Walker’s imaginative first installment of a two-part afterlife drama about what comes next.
Six when her mother died, teenage Callie lives with her dad and doesn’t believe in ghosts, other than “the ones that haunt the corners of my dad’s mind. The ones that keep him quiet, unable to give me a real hug….” Dad may have locked in his feelings, but Callie still knows how to get a rush: with her boyfriend, Nick, and with risky driving in the new convertible her dad has given her. Frequent allusions to Charleston’s storied ghost history and best friend Carson’s obsession with the spirit world all portend one outcome: tragedy. Post-death Callie has a soft landing into the Prism, where dreamy guide Thatcher, stalled in his own quest to move on to the next level, explains her post-death haunting assignment: act as a silent, hidden grief counselor to the living. But Callie (“my curiosity has always overwhelmed my caution”) is drawn to ghostly outliers Leo and Reena, who have their own plans. Rather than provide comfort and progress from the Prism to Solus (Solace? Soulless? Callie notices the ambiguity…), they are determined to rejoin the living, and Callie’s unique energy is crucial to their success. Callie’s present-tense narration emphasizes her limbo status.
An appealing and sometimes-poignant blend of savvy adolescents, young romance and paranormal evil suggests there’s no escaping teen drama—even in the afterlife. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)