Why oh why did the publisher give this book a pink cover with a phone on it? This gives the impression that it's a book for teen girls, but I think that it's a book that crosses the gender and generation barrier. The book actually reads like a quirky movie. I could see it easily becoming popular with the same types of people who liked movies like "Juno" or "Ghost World". I kept imagining what the movie soundtrack would be like. I found that the author has actually created a playlist
of all the songs she mentions in the book (including songs by Elvis, Gnarls Barkley, Amy Winehouse, and others). Hopefully, if this book ever does become a movie, it would include modern covers of some of the older songs ... and include a little Portishead
, too. I definitely heard Portishead playing in my mind when I was reading it.
This is a book with much quirk in it. The main characters, code named Ghost Boy and Robot Girl, are misfits that happen to find each other during their senior year when Robot Girl moves to Ghost Boy's small school. Ghost Boy feels that the real him died years ago and he walks the halls more like a ghost than a real boy. Robot Girl expresses herself mostly through photographically recreating movie scenes she likes and ideas that are floating around her head. When they meet each other, they let each other into their weird worlds and become something more than friends. They create their own insulated existence together, doing things like listening to people stranger than them on late night AM radio, dressing up in disguise for a hospital break-out, and ditching prom for a platonic night out in Ocean City.
The author has created a "Mystery Page"
online where she offers pictures and links for some of the quirky movies (such as John Water's "Female Trouble"), quirky places (such as the Ocean City boardwalk), and quirky concepts (such as the batusi) mentioned in the book. The novel is peppered with so many things like this that it seems as if Ghost Boy and Robot girl live in a world that is made more from things from the past and things from an imaginary world than in the present real world.
I think this book spoke to me on a personal level because I did have this type of platonic friendship in high school. We were 2 misfits who found solace in the reality we created, but we had each other for 13 years instead of just 1. This book also touches on a subject I have difficulty understanding, and that's how some people don't feel that they need others in their lives and push others away through cutting off communication or lying about the truth. I've met people like this, but I don't understand them. I don't think that I understand them any more after reading this book, but it really pokes at my heart to think of these people feeling the need to live their lives apart from others, brooding over the past and never living the present or letting others into their lives.
Oh, Ghost Boys (and Girls) of this world, whoever you are and wherever you are, don't be afraid to let people in.Note: While I critique both purchased and free books in the same way, I'm legally obligated to tell you I received this book free through the Amazon Vine program in return for my review. Blah blah blah.