Ghostgirl: Homecoming

( 235 )

Overview

Heaven couldn't be a phone bank, could it?

Charlotte Usher discovers that the afterlife isn't quite what she pictured when she's forced to intern at a hotline for troubled teens. Before she can officially cross over, she'll have to be a source of guidance for one such teen. The problem is she doesn't have much advice to offer since dying hasn't exactly boosted her confidence level.

But when Hawthorne High's ...

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Overview

Heaven couldn't be a phone bank, could it?

Charlotte Usher discovers that the afterlife isn't quite what she pictured when she's forced to intern at a hotline for troubled teens. Before she can officially cross over, she'll have to be a source of guidance for one such teen. The problem is she doesn't have much advice to offer since dying hasn't exactly boosted her confidence level.

But when Hawthorne High's leading, love-to-hate cheerleader Petula and her gothic little sis' Scarlet find themselves suddenly resting-in-peace in comas, Charlotte's opportunity to save them will prove to be the risk of a lifetime-for all of them.

Praise for ghostgirl:

* Polished dark-and-deadpan humor, it's a natural fit with Gen Y, too." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

* "[Tonya] beats out witty teen-speak like a punk-band drummer, keeping the narrative fast-paced and fun yet thought-provokingly heartwarming. Goofy, ghastly, intelligent, electrifying." —Kirkus (starred review)

*"Tim Burton and Edgar Allan Poe devotees will die for this fantastic, phantasmal read." —School Library Journal (starred review)

* "Readers with a taste for black humor and satire will feast on Hurley's crisp, wise dialogue. Anticipate a well deserved cult following." —VOYA (starred review)

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  • Teens Video/TonyaHurley_BB_d75f94cc1d587df315b9b425e39683acfdad7dcc
    Teens Video/TonyaHurley_BB_d75f94cc1d587df315b9b425e39683acfdad7dcc  

