she can see ghosts and must help them cross over after they've died. She grudgingly accepts her "job" while trying to be as much of a normal teenager as she can. The series follows Suze as she assists friendly ghosts, battles angry ghosts, and gapples with her romantic feelings for the super sexy ghost Jesse who just happens to haunt her bedroom.

I adore this series! Suze is a wonderful main character. She's snarky, light, fun, and totally relatable (except for the whole ghost thing). You'd think with a hot ghost living in her bedroom this would be an insta-love book, but it isn't at all. It's almost excrutiating how long it takes for those two to finally get together, but it's excrutiating in the best possible way. If you're looking for a slow burn romance, kick butt main character (Suze is a must-have on my sleepover party invitee list), and exciting ghost adventures then be sure to check out this series. It's one of my favorites ever.

The Haunting Emma series by Lee Nichols
First book: Deception
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Goodreads Page fir the series

After throwing a party that went badly, Emma is shipped off to stay with her new guardian, a hot but mysterious college guy named Bennett. Enrolled in her new private school, Emma can't help but feel like she's been here before, in another life. Visions of the past and ghostly images begin to appear leading Emma to wonder whether she's losing her mind...or seeing ghosts.

Emma is another character with a permanent invite to my sleepover party. She's spunky, sweet, and snarky and totally relatable (again, except for the ghost thing). The secondary characters are just as lovable and the villain is CREEPY! I also really like the world Lee Nichols has created with all of the little details that help flesh out the story and make the premise seem real.

What are some of your favorite ghost books? Have you read any of these books? 
Do you prefer your ghosts scary or friendly?

Want to see more Spotlight Lists? 
Click HERE to see more of my lists
You might also like Spotlight List: Gothic Fiction


  1. I loved The Mediator series. I still have a couple books to go but it so much fun. A Certain Slant of Light was definitely beautiful.

    I plan on reading Deception next week. Glad to hear Emma is such a fun character.

    Great review Small :)

  2. I didn't really like A Certain Slant of Light but I loved The Mediator series and it's how I started reading Meg Cabot's books. I've got Deception on my wishlist and plan on reading it sometime this year. Lol, as you can see, I prefer ghost friendly books.

  3. Wow! You've got me interested on all of these (yet again) but I think I must must must try the Mediator series. I don't think I've read any Meg Cabot so it's as good a place as any to start.

  4. I loved The Graveyard Book! I listened to it on audio and it was fantastic. I want to read the Mediator series.

  5. Nic, I think you'll like Deception :) Just make sure you have Betrayal close by because that of the cliffhanger ending! You should totally do a book boyfriend post about Jesse :D

    A Canadian Girl, I like ghost friendly books too. All the fun of ghosts, but none of the scariness :)

    Logan, Aaaah you totally need to read The Mediator series!

    Alison, Ooh The Graveyard Book on audio sounds good! I can picture that one lending itself well to that format. I can definitely see you liking the Mediator series!

  6. A Certain Slant of Light is one I'd wanted to read for a while now. A couple weeks ago, I found it at the digital library. I was jumping up and down excited. I think it may be an audio book, too!

  7. I realllllllllly liked Deception. It sucked me right in.

    Favorite? Probably an oldie. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman has a nasty ghost in it.

  8. I prefer friendly ghosts like Casper!
    I've read Deception, I only thought it was okay.

    I do have a Certain Slant of Light to read. There is a blogger with that blog name!

    Haven't read the others. I'm trying to think of other books. Anna Dressed in Blood has a ghost in it, but I don't think she's like Casper. And Hereafter is a ghost story. Can't think of any others.


  9. This is a good list to have after that disappointing non-ghost story, Wake Unto Me. I've had The Graveyard Book, The Mediator Series, and The Haunting Emma Series on my TBR list for quite some time. It's funny that both Suze and Emma are snarky MCs; I guess that's good for lightening what could be a grim atmosphere!

  10. I've only read The Mediator out of this bunch but I LOVE IT.
    I had heard of a couple of he others and I'm definitely going to try to check out Deception :)

    Lovely spotlight, as always :)

  11. Yay, the Mediator! I know, it takes *so* long before Suze and Jesse finally figure things out. But I agree, it's a good kind of excruciating :D

    Not a ghost book, but in terms of Neil Gaiman, I think you might like his book Neverwhere. I really like the protagonist Richard, and the "city under London" is pretty cool too.

