Review: Two YA Ghost Novels
Yep, today we’re going to do a little comparison of two young adult ghost novels that I read for Erin’s Book Challenge.
They are: Ruined by Paula Morris
and Minty by Christina Banach
Both of these ghost novels explore a kind of sisterhood that transcends death.
What they’re about:
In Ruined, Rebecca’s father suddenly dispatches her to New Orleans to live with an “aunt” she barely knows. Used to diverse, bustling New York City, Rebecca is unprepared for the viciousness she encounters in the elite prep school she now attends. Though cautioned never to enter the historic cemetery down the street, Rebecca find her only true friend. Unfortunately that friend is a 19th century ghost. Together, Rebecca and her ghost friend Lisette try to decipher the curse that keeps her tethered to the cemetery.
Minty is the eponymous narrator of this novel and the twin of Jess. They live in present-day Scotland but love everything to do with ancient Rome and have twin dogs named Remus and Romulus. While trying to rescue a dog who is being swept out to sea, one of the twins drowns. The novel is her attempt after death to contact and console her sister. The ghost twin is befriended by a troubled teen who died decades earlier and teaches her the physics of ghostdom.
What I thought:
I really liked Ruined and prefer it of these two ghost novels. The friendship between Rebecca and Lisette is tender. Rebecca’s romantic interest is mysterious and brooding, just the way teens like. The curse is well done and provides the reader insight into New Orleans race relations of the past that unfortunately still resonate with the New Orleans of the present. I learned some things not contained in the history books of my youth.
In Minty, modern teens will relate to the slang (though some of it will ring distinctly Scottish to American ears) and the contemporary feel of the novel. I did find, however, that Minty was too one-note (Do you like my cool new word? I just learned it), contained too many of the same soul-searching questions over and over. I believe the author could have cut 25 pages of internal dialogue to the betterment of the novel. When i read Minty, I flashed on The Lovely Bones, which also features a dead teen trying to connect with her family but is more complex. One difference is that The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is women’s fiction whereas Minty is young adult. Readers of Minty will probably enjoy Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, another young adult ghost novel.
At any rate, if you’re looking for a ghost novel with a sister-type bond, you will enjoy both Ruined and Minty. And if you’re looking for more ghost novel recommendations, I hope you’ll check out 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die.