#94 – The Ghost in Me by Shaundra Kennedy Wenger

 4 Stars

If you knew a person who was willing to live through your worst nightmare, would you let her?

Like any other fourteen-year-old, Myri Anna Monaco has problems she doesn’t know how to deal with: a crush on her best friend’s boyfriend, a mother who’s dating her science teacher, and a “punishment” for a science-project-gone-wrong that lands her in the last place she wants to be—in auditions for the school play.

Most girls don’t have what Myri has—a ghost named Wren who not only lives at home, but who is willing to “trade places” whenever she is needed. 

Although Myri is reluctant at first, Wren’s offer becomes a quick and easy solution when her problems collide.  However, this brief experience in ghostly possession soon takes Mari’s life to new levels.  How much will Mari lose to avoid the problems mounting around her?  How much will Wren take to fulfill her own desires?

14-year-old Mari Anna Monaco is a typical teen girl with typical teen girl problems.  She is in love with her best friend’s “ex” boyfriend, her mom is dating her science teacher, the science project for that teacher’s class is due soon, and she has not even started it.  Oh, yeah . . . she lives with Wren, a 300-year-old ghost stuck as a 12-year-old girl.  Wren’s greatest wish is to be alive doing teenager stuff, like high school.  Mari’s greatest wish is to drop out, especially after finding herself assigned to the drama club, a graded drama club.  In time, Mari and Wren figure out how to grant each of their wishes.  Now, if only they could un-grant them.

When a book’s first sentence is a cockroach can live for eight days without its head, you know there is an odd little story, or two, on these pages.  The Ghost in Me is more than a little odd.  It is energetic, suspenseful, a bit eerie, and humorous.  Shaunda Kennedy Wenger knows her audience well.  She uses two different young teen girls, one in the present and one from hundreds of years ago.  The two-year age difference makes for a big gap in maturity and coping skills, not to mention math, science, and history that has advanced 300 years.  I could close my eyes and see each girl vividly. The story is typical teenage angst with ghastly twists.

The Ghost in Me is an easy and quick read with short chapters and smooth transitions from scene to scene.  Girls will enjoy this more than boys will, but boys should not shy away from this either.  Do not forget, a cockroach can live for eight days without its head, are the very first words of the story.  That is clearly a welcoming sign for young male readers. Have no fear boys, the story centers around school but romance is not involved.  The scare-factor is also low enough that readers won’t have trouble going to sleep . . . because of the book, other things . . . ?

I think this story is fun and funny, fast and easy to read.  It has distinctive voices, likable characters, and recommended reading for girls, boys, and cockroaches.  One last bit of advice about The Ghost in Me.  When you are reading and enjoying the story, it will boost your enjoyment immensely if you have a plate of Gram’s lemon cookies within reach.

The Ghost in Me

Author:  Shaundra Kennedy Wenger
Publisher: Essemkay Company Productions
Publication Date:  2011
Number of Pages: 212
ISBN: 978-0-6154-3287-8