Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Series: The Mediator #1
Published by Harper Collins, HarperTeen on December 28, 2004
Also by this author: Ninth Key, Reunion, Darkest Hour
Suze is a mediator -- a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won't leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn't seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.
But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it's not that easy. There's a ghost with revenge on her mind ... and Suze happens to be in the way.
This book was (very nicely) forced upon me by my friends Christina and Gillian after they heard that I’m not the biggest Meg Cabot fan. See, what observation was based off of me reading a single one of her more recent publications and disliking it greatly. So, I came home from college for Christmas break and found a box from Christina with this entire series waiting for me. And, boy, am I happy that she did this because I am absolutely adoring this series.
What I’ve discovered with Meg Cabot is that she has found the recipe to success. A kickass heroine with a snarky attitude plus a dreamy boy that creates a delicious romantic tension equals a series that Lili (and many other readers) are bound to pick up and love. In this instance, she can’t let anyone down.
Suze, short for Susannah but you better not call her that, is one of my favorite heroines that I have come across, perhaps ever. Not only is she snarky, but she’s intelligent and fiery. She’s not scared to open up a can of whoop ass on evil ghosts, which is pretty awesome if you ask me. She’s quirky and obsessed with fashion even though she’d be the last person you would think would be. And, in all honesty, I think she is a bit insane, but that just made me love her more. Though she has a hugely sarcastic demeanor, Suze is instantly likable and you immediately feel for her. Most importantly, Suze is a mediator, meaning that she is the liaison between a ghost and their ability to move on. Some ghosts hang around the real world after they die because they have some things to finish, Suze gets the job done so that they can move on and she can stop being haunted by creepy people. It’s a win/win don’t you think?
If I was getting shipped away from my best friend and the wonders of New York City to live with three step brothers in California, I can’t say I would be beyond pleased, so it was interesting to see Suze’s transition. However, watching her family dynamic change and see that she really does care for some of them was great. I especially love her soft spot for her nerdy little brother who she affectionately nicknames, Doc. The brother that’s slightly older is Sleepy, who I enjoy at times, but I have to admit that her stereotypical dumb-jock-that-hooks-up-with-everyone brother, Dopey, annoys me a lot. I hate the stereotypes and wish more went into his characterization.
And then there’s Jesse. He’s not really human, he’s just the ghost that inhabits her new bedroom because he died there somehow 150 years ago and has yet to move on. I love Jesse and I can see some amazing plot points happening with him later in the series. And I seriously hope their romance continues because it’s not only unique, but meant to be. At least…in my eyes.
As far as the plot goes, the synopsis pretty much covers it. I find the fact that Suze goes to school in a Mission to be very entertaining. And even more entertaining is the fact that the first ever mediator she ever comes across happens to be a Priest and her Principal, Father Dominic. His characterization is superb. He is bound by his oath, but he’s got a very tiny rebellious streak in him that’s constantly battling his commitments and what society expects of him. Together him and Suze (and by default, Jesse) make an amazing team.
All in all, very easy to get through. A quick read that’s slightly predictable. Our main ghost in this one is beyond childish and reminds me of a petulant rich girl who does not get what she wants. I genuinely believe that some of Cabot’s characterization can be made to be more complex instead of stereotypical and annoying. Hopefully this is a problem that will get better down the line. Despite the fact that these books are on the elder side, they’re not the least bit dated and I recommend that everyone gives them a chance–no matter what the age. I feel as if anyone can appreciate them. Suze’s attitude is simply unparalleled. Onto book two!