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Lauri Vaughan
Before recently departed Charlotte Usher, aka Ghostgirl, can fully realize her afterlife, she needs to turn a good deed for the living. Opportunity arises when Petula, everyone's fiercest competition for being noticed at Hawthorne High, falls into a coma as a result of a pedicure-induced staph infection. Petula's younger sister Scarlet—who is also Charlotte's connection to the living world—strives to save her sister despite her disgust for Petula's superficial beauty. Nothing is as easy as it seems, however, and both Charlotte and Scarlet need to negotiate the various dynamics of their relationships to achieve their goals. For Charlotte, it means figuring out her loyalties to new girlfriends in her post-life existence. Scarlet's case largely hangs on testing the strength of her relationship with Hawthorne High alum, heartthrob Damen, who threw off Petula for Scarlet before leaving for college and is now back in time for homecoming. Hurley's premise is promising, but its execution falls short of the success of her first, Ghostgirl: Rest in Popularity (Little, Brown, 2008/VOYA August 2008), in which Charlotte suffers her demise after downing a Gummi bear. Unfortunately her revisit of Charlotte, Scarlet, Petula, and a cast of supporting characters—some living, others not—lacks the absurdity of its predecessor. The vicious posturing in the living and dead social hierarchies is just that—vicious and not particularly funny. Fans of Ghostgirl will want to get their hands on this follow-up, but they are also likely to be disappointed. Reviewer: Lauri Vaughan
VOYA - Denzil Sikka
Homecoming continues the story of the dead Charlotte Usher and many Hawthorne High students in a relatively enjoyable read. Yet the plot, style, and humor in this next installment do not fully meet the expectations left in the aftermath of Ghostgirl, and readers will be left wanting more. One can only hope that a third book will revive the innovative style of Hurley seen in the first novel. Reviewer: Denzil Sikka, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature - Laura J. Brown
Being popular in high school is extremely important to many teenagers. It can be really hard not to fit in, and it is even worse to be totally ignored. One such student was Charlotte Usher. She was not cool, popular, or even noticed. More than anything, she wanted to be noticed (and loved) by her heart's desire, Damen Dylan, Hawthorne's High hottest dude and captain of the football team. Charlotte was tired of feeling invisible and was dying just to fit in when she accidently choked to death on a gummy bear. Now that she is dead, Charlotte truly is invisible to the living. Death is not exactly what she was expecting, and she finds herself working at a hotline to help troubled teens. The problem is that no one ever calls her. She does not seem to fit in any better in death than she did when she was alive! Just when she is about to give up hope of ever being who she desires to be, she meets a fellow dead teen who notices her. They become friends, and then Charlotte's only true friend in the living world reaches out to her for her help. Can Charlotte overcome her self-doubts and be the person in death that she was not in life? Read this humorous book of life, death and self-discovery to find out. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—In Ghostgirl (Little, Brown, 2008), Charlotte choked on a gummy bear and died, and, in this latest installment, she is still struggling in her unlife. After Dead Ed, she moves on to answer phones for a hotline for troubled teens, hardly her idea of Heaven. However, the appearance of a new friend helps to soothe her hurting heart. Maddy seems to understand Charlotte and when all of Charlotte's Dead Ed friends abandon her to take on their new "lives," Charlotte and Maddy bond. There is something more than meets the eye about Maddy, though. Meanwhile, Petula has gone into a coma due to a staph infection caused by a bad pedicure. In her quest to get her sister back, Scarlett has also entered a comatose state. Will Charlotte be able to guide the girls back home while managing the events in her own life? With its equal blend of humor and heartbreak, Hurley's novel is sure to find an audience. Make sure you have the first volume on hand. Readers will definitely want both for the full picture.—Emily Garrett Cassady, North Garland High School, Garland, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Undead underdog Charlotte Usher is resurrected in this sloppy, piecemeal follow-up to 2008's sleeper hit GhostGirl. Petula, the vapid, snotty, uber-it-girl sister of her best friend in the world of the living, Scarlet, goes into a coma after a pedicure goes dangerously awry. Using tricks she and Charlotte discovered in book one, Scarlet self-induces a coma and enters the world of the dead to bring back her sister's soul. Jealousy, guy drama, back-stabbing and bitchery all run amok, especially in the guise of Maddy, Charlotte's new frenemy from the world of the dead. As in the first installment, Hurley knows how teen girls talk and scores big on smart, snarky jabs and stabs that are sure to make their way onto the tongues of her readers. Her plotting, however, feels flimsily sewn and reads more like a series of brief episodes strung together than a fully fleshed novel. Despite these faults, there are moments of genuine, laugh-out-loud humor that should keep fans dying to read more about Charlotte, Scarlet and their ghostly entourage. (Fantasy. YA)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Charlotte Usher, who died after choking on a gummi bear in Ghostgirl (2008; Recorded Books, 2009) and her friends have crossed over and graduated from Dead Ed, but the next step in the afterlife isn't all they hoped for. The former students are assigned to a phone bank hotline where they act as the little voice in the heads of the living. All of Charlotte's classmates are reunited with dead relatives, idols, or mentors, but Charlotte isn't reconnected with anyone. She is befriended by Maddy, the new girl who is trying just a little too hard to separate Charlotte from her former pals and may have something devious up her sleeve. Adding to the mix is Scarlett who, desperate to bring her comatose sister Petula back from the brink of death caused by a pedicure gone horribly wrong, enters the ghost world, thereby putting herself in real danger. The characters in Tonya Hurley's novel (2009, both Little, Brown) are perfectly voiced by Parker Posey who has mastered the unmistakably flat and bored tone of a self-absorbed teenager. Music and quotes begin each chapter and set the tone for the story. Make sure to have the first volume on hand so listeners get the full story. Fans will be laughing out loud.—Genevieve Gallagher, Charlottesville High School, Charlottesville, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316113595
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2009
  • Series: ghostgirl Series
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 693,816
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Tonya Hurley

New York Times bestselling ghostgirl author, Tonya Hurley, has credits spanning all platforms of teen entertainment including: creating, writing and producing two hit TV series, writing and directing several acclaimed independent films, developing a ground-breaking collection of video games and board games and creating and providing content for award-winning websites. Ms. Hurley lives in New York with her husband and daughter. Her Web site is www.ghostgirl.com.

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Read an Excerpt

ghostgirl: Homecoming


By Hurley, Tonya

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2010 Hurley, Tonya
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316089432

Chapter 1

The Slender Thread


Answered prayers cause more tears

than those that remain unanswered.

—Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada


If you expect nothing, you can never be disappointed.

Apart from a few starry-eyed poets or monks living on a mountaintop somewhere, however, we all have expectations. We not only have them, we need them. They fuel our dreams, our hopes, and our lives like some super-caffeinated energy drink. Charlotte was done living, but she wasn’t done dreaming—although she definitely felt like her dreams had been put on eterna-hold.


