A 16-year-old discovers that she is a ghost and resolves to solve her own murder with the help of her new friends and their supernatural powers.
Echo Stone experiences a rude awakening in a strange place she comes to learn is Middle House, an “orphanage” for ghosts of murder victims. The kids Echo meets there are “in-betweeners,” stuck in a sort of purgatory until they resolve their issues, starting with the question of who murdered them. Bewildered but determined to find answers about her own death, Echo joins the ragtag band of ghostly teenagers, each endowed with unique powers in death, to participate in hauntings of their murderers and exact revenge. Bit by bit, memories of her life before death come back to her as she starts to piece together and investigate a list of suspects, coming to terms with her own actions in the process. A lackluster love triangle among Echo, her former boyfriend, Andy, and ghost love interest, Cole, feels tacked-on, frequently invoked but inorganically developed. Echo’s voice is stilted and histrionic throughout, and the melodramatic turns of events feel forced and scripted. Most characters seem to default to white, though one is described as dark-skinned and another is implied to have mixed Asian heritage.
Weak character development and monotonous plotting eclipse an otherwise intriguing premise. (Paranormal mystery. 16-18)