Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alice's Review: Spooky Little Girl

Summary:  Death is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.
Coming home from a Hawaiian vacation with her best girlfriends, Lucy Fisher is stunned to find everything she owns tossed out on her front lawn, the locks changed, and her fiancé’s phone disconnected—plus she’s just lost her job. With her world spinning wildly out of her control, Lucy decides to make a new start and moves upstate to live with her sister and nephew. But then things take an even more dramatic turn: A fatal encounter with public transportation lands Lucy not in the hereafter but in the nearly hereafter. She’s back in school, learning the parameters of spooking and how to become a successful spirit in order to complete a ghostly assignment. If Lucy succeeds, she’s guaranteed a spot in the next level of the afterlife—but until then, she’s stuck as a ghost in the last place she would ever want to be. Trying to avoid being trapped on earth for all eternity, Lucy crosses the line between life and death and back again when she returns home. Navigating the perilous channels of the paranormal, she’s determined to find out why her life crumbled and why, despite her ghastly death, no one seems to have noticed she’s gone. But urgency on the spectral plane—in the departed person of her feisty grandmother, who is risking both their eternal lives—requires attention, and Lucy realizes that you get only one chance to be spectacular in death.

Review: I love Laurie Notaro; I do. Even before I knew who Jen Lancaster was, I was getting splitting stitches in my side from laughing at her misadventures since The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life. Also, I am totally addicted to the TV show Ghost Adventures; so if Laurie Notaro and Ghost Adventures had a love child, it would be SpookyLittle Girl.

This is by far the funniest book I have read so far this year. I chose this novel because I needed one with a size in the title for the What’s in a Name? Challenge. The truth is I really wasn’t looking forward to reading it. Although I love her true-life comedy books, I tried to read Ms. Notaro’s first attempt at fiction and sadly couldn’t make it past page 10. I’m glad I gave this one a try because it was quite a pleasant surprise.

After returning from a bad vacation in Hawaii – I didn’t think that was possible – Lucy returns to have her stuff thrown all across the lawn of the home she shares with her fiance Martin. Then she is fired from her job. With a broken heart, unemployed Lucy moves in with her sister Alice (great name). And if things aren’t terrible enough for her, on her way to the unemployment office she accidentally steps in front of a bus and meets an unexpected and early demise. What happens next is one of the best ghost stories (okay, this only ghost story) I have ever read.

Lucy endures weeks of “spook” training before heading back to earth to complete an assignment before she heads to the “State,” her final destination. Lucy hopes to return to Alice’s house, to help her sister, but things never happen as planned, even in death. Lucy heads right back to Martin’s house to complete her mission. What ensues is a very humorous adventure to solve the mysterious mission.

I loved the characters in this novel. Naunie, Lucy’s grandmother was fantastic. She reminded me a bit of Grandma Mazur from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. She had plenty of moxie. I love how Ms. Notaro explains the many Lady in White ghosts. You know whom I am talking about, no matter where you are there is always a legend of a Lady in White ghost. (Annie from Annie’s Road in Totowa, NJ is our local Lady in White.) I also enjoyed being party of Lucy’s relationship with Tulip, her rescued dog. And the ghost hunt/séance scene still makes me crack up just thinking of it.

Overall, this is a great book that will appeal to lovers of the paranormal or to anyone who believes in a second chance to get it right. And even if you don’t believe in second chances, there is always laughter. And really who doesn’t like to laugh?

Final Take: 4/5



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