Dying of boredom wasn’t an option. Charlotte Usher was already dead. She drummed her spindly fingers impassively on her desk, then slid the three-wheeled office chair she was sitting on to one side of her cubicle and then the other, craning her neck in hopes of getting a slightly better view down the hallway.

“I have no life,” Charlotte grumbled, just loud enough for Pam and Prue, seated in cubicles nearby, to hear.

“Right. None of us do,” Prue crowed. “Now shut it, I’m on the phone.”

“Like you should be,” Pam chimed in, using her hand instead of the mute button to silence the receiver and keep her “client” from hearing her talk.

As Pam and Prue chatted busily away, Charlotte stared down resentfully at her own phone. Each phone, like the cubicles, was identical. They were bloodred, with a single flashing light in the center. No dial pad, no way to call out. They just received.

In fact, she didn’t know it was a flashing light from firsthand experience because, so far, it had never rung. It’s not even as if she were down the hall and missed a call or something. It had never rung. Not once since she’d been here, which felt like a long time.

“Maybe something is wrong with the connection,” Charlotte moaned, pretty much summing up not just her lack of phone time but her lack of enthusiasm as well. She spread her arms out on the desk and lay her head in them, like a pale, fragile egg in a curly nest.

“Watched nails never dry,” CoCo whispered sympathetically, seeing Charlotte staring at her phone as she gamboled by her cubicle.

Sitting there day after day incommunicado was terribly frustrating and more than a little embarrassing for Charlotte. Everyone else’s phone was ringing off the hook! After all, wasn’t she the reason why all her classmates, now fellow interns, were there in the first place? Heck, even the new girl, Matilda Miner, who sat directly opposite Charlotte at work, was clucking away, fielding hundreds more calls than she was.

“I know, it sucks, right?” Maddy said, peeking her frizzy head over the divider separating them. “It sucks that no one is calling you.”

Charlotte nodded halfheartedly and just as she began to spill her guts, Maddy’s phone rang. Again.

“Oh, sorry,” Maddy interrupted, stating what was all-too-obvious to Charlotte. “I can’t talk now. I’ve got to get that. We can talk later, okay?”

“Sure,” Charlotte said resignedly, leaning her head back down, this time twisting her eyes upward at the video camera pointed directly at her. Monitoring her? Mocking her was probably more like it.

Nevertheless, she tried to keep a stiff upper lip, like some put-upon British teenage royal in a welcoming line. If there was one thing she’d learned, it was that her conduct mattered—especially if someone was watching. She looked back down, squinting from the glare of the white walls and the incandescent office ceiling lights above and greeted her solitude with the grace and dignity befitting an intern of her pedigree. She straightened up, crossed her legs at the ankle, folded her bony fingers on her lap, pursed her lips into a tight little smile, and continued to… wait.

Charlotte started reflecting—something she’d been doing a lot of lately.

Choking on that gummy bear and dying in class had changed everything, but it wasn’t all bad. She’d experienced a lot more personal growth in death than she ever had in her life. She learned the value of teamwork, selflessness and sacrifice through her Dead Ed classmates and of course their supportive and sympathic teacher Mr. Brain. She’d even gotten to go to Fall Ball with Damen, the guy of her dreams. Kind of, at least. Most importantly, she’d found a best friend and soul mate, Scarlet Kensington, a connection that she’d been craving her whole life. She crossed over satisfied, filled with hope and expectation. But now, her future, which had been looking so bright there for a minute, felt more and more like a dead end. Life on the Other Side definitely wasn’t what Charlotte hoped for. Instead of paradise, it was more like the day after Christmas. Every day. She started to go down a list of what was “supposed” to happen but hadn’t. No pearly gates. No harps. Just more work to do.

When they’d first arrived here, she recalled, the Dead Ed kids were kept in an empty monochrome holding room, kind of like a jail cell without the bars. It was imposing and had none of the questionable charm of even the intake office at Hawthorne High. One by one, her classmates were called and led through a nondescript steel doorway. As in life, Charlotte was dead last.

“Usher,” Mr. Markov, a man wearing horn-rimmed glasses and a sensible suit, had finally called. “Usher, Charlotte.”

“Present!” she replied, happy that someone finally called her name, and had bothered to get it right.

“Oh, goodie,” he snapped curtly, tamping down Charlotte’s momentary good mood considerably. “We’ve been having some technical difficulty with the lines and we wanted to make sure everything was in working order so that you could start right away.”

