Reading level: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers - August 1st 2008
"We all like to think the world ends when we do. The truth is our acquaintances, our friends, and our loved ones all live on, and through them, so do we. It's not about what you had, but what you gave. It's not about how you looked, but how you lived. And it's not just about being remembered. It's about giving people a good reason to remember you."
No one really remembers much about Charlotte Usher, except that she's the nerdy girl who died choking on a gummy bear in physics. Not exactly the image she was going for. In fact, Charlotte's quest to create a new image for herself, a popular, trendy, better coiffed one is the very thing that ruined (quite permanently) her life and it continues to be the cause of her ruin in death.
Every school has the "it" girls. For Hawthorne High the elite are headed by Petula and her doting butt kissers, the Wendys. Petula, blessed not only with money, popularity, and perfect hair, is also the girlfriend of the school's hottest football star, Damen. Charlotte idolizes Petula, but more importantly, she covets her boyfriend. So it has to be fate that caused Charlotte and Damen to become lab partners in physics right?
And now Charlotte's dead and she's really annoyed. She was suppose to come back to school, with her new makeover, become popular and get the guy. Death may have caused a little set back but it's no match for her determination and if she can't get what she wanted in life, well by ghost she's going to get it, and him, in death.
I picked this up on a whim at the library, due mostly to it's awesome packaging and insanely kick-ass cover. It's this slim, thick, hardback book with silver edged paper with a cut-out silhouette on the cover. Couldn't help myself. I'm a sucker for something shiny. The biggest thing the book has going for it came with reading it- it's VERY good. Morbidly funny and full of all the teen stereotypes I fondly remember from high school, I just loved it. It poked a lot of fun at teenagers at that age, and it was admittedly dead (haha) on. It is a rather ridiculous time in life and I enjoyed the trip back in time.
Hurley tells a great story, but her writing really stands out in the little moral lessons she's trying to impart, not only to Charlotte but the reader as well. The character of Charlotte is wholly unlikable, but that's the point. The fact that she ends up tolerable and maybe even having learned a little stays true to the story in that, at that age, we never really got it.
At least that's why I took away from the story. But then again I'm an old person reading this so I'm in on the joke. Totally going to read the next one.