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THE HARDER THE FALL by Lauren Barnholdt


From the Girl Meets Ghost series, volume 2

by Lauren Barnholdt

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4424-4247-4
Publisher: Aladdin

Intrepid 12-year-old ghost-whisperer Kendall returns with a new ghost and new boyfriend problems.

Kendall is happily dating her first boyfriend, Brandon, despite the fact that his deceased mother keeps returning to warn her to stay away from her son. While she’s getting her nails done in the unlikely-to-succeed new salon in town, another girl ghost shows up. Lyra is the recently dead daughter of the salon owner, but she doesn’t remember the problem that’s keeping her from moving on into the afterlife. Unsurprisingly, Lyra pops up whenever Kendall’s surrounded by her friends and can’t easily respond to her demands. Worse, Madison, an aggressive flirt with her eye on Brandon, does her best to break up Kendall’s romance. Meanwhile, Kendall’s dad wants a more formal relationship with his girlfriend, but he isn’t handling the family situation well. Barnholdt keeps up the breezy atmosphere even while she addresses some unhappy emotions for Kendall, who decides to take an extreme action at the end of the book, setting up another sequel. She balances this with comedy, which usually arises from the absurd on-the-spot explanations Kendall devises to cover her ghostly conversations and Kendall’s wry comments on everything she observes. The book’s brief discussions about the fashions Kendall chooses and middle school girl rivalries all work to keep the attention of preteen girls.

Bright, bubbly fun. (Paranormal fiction. 9-12)