Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to Ashes

2.6 3
by Melissa Walker

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Callie McPhee knows all the classic Charleston ghost stories by heart.

What she doesn't realize is that she's about to become one.

When Callie's life is cut short by a tragic accident, she expects to find nothingness, or maybe some version of heaven. Instead, her spirit travels to the Prism, an ethereal plane populated by the ghosts she thought were


Callie McPhee knows all the classic Charleston ghost stories by heart.

What she doesn't realize is that she's about to become one.

When Callie's life is cut short by a tragic accident, she expects to find nothingness, or maybe some version of heaven. Instead, her spirit travels to the Prism, an ethereal plane populated by the ghosts she thought were fictional. Here she meets a striking and mysterious ghost named Thatcher, who is meant to guide her as she learns to haunt and bring peace to the loved ones she left behind.

With Thatcher at her side, Callie watches in agony while her father, her best friend, and her boyfriend mourn her—and she's not sure she wants to help them let her go; she may be invisible, but she's still here. However, as Callie desperately tries to make contact with the people she left behind, she uncovers a dark secret about the spirit world: The angry souls that always populate ghost stories are real, dangerous, and willing to do anything to stay on Earth, threatening the existence of everyone she ever cared about.

When she fights to save them, Callie will learn that while it may no longer beat, her heart can still love—and break.

Ashes to Ashes is Melissa Walker's sweeping, romantic, and emotionally rich story about the things that torment and tempt us, even from the Great Beyond.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Walker's (Unbreak My Heart) paranormal coming-of-age story is built on a premise that drains the narrative tension before it really gets going. Callie McPhee is an improbable adrenaline junkie, calm and introverted in manner but addicted to stunts like gunning her new BMW convertible at top speed down an open Charleston pier. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Callie is soon dead. Her afterworld is called the Prism, a way station of sorts between Earth and "the Solus." She's given a Ghost Guide, Thatcher, who escorts her to visit all her grieving loved ones—her boyfriend, Nick, her best friend, Carson, and her father—and instructs her to let go of earthly concerns. Thatcher speaks by rote, communicating little conviction with his pedantry and leading Callie to seek alternative answers. There's no question what Callie's reaction is going to be, but there's a lot of purgatorial waffling before she rebels. The intrinsic appeal of afterlife speculation may carry readers despite the predictability, but the story suffers from a lack of suspense and a somewhat weaseling denouement. Ages 13–up. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Dec.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—On the night 16-year-old Callie McPhee hopes to take the next step in her physical relationship with her boyfriend, she dies in a tragic car accident. Instead of going to heaven, she is stuck in the Prism, "the celestial plane between Earth and the next dimension," where all ghosts stay to help their living loved ones accept their deaths and move on. However, Callie isn't like other ghosts. She remembers everything from her life and is full of an energy that her fellow spirits lack. She attracts the attention of ghosts who are determined to stay on Earth—no matter the cost to the living. Callie struggles with her attraction to her Ghost Guide, Thatcher, and tries to bring peace to her loved ones. Walker's vivid imagery paints a rich picture of Charleston, South Carolina, as well as the Prism, where Callie must return between her stints on Earth. The secondary characters have distinct personalities and histories. Hand this supernatural romance to fans of self-discovery novels.—Natalie Struecker, Rock Island Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Walker's imaginative first installment of a two-part afterlife drama about what comes next. Six when her mother died, teenage Callie lives with her dad and doesn't believe in ghosts, other than "the ones that haunt the corners of my dad's mind. The ones that keep him quiet, unable to give me a real hug…." Dad may have locked in his feelings, but Callie still knows how to get a rush: with her boyfriend, Nick, and with risky driving in the new convertible her dad has given her. Frequent allusions to Charleston's storied ghost history and best friend Carson's obsession with the spirit world all portend one outcome: tragedy. Post-death Callie has a soft landing into the Prism, where dreamy guide Thatcher, stalled in his own quest to move on to the next level, explains her post-death haunting assignment: act as a silent, hidden grief counselor to the living. But Callie ("my curiosity has always overwhelmed my caution") is drawn to ghostly outliers Leo and Reena, who have their own plans. Rather than provide comfort and progress from the Prism to Solus (Solace? Soulless? Callie notices the ambiguity…), they are determined to rejoin the living, and Callie's unique energy is crucial to their success. Callie's present-tense narration emphasizes her limbo status. An appealing and sometimes-poignant blend of savvy adolescents, young romance and paranormal evil suggests there's no escaping teen drama--even in the afterlife. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

