- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Blazing Star Press (April 10, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1613400004
- ISBN-13: 978-1613400005
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,975,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Girl vs. Ghost (Misdirected Magic, Book 1) Paperback – April 10, 2011
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From the Author
Isabel Lindley surreptitiously pressed the backlight button on her watch. Its digital display gleamed like a mini beacon in the dimness of her candlelit bedroom. Seventeen minutes and fifteen seconds past nine o'clock at night. Precisely two minutes and seven seconds since the last time she'd checked.
"Isabel!" Her best friend, Tripp Macauley, paused in the midst of an incomprehensible chant. The hood of her royal-blue wizard's robe obscured her face, but her tone made it clear she was frowning. "You're not focusing."
The two of them were seated tailor fashion at opposite edges of a six-foot-diameter circle Tripp had created by pouring a thick trail of table salt--which was going to be a major hassle to vacuum up. Isabel tipped forward a notch to give her aching backside a moment's relief from the hardness of the uncarpeted floor.
"Yes, I am." Sort of.
"No, you're not," Tripp said. "Whenever your attention wanders, it breaks the energetic field binding us together."
"I don't understand how I can make or break anything when I know nothing about casting spells." And in spite of Tripp's elaborate pretensions to witchy wisdom, Isabel didn't think her friend was much better.
"You don't need to know anything," Tripp said. "All you have to do is be my amplifier."
A fancy job title for waving the candle Tripp had given her every time Tripp waved hers. "All right. Sorry."
Isabel sighed. Normally, nothing her quirky friend dragged her into bothered her. On the contrary, over the past seven years of their friendship, Isabel had found quite a few of Tripp's endless string of hobbies a lot of fun. So much so that Isabel had kept on with more than a few of them long after Tripp had moved on.
That definitely wasn't going to happen this time, though. Something occurred when she helped Tripp perform witchcraft that Isabel couldn't explain and couldn't shake--an eerie impression of being watched that was seriously creeping her out.
On Thursday, during the first of three repetitions of Tripp's spell on consecutive nights--which Tripp had proclaimed was crucial to insure the spell's success--Isabel had written off the experience as the result of too much caffeine. And when Isabel had kept uneasily glancing over her shoulder throughout the Friday-night spell session, she'd decided she was stressed out from a pop quiz in Advanced Placement Biology on what was barely the fourth day of the new school year.
But there was nothing she could blame her jitters on tonight. It was Saturday, so she hadn't had classes, and she'd had plenty of rest with no need for caffeine. Even so, the spooky sensation was so relentless, it was shredding her nerves.
Isabel scanned her bedroom as she continued to absently follow Tripp's lead in their candle dance. She could easily see under the twin-sized, platform bed to her left. Its coverlet was a hand-made quilt--a relic of Tripp's patchwork phase in the seventh grade--that came no farther than the upper edge of the birch frame. Nothing could hide under there.
Isabel's gaze skipped over laminated posters of classic horror movies and various systems of the human anatomy that hung on her walls and settled on the doors in her room. All three, the one to the living room, her en suite bathroom, and her closet, were shut. The blinds over the double windows facing her were closed, too, but it wouldn't have mattered if they were open. The condo where she and her divorced mother lived was on the tenth floor of a high-rise building in Alexandria, Virginia, and there were no other tall buildings nearby. There was no possibility anyone could be spying on her. None.
But the crawling on her skin refused to stop.
For the third night in a row, he hung like a spider from the ceiling of the shadowy bedroom of two teenage girls. They'd perched themselves on either side of a circle outlined on a hardwood floor with what appeared to be white sand, and the one shrouded like the Grim Reaper recited gibberish from a three-ring binder haloed by black mist.
Each time her friend, a blonde in jeans and a black T shirt with the slogan, "I heart zombies," swirled her candle in tandem with the Reaper's, a weird light-show began. Wisps of back-lit purple smoke trickled from the blonde's belly; a thick, red smoke-light surged from the Reaper's midsection, and a churning, black cloud billowed from the binder. The black light wrapped itself around the other two colors and merged them at the center of the circle into a dark-red fountain--whose spray was aimed directly at him.
Fortunately, when the murky red light hit him, he felt nothing more than a slight tingling sensation, so he didn't feel threatened by it.
Until the third round.
The Reaper suddenly yowled like an angry cat; the red fountain exploded into an orange geyser, and he catapulted toward the floor.
His shout echoed the Reaper's as he splatted inside the circle, and a shriek from the blonde completed their ear-busting chorus.
"What the...? How did you get in here?" the blonde demanded.
He lifted his spinning head to respond, and his accuser scrambled to her feet.
"Stay back!" She yanked her arms chest high in a fighter's defensive stance, and he wasn't sure if she planned to take off running or use his skull for a soccer ball.
He was in no shape for a brawl, but even if he had been, the thought of hitting a girl horrified him. He shifted carefully onto his back while raising his hands in surrender to reassure her that he was harmless.
"What's wrong, Isabel?" her friend asked from the depths of her hood.
"How can you ask that with a strange guy practically lying in your lap?"
"What guy? Where?"
