Quirky illustrations and mildly dark humor isn't enough to overcome the pedestrian nature of this British horror novel.
Even before her death, Scarlett Dedd seemed to have one foot in the grave, with her pale coloring and love of grisly horror movies. She accidentally kills herself and her family with poisonous mushrooms, leaving her a lonely ghost. She wants to reach out to her friends—the interchangeable Psycho, JP, Rip and Taz—yet every time she tries, she suffers from "ghost puke." After a suggestion from a new friend at a website called Ghoulkool (because even dead people need social media sites?), Scarlett tries to kill her friends so they can join her in the afterlife. But when those friends are threatened by actual bad guys, Scarlett and her family help save the gang, and Scarlett finally works toward an accommodation with her new, dead status. Brett is a talented illustrator with a hip and humorous take. Her illustrations give the characters most of their depth; there isn't much in the text to distinguish them otherwise. Scarlett's voice is occasionally funny, yet it's much like other British imports. Scarlett's blog posts and chat transcripts help pull the narrative weight as well.
Readers willing to stay with this slow-moving story won't find much new here other than good pictures. (Horror. 14 & up)