The Mediator: Shadowland
by Jenny Carroll
paperback from Pocket Pulse 2000
I collect Young Adult books. Generally genre fiction, although some non-genre fiction does creep in as well (and I still have all the books I've bought over the years, including those from when I *was* a Young Adult myself!).
I'm not sure where I picked this one up -- whether I picked it off of Glen's table last Boskone (Glen Cook always has such *good* YA books to buy on his table in the dealers' room) or whether I just bumped into it on my own. Its the first in a series, and according to Amazon, there are a total of four books out so far. I can't tell by just looking if its an open-ended series. But I do know I plan to buy more of them.
This isn't a kids book written for adults. Most adults probably wouldn't have the patience for the writing style, although the style is one of the things I like about it. The book is written in first person vernacular, like Suze is talking to the reader directly. Its the style I use, all too often, and I have a fondness for it. It reads like I could be reading it out loud and I can hear her voice in my head. I like that.
The style of the book definitely trades on the popularity of Buffy. There's this girl -- Suze -- and she's a Mediator. That means she can speak with the dead. Hells, she can talk to them, touch them, and even "kick ghost butt" when necessary. What she's supposed to do is help them find their way to the other side. But Suze (rather like Buffy) has gone all alone for the first 16 years of her life. She had no help, no one to teach her how to deal with this gift. So she's developed her own techniques.
Now she's moved from New York City to San Jose, because her mother has gotten married. And suddenly there's a priest at her school who knows exactly what she is. And three step-brothers becoming involved in her life. Not to mention Jesse, the *really* cute ghost with the amazing six-pack who just happens to reside in her room. Suddenly life is different for Suze, but the ghosts are still there. And Heather, who died not long before Suze arrived at the Mission school, can't stand her.
The book reads quickly, and I can see the episodic nature (meet ghost, fight or fix with ghost, get them to the other side) and the relationships forming. There's Jesse, the ghost. Her step-brothers (I rather like Sleepy, even with the little we've seen of him, and I especially like Doc). The not so popular kids at school, and the popular ones. Yes, very reminiscent of Buffy. But in a good way, and enjoyably done. Now I just need to go get the rest of them.Posted by Deb Atwood at October 07, 2002 11:11 PM | TrackBack