Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Scarlett Dedd

by Cathy Brett


Scarlett Dedd has dirt-poor parents, a miserable life, and bad hair, and she can't face the cringing shame of a school trip on which she's afraid she'll be made a laughing stock. The deathly-pale teenager thinks her problems can't get much worse. She's dead wrong.

When Scarlett's plan to get out of going to France goes spectacularly wrong the consequences are grave. Her horror-film obsessed friends are ignoring her and getting on with their lives, leaving her to deal with the trauma of her recent death alone. While they're making movies with fake blood and props, she's dealing with her own very real horror. But Scarlett hasn't forgotten her friends. And she especially hasn't forgotten about Psycho, the boy she has a crush on.

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

Book Details

Year: 2010

Categories: Books

  Kids     Horror
    Female Protagonist  

If you like this, try:

Inkheart cover    

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.

5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson