Title: Haint Misbehavin'
Author: Maureen Hardegree
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Release Date: 06/01/2010
Tis the season for spooky books!
If you asked Heather, she'd probably tell you that her life sucks. Not only is she super allergic to everything & anything, but she also has a sister that treats her like dirt & parents who completely ignore said sister's actions (unless they can't ignore them). Now on top of all of that she's discovered that she can see ghosts. Well, one ghost in particular, the ghost of a small child who died years ago & is intent on spending the rest of her afterlife haunting Heather.
Hardegree has done a good job mystery & world building for her first full length book, creating a character that many readers will be able to relate to. Not only that, but the book makes for a very easy read & should be a lot of fun for young readers in this spooky Halloween season. Also something to praise is Hardegree's setting up of ghostly rules & future plot points, most specifically those surrounding the character of Xavier, a geek with a crush on our young medium.
However there are a few things about the book that might wear a little thin with some readers. Heather's older sister Audrey is almost completely one-dimensional for a large chunk of the book & many might long for some sort of character depth other than “you embarrass me & I’m going to humiliate you in public”. It’s fine at first but it’s almost completely nonstop, which gets pretty old after a while. Also wearing a little thin is how Heather’s parents are completely oblivious to how she’s treated- while I can understand parents wanting to think the better of their kids, Audrey’s actions are so incredibly noticeable that I really wanted to see more reaction from the parents, even if it was signs that they were actively trying to live in ignorance. (Hey, I’ve had siblings who were just as evil, if not more so than Audrey & when it was as noticeable as this they did actually show that they noticed.) I can see where Hardegree was trying to go with this, but I just wanted to see more depth to the characters. I don’t mind Hardegree making Audrey into a villain & the parents into the type who like keeping their heads in the sand, I just want to see a little more of their reasons for behaving as such. (She does show it towards the end, but it’s a bit too little too late in the book for that.)
Overall though, this is a fun read & I can really see a lot of teens & young adults getting into this book. I just hope that Hardegree manages to balance out everything in the second book.
(ARC provided by NetGalley)