Science fiction and fantasy
by Cathy Brett
So Scarlett hatches a plan to make her friends see things from her point of view. But is she really wicked enough to arrange for them to join her on the other side? And will she succeed?
This gory young adult story is short and very easy to understand. It's aimed at a slightly younger audience than the Harry Potter series, for instance. The characters don't swear, and Scarlett says things like "festering fudge" when she's upset. Although the plot is all about ghosts and death it's far more comic than horrific. There are illustrations on most pages, so it's almost like a graphic novel, and the story is told in blog and forum posts as well as in the more usual way.
Scarlett's black outlook on life and her interest in the grisliest movies is really appealing because it stops the story from getting too cute. But it's not too dark either. She has fun discovering marvellous new ghost powers, and her family is around to lighten the mood. Her disgusting little brother Milton, her daffy parents and her mysterious Uncle Oswald make for a quirky group of eccentrics. Throw in a few thuggish gangsters, a creepy haunted house and regular brushes with death for various characters and there's never a dull moment. Scarlett Dedd is a lot of fun. On one level it's a cautionary tale about being aware of peer pressure and thinking things through before acting. But it's also a delightfully gross ghostly adventure full of funny social situations, lively characters and the kind of problems that teenagers will all relate to.
13th June 2011
If you like this, try:Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Meggie and Mo Folchart are avid readers, but Mo can literally bring characters to life just by reading aloud. And those characters aren't always happy about it.