About the Author
Chris Myers suffers from an overactive imagination. She spent her high school years writing torch songs for fantasy guys then moved onto writing thrillers and young adult. She has a real job but would love to write full time. Her books have won and placed in the finals and semifinals for several awards including Paul Gillette, Rocky Mountain Gold, and Amazon Breakthrough Novel. Chris lives in Colorado with her daughter, her better half, and BeBe, a rambunctious Bichon.
From the publisher—
Sixteen-year-old Jolie Livingston’s closest and only friend Drew is this really hot dead guy, and it bites that the self-absorbed princesses at school cannot even see him. That’s right she can communicate with the dead. It’s the living she has trouble with. She and her mom inherited this awesome crib in Plymouth, MA. It’s quite a step-up from the homeless shelter in New Orleans, but there’s a catch. They can’t afford the past due mortgage, so Jolie’s working on that.
She starts a ghost hunting business called Ripsters. Somehow she’s managed to recruit Brittany, a glamour SAP smothered in pink, and a techie allergic to ghosts. Brit actually thinks he resembles the R&B singer Chris Brown. All that pink has clouded her vision. They both have special talents Jolie’s hoping will be useful to their venture. Right now, they’re working for a family in need of major therapy due to a dead guy with a hole in his head.
What a lot of fun this book is! With a mix of the paranormal, a bit of romance and a murder mystery that keeps our ghost hunters guessing almost till the end, nearly any reader can find something to like in Date with the Dead. Even the romance is appealing to those of us who’ve grown tired of the insta-love that’s so prevalent in young adult fiction because here it’s natural and, while there are plenty of roadblocks in the way, there’s no overblown angst. As a matter of fact, there’s a good deal of humor involved, especially with all the ghosts hanging about.
We’ve seen ghost hunter books before but this one is a cut above, full of charm and a good dollop of suspense, along with a little pathos involving less-than-stellar family situations. I really enjoyed spending time with Jolie and Drew and their pals and the whole idea of a town teeming with stray spirits works because of the setting. Where better than the heart of Pilgrim country and the American Revolution to find enough ghostly hangers-on to keep a budding ghost-hunting business rolling along for years to come? It doesn’t hurt, either, that these teens actually know what they’re doing most of the time although they certainly weren’t expecting to have to solve a missing person case that turns into something much worse.
I have to give Ms. Myers props for a couple of things. First, the editing of this book was very nicely done and I found no glaring errors beyond the occasional—and minor—typo. Second, her characterizations of these kids and the villains involved is lively and makes them feel real despite their tendencies to be involved in supernatural goings-on. I especially liked that each of the teens brings a different touch to the story and each has his or her own talents as well as weaknesses.
Make no mistake, this is not just a humorous piece of fluff. There is certainly a lot about it that’s amusing but we also get to see that even those kids who seem to have it all together have problems and, sometimes, they’re pretty serious. Jolie, in particular, is a girl with reasons to be very cynical about life in general but she’s still a most appealing teen who refuses to be beat down. I’m looking forward to reading about the next adventures of the Ripsters gang.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2013.
From the publisher—
Sixteen-year-old Brittany Howland only knows one other girl, Jolie Livingston, who can communicate with the dead like herself. When Brittany takes Jolie’s haunt fishing to get him out of Jolie’s hair, he mysteriously disappears. Brittany isn’t sure how she’ll tell Jolie she lost her ghost. Jolie thinks her dead best friend Drew has finally crossed over, but Brittany knows better. Just before Drew went missing, he revealed why he hasn’t hitchhiked to the afterlife, a secret Brittany swore she’d take to the grave.
In a departure from the first book, Dead and Missing has two alternating narrators, Jolie and her colleague and friend, Brittany, and it works very well. I particularly liked getting to know Brittany a little better since she’s so very different from Jolie and yet they share an affinity for the spirit world. Still, you have to marvel at how a diminutive goth-dressing girl and a bouncy blonde athlete who always dresses in pink could get along, much less be friends.
These two girls also differ from the norm because Jolie is the sensible, rational one while Brit tends to be sarcastic and funny, sometimes rather W.A.S.P.-ish, and it’s that reversal of expected roles that makes them so appealing. Certainly they have their occasional differences of opinion but, at heart, they are sisters. So, could they really be sisters?
That’s just one of the puzzles that come to light when Brit and Jolie set out with Reese and Hayden to save Drew, Jolie’s BFF ghost who has been snatched by demons or some such things. They also want to find out what the underground Paranormal Guild is all about and how they can gain membership, all the while being warned from all sides about how dangerous this group is. There are definitely some dark things going on but even more surprising is what the Ripsters find out about their own family members’ involvement in the world of dark supernaturals. Add to that a “lovely” little ghost girl who’s been dead for about three centuries and who indulges in biting people and let the fun begin!
Ms. Myers has a third book coming in this series (trilogy?) titled Buried in New Orleans but I can’t find any other information about it. I’m looking forward to it and hope we won’t have to wait too long because I really do want to spend more time with these kids and see what they’ll be up to next.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2013.