Friday, January 22, 2021

Freeform Friday: A Review of The Girl and the Ghost - Hanna Alkaf

 

Summary: I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

My Review:  I have to admit that I’m a sucker for learning about new cultures, especially cultural stories/myths/legends. This book gave me an opportunity to learn about all of those! First off, I loved that it was a modern setting. Interweaving modern settings with cultural traditions and beliefs is really interesting, and I love reading about cultures and how they utilize the myths and legends even in the modern world. I’ve said this before in other reviews, but I really love a good dose of magical realism, and if that takes form in the way of cultural traditions, it’s even better. Who doesn’t want live in a world that’s a little unexplained? A little mysterious? Maybe we haven’t figured everything out and there is something more going on here. That is one of the reasons I read, actually, because I like to have a tangible grasp on both reality but also that just beyond the normal realm.

As with much of middle grade fic, this book was able to take on a lot of complicated issues and deal with them in a straightforward and accessible manner. There were very complicated and deep-seated issues such as class differences, race issues, single parenthood struggles, and then there were issues that are modern and not nearly as serious such as cell phone usage and such. I liked that this book was able to address the gamut of these issues in a gentle and yet forthright manner.

The writing in this book was great. I loved how accessible it was, and how it was able to convey serious messages but also allowed for laughter and silliness. There was sorrow, as well, and the depth of the main character, Suraya, was excellent.

Overall, I think this was a really excellent book. There are some parts that were legit scary and somewhat disturbing, but not beyond what I think a middle grade reader would be able to understand and enjoy. Alkaf does a masterful job of telling a great story with depth and characters that matter. If you are looking to introduce your middle grade reader (or yourself! Or your book club!) to a book with some great characters and great life lessons as well as a good dose of scariness and excitement, this is your book. This is one of those books that I fear might be overlooked but I am doing my part to spread the word because it is a seriously great read.

My Rating: 5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: There is some light language and some scary situations in this book, but I think today’s middle grade readers won’t even be fazed.

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