Ghost stories tend to feature only two kinds of ghosts: kindly ones who want to help and terrifying ones who put people in danger; this novel presents an alternative: a ghost who’s just mildly annoying.
Logan is a teenager who spends all day watching old episodes of Buffy and Doctor Who and sulking when his sister, Rose, spends time with anyone but him. Four years have passed since Logan died, and the younger sister he used to protect is now taking the PSAT and thinking about dating. Logan is a fantastic metaphor. He represents both Rose’s fear of adulthood and the pain and grief she still feels, years after losing her brother. But a ghost who does nothing but whine and binge on Netflix quickly becomes repetitive. Logan starts to feel like a distraction from the main characters. Jamie, Rose’s potential boyfriend, is much more complex—laid back and insecure, flirtatious and intellectual—and so are Rose’s other high school friends. (They’re also fairly diverse: Rose and Logan are Jewish, Jamie has a white father and a Filipino mother, and their school includes interracial and same-sex couples.) The story requires that Rose let go of her brother, but it would be a lot more heart-rending if it felt like more of a struggle.
Much too often, Logan isn’t just an “invisible ghost.” He’s hardly there at all. (Fiction. 13-16)