Author: Rebecca Sparrow
Rating: 3 Stars
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Hill is the girl most likely to succeed. And the girl most likely to have everything under control . . . that is, until her dad invites Nick McGowan, the cutest boy at school, to live with them. Rachel worries that this could only be a recipe for disaster, but her best friend Zoe thinks it’s the perfect opportunity for lurve. Sparks start to fly for all the wrong reasons. Nick finds Rachel spoiled and uptight and Rachel dismisses Nick as lazy and directionless. But a secret from Nick’s past draws them together and makes the year Nick McGowan came to stay one that Rachel will never forget.
I hadn't heard of this novel until I came across Mandee's review of it on Vegan YA Nerds or Maggie's review of it on YA Anonymous, but I knew upon reading both their gushing reviews that I had to get my hands on this one. Luckily enough for me, The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay was readily available in the US and I was thrilled beyond measure to be diving into this short, but witty tale. Ultimately though, while this novel was definitely satisfying, it wasn't satisfying enough.
Rachel, our protagonist, is a cute, laugh-out-loud funny, and all-round adorable character. Her flaws are obvious, her childish behavior endearing, and her friendship with her best friend Zoe oh-so-amusing, not to mention the riot that her relationship with her parents is. When Nick moves in, Rachel and Nick don't quite get along, but as the novel progresses, you can see them develop a close bond of friendship. I'm not denying the refreshing nature or pure enjoyability of this short story, but it was somehow disappointing as I wanted more. more character development, more growth, more depth.
The Year Nick McGowan Came to Stay tackles some heavy topics, but it really could have been better novel if Sparrow had chosen to extend it, even by another hundred pages. Nevertheless, if you're looking for something short, sweet, and sure to bring a smile on your face, you simply can't go wrong with this story!
Title: Body and Soul (The Ghost and the Goth, #3)
Author: Stacey Kade
Rating: 4 Stars
Alona Dare has been living as Lily “Ally” Turner for over a month...and it's not been easy. Besides being trapped in a body so not as good as her original one, she's failing miserably at playing the sister and daughter of people she barely knows. Plus, she can't help but think that Will Killian - the boy she hates to care about - somehow wishes the real Lily were back. She and Will have been trying to find a solution, looking for a two-for-one miracle that would free Alona and keep Lily alive. Visits to local psychics have proven useless, but then they stumble across Malachi the Magnificent, who seems to be different. His office is full of ghosts, for one thing. But Malachi doesn’t seem to hear or see them, which is odd. Plus, he bolts the moment he sees Will. To make things even weirder, Misty Evans, Alona's former best friend, is waiting in Malachi's lobby and claiming that she's being haunted. By Alona. Will's convinced that Malachi has answers, while Alona is all kinds of pissed that someone's impersonating her. But their efforts to uncover the truth will bring them much unwanted attention and put them directly in the path of a ghost who will stop at nothing for another stab at life. Even if it means destroying Alona.
I am both simultaneously deliriously happy by the ending of this novel and sad that this trilogy is truly over. When I first picked up The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade, I expected a cute, fun, and mindless read – I was right, but only in part. The Ghost and the Goth surprised me by having well-rounded characters and a romance that was slow, started with friendship, and actually had me rooting for it. Body and Soul ties up the loose ends in this novel perfectly.
Nevertheless, it took me awhile to warm up to this series. It’s one of those trilogies where you have to let go of science and reason and simply go with the flow. It isn’t all realistic – but we’re dealing with ghosts here, so what could be? – but it does have substance to it, along with a truly remarkably written romance. Its characters, Alona Dare and Will Killian, are flawed, realistic, and intensely unlikable at times, but they grow on you and make their way into your heart. Although their romance seems typical with its flirty banter and clichéd stereotypes, it actually tackles on complex issues such as loving someone for their soul or their body or even parental issues.
If there are any flaws with this series, it is that some things could have been explored in greater depth, but overall, this series always manages to put a smile on my face, so I can’t complain. You need to be in a certain mood to read The Ghost and the Goth, one where you need laughter, fun, but also a tad bit of depth thrown in. Needless to say, this is the perfect rainy-day-re-read type of novel and I’m already eagerly anticipating Kade’s next novel which will hopefully contain the same steady and developed romance, unique concept, intriguing characters, and signature wit which I’ve come to love.