Alex Flinn
“A beautiful novel about the power of love over life and death.”
Sophie Jordan
“Intense, suspense–laden and full of surprising twists. This story will haunt you in every sense of the word!”
“Walker infuses standard romance with larger issues of mortality, afterlife, forgiveness, and morality.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
HL750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Melissa Walker is the author of Ashes to Ashes, Unbreak My Heart, Small Town Sinners, Lovestruck Summer, and the Violet on the Runway series. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

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Ashes to Ashes 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Suzie_Beth17 More than 1 year ago
Love this story.  Like the whole idea of prism.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
    I wasn't expecting to enjoy Ashes to Ashes as much as I did, so I am very glad I was sent a review copy. I read some of Melissa's other books, but they seemed so different, and I felt like I was done with ghost stories, but this had a spin that I enjoyed.      I enjoyed Callie, and wanted to know why she was special, having all of the energy, clear memories and emotions when she first crossed into the Prism, and I was curious about the mysterious Thatcher. There is also another group that does not want to move on to Solace, the version of heaven per Thatcher in this book.    The grief and emotions jump off the page, and while it seems it would be a completely down book, there are plenty of lighter moments and even flashbacks to get some romance and bestie time.      What I also appreciate is the message--you don't know if you will have another day, another chance to speak to the people you love, and she was looking back wishing that her and her father would have been closer, and that once we die, there is no way to fix that, so focus on what is important.      One thing that bothered me was some repetition of the rules and facts about Prism where different people says different things about what is okay or not, what you're supposed to do or not. And then there are details that I felt should have been given a tad earlier to avoid said repetition. If we had more info, the why, how, etc then it wouldn't be like, oh here's the rule again, and no reason behind it.      I figured out the twist before I got there as well as a few other details that maybe should have been more mysterious, but it didn't take away my enjoyment, and this is a series that I will continue with. Besides my affirmed suspicions about the end, they did a good job wrapping things up and stopped at a point that definitely made me wonder where exactly the series will go next, and wanting more.  Bottom Line: Good, fast read even if a bit predictable. 
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
  After seeing in another synopsis that this would be reminiscent of Ghost (the movie), I was really excited for this one. And upon further reading of that same synopsis, I saw that it was "perfect for fans of If I Stay by Gayle Forman" and I became really, REALLY excited for it. But unfortunately when I started reading it, I just couldn't get into it. This one was just a big disappoint for me.      One reason I didn't like it was it just seemed to be way too young to be YA. I understand that she was dead, but really, your snarkiness just made it seem stupid. I quit laughing at what you were saying and just started rolling my eyes in the first 10%. It's really unfortunate because I don't remember her other novel being like that.      But then there is the plot. I was really upset because I was looking for something completely different and this is not what I got. It was basically all about how she was so in love with her boyfriend from 1-7%, then how she died at 8%, and then 8-40% was just about the good and evil in the Prism. And it got boring rather quickly. I stopped at 40% and just skimmed the rest of the way. I just needed to know what it was that her boyfriend was keeping from her to see if my suspicions were correct, but that's all that I really cared about lol       I think I'm most disappointed because I loved her first novel and I was expecting this to be more like the movie and book that I loved. I guess that's why you never trust anything that says "based on,' or "for fans of," or "like ______ meets _____." You're more than likely always going to end up disappointed smh