Book: Queen of the Dead (Ghost and the Goth #2) by Stacey Kade
Summary: Alona, the dead cheerleader forever stuck in gym clothes, has come back from the light and is working with Will (he would be "the goth") to help other spirits find peace. When Alona discovers that her mom is throwing away all of her possessions and that her father is expecting a new baby with his new wife, she's in the perfect position to get Will to tell them that they haven't spent enough time grieving. But Will is having second thoughts about their mission, because of an intriguing (if abrasive) girl named Mina who is also a ghost talker. While Will explores what it means to be a ghost talker, Alona is left to sort out her problems on her own, and they are both going to find trouble.
Characters: Have I mentioned how much I love these characters? Alona is the perfect cheerleader, former mean girl, but we get to see this tender side of her as she deals (a bit late) with her mortality. Still, she is determined and strong-headed and funny. She gets herself into trouble and it is both charming and hilarious to watch. Will is this tortured soul, struggling to figure out his place in the world when he is the only one who can see the dead. He struggles even more, because the only other ghost talker he has known is his dad... who killed himself. It is touching to see Will try to learn more about his father in this installment and satisfying within the story, because his search puts him at odds with Alona in this story.
Once again, I enjoyed the cast of characters that surround Will and Alona. The ghosts are annoying in a way that made me smile. Will's mom is sweet, even if she makes it known that she thinks Will would be better off dating a girl who is alive. Will meets old friends of his father and they were interesting, but I wanted to know more about them. Hopefully book three will have more answers. Mina, the ghost talker Will meets at the beginning of the book, is the perfect adversary, because she is almost a friend. She has a clear agenda that she is desperate to achieve and it is easy to pity her and understand her motivations even as you root against her.
Plot/Pacing: Once again, this book sweeps you along. There is so much tension--my favorite kind--because the characters who should support each other have opposing goals. Then about halfway through, Alona gets herself in a predicament that brought the book in a direction I didn't see coming at all. I loved the mystery surrounding the other ghost talkers and watching Will and Alona try to sort their feelings for each other. And as much as I laughed, I was still on the edge of my seat for most of this book. The end was crazy--I liked it so much better than the end of book one--and there is a bit of a cliffhanger so I will be purchasing Body and Soul soon.
Moments I Loved: There are so many moments I loved, but in an effort not to include spoilers, I will go with one near the beginning. Alona and Will are making out in the bushes and it made me laugh a lot. One, they were making out in the bushes (I don't know why that amuses me so much). Two, I just kept imagining what it would look like if someone who couldn't see ghosts walked up.
WTF Moments: The end with the priest. Loved the tension and action, but seriously, dude was words I can't say on this blog. Also, when Will goes to meet his father's old friends (he doesn't know who they are at this point), he is directed to this abandoned and very haunted theater. It is all kinds of creepy.
Overall: A hilarious book with tons of action and fun characters, this is a charming followup and one of the best "middle books" I have ever read.
Reading Challenges: This book counts toward the following challenges: 266 pages toward 15,000 page challenge and Support Your Local Library. Track all my progress on my 2012 Challenges page.
Queen of the Dead gets a Fake Steph rating of...