  12. I am not usually a fan of ghost stories only because I am a complete and utter wimp. No, I'm serious, it's so true. I have forbidden myself to watch scary movies because they are just too scary. That occurred after my baby sis convinced me to watch Emily Rose...o_o...NEVER AGAIN! However, there are some I dig. I HEART Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book like it's no one's business. I also love Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane. It's not ghost love story, but a which who banishes ghosts. It's sic in the best way! Reading this reply, it seems I'm a walking contradiction of myself. :D Love this post, Small! (sorry for the lengthy babble)

    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

  13. Ghost stories are my favorite too. Maybe because there is a chance they *could* be real...??? Anyway, I am going to put all of these on my TBR list! Thank you for bringing them to my attention.

  14. I didn't really enjoy "A Certain Slant of Light". I thought it had a really cool concept but the writing didn't do anything for me. I did love "The Graveyard Book" and Nobody's relationship to his ghost family!

  15. What a great post! I want to read Deception, I think it sounds like one I will really like. I had forgotten about meg cabot's series! Need to start that one!

  16. Oh, GR! You're totally making me regret that I didn't pick up the Mediator series when I was at the Borders clearance sale last. It didn't make the cut. I love slow burn romance!

  17. I was blown away by the prose in A Certain Slant of Light. The writing was just so emotional and just pretty yet simple. I loved it. But yes, it left me uncomfortable too. Poor Jenny's body was totally violated. :(

    I've been wondering how the story will continue.

    I don't read many ghosts books, but I've been trying to remember one I read as a kid that had me totally fascinated. I can't remember the title, but there was a dead girl who befriended another girl and there was a creek and the book had a map of the two houses and the creek in the middle? Does this ring any bells?

  18. I love ghost stories, but I need to read more books. Loved The Graveyard Book though!

  19. I love ghost stories, too! My favorite is the Haunting Emma series. I have A Certain Slant of Light in my TBR pile. Have you read Ruined yet? That's supposed to be a fun ghost novel.

  20. Gina, I hope you like it!! It's very different and it takes a weird turn, but there was something about it that just absorbed me.

    Juju, Me too! Oooh I haven't read Practical Magic, but I loved the movie (though I'm sure the book was better)

    Heather, Devon Sawa as Casper? My smaller self was ALL OVER THAT! :) I think that's where my ghost crushes began.

    Aylee, ha, you're right! I didn't even realize that this list and the Wake Unto Me review were scheduled so close together. Suze and Emma's levity does lighten the books a lot. Especially Suze.

    Alex, Yay! I <3 Jesse so much :) Totally check out Deception!

    Danya, I know, right? I kept waiting, "Are they going to get together in this book??" and then no, they would not. It was maddening and wonderful :) Hm, I think I have a copy of Neverwhere...somewhere :P

    Jen, Oh I'm totally a wimp too. If I read a scary (or even semi-scary) ghost story I have to read it during the daylight hours only. I can't believe you watched Emily Rose! The COVER scares me! :P I need to check out Downside Ghosts now. I hadn't heard of it before. Oh, and you NEVER have to apologize for lengthy babble here. I'm the queen of babble and I welcome it :)

    Midnyte Reader, haha oooh I hope ghost stories can't be real! Especially the scary ones. I'm such a wimp. But, I think that's why ghost stories scare me so much more than other books. I hope you like these books!

    Rummanah, Aw, I loved the writing! I can see why people wouldn't like A Certain Slant of Light though. Wasn't Nobody's relationship with his ghost family sweet? I loved it!

    Grace, Thank you! Totally read those two series ASAP! The Mediator series is all published, too, so you don't have to wait for sequels!

    Rubita, oooooh regret! Regret! If I had a copy of the first book I'd send it to you. I think you'll like Jesse :)

    Missie, Yes! LOVE the way you describe the Laura Whitcomb's writing! But Jenny's body, kinda uncomfortable, right? I think the sequel is going to address that. Hmmm...nope, sorry doesn't ring any bells! The only one I can think of about a girl who befriends a dead girl is Stonewords by Pam Conrad, but I don't remember a creek or a map. I'll keep an eye out for it.

    Bookish hobbit, Oh yes you should read more ghost stories. They seem like just the thing for you! You could even handle reading all the REALLY scary ones :P

    Julie, I have read Ruined. Unfortunately I didn't really like it. The MC bugged me, but if she doesn't bother you then hopefully you'll like it more than me. I love the cover though!

  21. Smalls! Guess what? I googled, and found the book: Wait Till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn.

    LOVED this book as kid. For realz.


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