Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Dead Girlfriend

My Dead Girlfriend
by Eric Wight
a 2007 Cybils nominee

This was a fun book to read, and it is going to be even more fun to review. I'm going to get to use the phrase, "bitch-slapped by a Honda" in this review, and that's an occasion I don't want to miss. (You might remember the time another Kidlitosphere blogger used a similar phrase. My role model.)

I really didn't think I was going to like this book. After all, I had just finished reading The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci, and she gets high school cliques so right. Now here I was reading about caricatures of high school cliques: The Deadbeats are just that -- led by a vampire and including Frankenstein the bully. The Aberzombies are brainless conformists. The Foreign Exchange Students are aliens. Literally. The Coven of Witches are the drug dealers. The Lab Monkeys are the science nerds. Finney and Dahlia seem to be the only "normal" kids in the school. (It always seems like you are the normal one, right? Surrounded by all the freaks?) Right about here is when Finney gets beat up by the Frankenstein bully. When Dahlia asks him if he's okay, he says, "Felt kind of like being bitch-slapped by a Honda."

Then Finney meets Jenny Wraith (just a little foreshadowing there) at the carnival and has a great time. They arrange to meet the next day, but Jenny never shows up. Finney is in a deep, deep funk. Then his dad (who is a ghost) has a heart to heart talk with him and tells him that while he can't choose the way he'll die, he can choose the way he'll live. So Finney snaps out if it and asks Dahlia to the movies.

While walking home through the woods, Finney is ambushed by Franken-bully and his pals. Just when it seems that all is lost, a dark spirit (death is fighting for Finney's life?) swoops in and takes out the whole group, then whisks Finney away to the graveyard. And shows him a gravestone. The gravestone of Jenny Wraith, who fell into a well and died the day she was supposed to meet Finney and didn't. Then the hood of the dark cape falls away and you see that the ghost of Jenny is who saved Finney.

There you have it: the dead girlfriend in the title of the book. Plus, the perfect set-up for book two in the series. What is Finney going to do about Dahlia, the live girl that he asked to go to the movies, now that he has a dead girlfriend?

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