"Are you blind? Him, Tripp, him!" Keeping her fists up, Isabel jabbed an elbow toward the intruder to indicate where he sprawled. What was the matter with Tripp?
This was one of the worst of the worst-case scenarios they'd trained for at the full-contact, self-defense class Tripp had talked Isabel into taking with her last year.
Tripp twisted toward the floor lamp behind her and reached up to pull its chain. "Uh, Isabel?" Tripp shoved back her hood with a hand weighed down by gaudy rings.
"What?" Isabel spared a split-second glance from her vigilant monitoring of the stranger, whom she could see even more clearly in the blaze of light Tripp had introduced into the gloomy room.
Tripp's makeup-laden face, framed by spiky, green-streaked, black hair, revealed no emotion but confusion. "I don't see anyone."
"Of course you do," Isabel said as she asked herself what she should do next to keep herself safe. And Tripp, too, if she insisted on acting like an easy target.
Tripp was silent a moment, then said thoughtfully, "I actually did a summoning spell, but I said we were doing a spell to open ourselves to spirit world."
Isabel held her focus on the intruder. "What are you talking about?"
"That's it," Tripp said with a huge smile. "That has to be what happened. I inadvertently changed the spell's intent by how I presented it."
"Tripp! Stop babbling, get up, and start backing toward the door."
Fortunately, so far, instead of leaping to attack them, the intruder remained in a passive slump, tracking the verbal volleys between her and Tripp with the lethargic head rolls of a drunk at a tennis match. But it would be terminally stupid to count on his staying in that convenient state indefinitely.
"Isabel, calm down. This guy may be a home invader, but he's not the kind you think."
About the Author
Kate McMurry is married with two grown children, one of whom is her coauthor, Marie August. Kate and her husband Chris share their home with an adorable rat terrier named Dottie. Kate has worked as an English teacher, a therapist, a paralegal, and a freelance writer. Girl vs Ghost is her first published novel.
Marie August has a bachelors degree in visual art and has written fiction since her teens, with the guidance and encouragement of her mother, Kate McMurry. Marie and Kate have partnered as a fiction team since 2006. In addition to coauthoring Girl vs Ghost, Marie has created a comic based on its first chapter, which can be enjoyed for free at the Misdirected Magic website.
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Top Customer Reviews
Not really expecting anything to happen during Tripp's seances, Isabel is stunned when a guy falls from the sky and into there salt circle. She is even more stunned when Tripp cannot see or hear this strange guy in her room and then proclaims he must be a ghost! Not only is Isabel the only that can see and hear this ghost, but she is also tethered to him. Literally tethered by a glowing orange rope no longer than 5ft. And, not only that but the ghost has no memory of who is he, or when he died.
All Isabel wants is to unleash herself from this ghost, before it ruins her life! But Tripp doesn't think it is all the bad and wants to figure out who this ghost is and help him out. So, in order for Isabel to be freed of him she must go on a quest to find out what happened to him and why he is tethered to her!
The beginning starts a little slow for me, and it is a bit confusing. But over half way through the book the pieces began to fall together and make more sense. Also the story began to pick up the pace and I really started to enjoy the book. Things aren't the way the seemed as the story continues on.
I think Tripp and Isabel are supposed to be 17? But, they come across much younger in my opinion. For instance, when they are in the thick of things trying to save Marc the ghost, Tripp tell Isabel that she has to play the part as Marc's girlfriend to find out more information. But, Isabel's first reaction to that situation is "Eeuuw" which seems a little juvenile of a response, especially for a girl in advance placement classes. And some of the dialogue is a little corny at times but I still enjoyed it.
There are also illustrations at the beginning of each chapter which gives you a glimpse of what is going to happen in the following chapter.
All in all, I liked the book it took me awhile to really get into and really enjoy it. The next book in the series is Witch vs Wizard which is about two characters from Girl vs Ghost. Tripp and Parker.
I wanted to like GIRL VS GHOST much more than I did. I love the originality of the premise and I really liked Marie's webcomic of the first chapter. Unfortunately this story is excrutiatingly tame aside from a few uses of the B-word and as an adult reader who enjoys grittier teen reads it just didn't quite work for me as a reader. On the flip-side I think this would be a great one for the tween to early teen set who might not be ready for meatier fare. When I can pin my almost-13-year-old stepkid down I'm going to have to see what she thinks of it because I think this is right up her alley.
The actual storyline is fresh but flows from conflict to conflict with the resolutions coming a little too easily. I occasionally felt like I wasn't getting enough insight into why each character was motivated, more attention to character development would have pleased me. Honestly I didn't like any of the characters perhaps in part because of the aforementioned lack of development but primarily as a result of odd behavior/reactions that just didn't feel natural. The story ended on a very flat note and the first word that popped into my head was 'lackluster'.
Keeping all of my personal preferences in mind GIRL VS GHOST fits its publisher's intended demographic perfectly. The 12-16 age range reader in search of clean, humorous paranormal titles will probably love this series. Adult readers, unless that's what you're looking for this just won't do it for you.
**Notes: Received Review Copy from Author.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a fast and fun read. I feel the Mother/Daughter author team of Kate McCurry and Marie August have...Read more