Reviewed by Me for TeensReadToo.com
If there's one sentence that could sum up Cass McKenna's life, it would probably be that infamous line from the movie The Sixth Sense: "I see dead people."
Ever since Cass's big sister, Paige, drowned the night of her Junior Prom, Cass has had the gift - or curse - of being able to see ghosts. Or, to be technical, to see, hear, and communicate with spirits who haven't moved on to wherever spirits go after people die. The morning after her sister's death, Cass made the mistake of mentioning to her parents that Paige couldn't be dead, since she was crying upstairs in her bedroom. One therapist later, Cass has realized that telling people about her little "secret" of communicating with the dead isn't a good idea.
Cass has learned to use her ghost-seeing powers to great effect. Never all that popular to begin with, she's made a lot of enemies at Frazer Collegiate by using the information that her spirit friends provide for her. Cheating on your girlfriend? Cass probably knows about it. Posting nasty things on a blog about the girl who does your homework for you? Cass probably knows about it. Passing along information to keep one of your best friends off the Athlete of the Year list? Cass knows about that, too.
It's not hard to see why Norris and Bitzy, the two resident school ghosts, are Cass's only friends.
But then enters Tim Reed, Student Council Vice President, who somehow manages to find out Cass's secret. Tim wants Cass's help in contacting his dead mother. Cass reluctantly agrees, planning to use Tim's popularity status to get dirt on the one person she needs to knock down the most - her ex-best friend, Danielle.
It all sounds like a good plan, except that Cass doesn't know that doing so will put her in a very strange position - that of learning to care about someone else, and finding out that revenge isn't always as sweet as you think it will be.
It's hard to believe that GIVE UP THE GHOST is Megan Crewe's debut novel. It's wonderfully written, has characters who are easy to relate to, and contains pitch-perfect dialogue. It deals with feelings of abandonment and loneliness, with bullying and depression, and even alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts with true emotion and feeling. Nothing ever comes off as heavy-handed, but I appreciated the fact that Ms. Crewe showed the darker side of being a teen within the context of what could have been just a fun, frothy paranormal read.
The story comes to a not quite happily-ever-after conclusion, but I could easily envision more stories featuring Cass and Tim in the future. GIVE UP THE GHOST is a winner!