“Start? Start what?”

Charlotte was done with starts, she was ready to stop. Stop learning, working, wanting. All of that. The man didn’t answer her as he led Charlotte into the other space: a room filled with uniform rectangular cubicles and phones. She stood staring for a second, at what, exactly, she had yet to determine. It was as if the place and everyone in it was at the tail end of something that used to be alive, but was now stagnant and stuffed, almost museum-like. There was so little to notice. It was all so… dull.

“Does God run a home shopping channel?” she joked nervously.

She then looked around the room and some minor details began to reveal themselves. There was a desk and phone for everyone in her class, with one empty place left over. Everyone from Dead Ed was already seated, and she was glad they had made it there together, wherever “there” was.

Markov began his lecture. It was another orientation speech, but not nearly as open and interactive as Mr. Brain’s was when they started Dead Ed. There was more drill sergeant than guru in this guy.

“Everything you’ve learned,” Markov announced, “has gotten you here.”

From the tone of his voice, they weren’t sure if they should be proud or not.

“But here is not there. Now is not then,” he said.

“What’s this about?” Charlotte asked Pam quietly.

“Seems we graduated, but now we’ve got internships,” Pam whispered from her cubicle.

“This is where you’ll prove yourself, where you’ll put your education into practice,” Mr. Markov continued.

“This is BS,” Prue snipped.

“No, it’s a hotline,” he said.

“A hotline? To where? For what?” Charlotte asked incredulously.

“It’s for troubled teens.”

“Can you be a little more specific, sir,” Charlotte prodded in her most cadet-friendly tone. “In case you haven’t figured it out, all teens are pretty much troubled.”

Mr. Markov was an impatient sort who did not easily tolerate sarcasm from his charges, but he could see the confusion on all the interns’ faces and felt obliged to elaborate.

“Have you ever had an argument with yourself?” he asked.

“All the time,” Suzy Scratcher said as she reflected.

“You mean inside your own head?” Pam answered, grasping the concept ahead of the others.

“Exactly,” said Mr. Markov. “You will be the voice inside someone else’s head. When they are afraid or confused or lonely or perhaps contemplating something unthinkable, your phone will ring.”

“Like a celebrity’s sobriety coach or something?” CoCo perked up, her previous addiction to tabloids rearing its ugly head once again.

“It will be your chance to be helpful, to do good and pass along to others what you have learned,” Mr. Markov added.

“It will be so cool to talk to living people again!” Charlotte shouted, seeming to miss the point a little.

“You won’t actually be talking to them in that way, Usher,” he corrected her. “You will be more like…”

“Their conscience,” Charlotte interrupted, showing she understood better than she’d let on at first.

“Yes, that’s right,” Mr. Markov said.

“Be kind, rewind,” Metal Mike piped in with a sample of his childish “inner voice.”

Instead of disciplining Mike for his sarcastic sloganeering, Markov used his comment as an opportunity to explain further. He walked over to Mike’s phone, picked it up for effect, and continued.

“Everybody needs help at one time or another,” Markov said.

“Some more than others,” CoCo jibed arrogantly, scanning the room.

“But,” Markov continued, showing a surprisingly subtle wit, “helping is not just a calling, it’s a skill. Something learned.”

Charlotte was skeptical. Her own life experience provided plenty of evidence that sympathy, empathy for others, was either something you had or didn’t. Most people didn’t.

“Someone can have the best intentions,” Markov said, “but offering the wrong advice, the wrong help at the wrong time, can be worse than not helping at all.”

“So we are here to perfect our craft,” Buzzsaw Bud interjected excitedly, the idea of becoming a skilled craftsman appealing to him greatly.

Markov nodded his approval.

“And once we do, we can leave?” Charlotte asked impertinently.

Markov raised his brow as Pam gulped and shot Charlotte a worried look.

“There’s nothing keeping you here,” Markov said tersely, the disapproval in his voice obvious to the whole class. “It’s your choice to stay or go at any time.”

It may have been her choice, but then she would also be making a choice for all those desperate callers who were sure to be reaching out to her. That’s what he really meant, she thought. He was questioning her own conscience, her own sense of responsibility. Markov didn’t need to say it; his cocked brow said it all. The idea of shouldering such a burden scared her.

Markov had made his point, to Charlotte and the whole class, for that matter. They had a job to do, and it was not to be taken lightly. Not one to belabor an issue, he changed the subject.

“Before we begin, there is a bit of business we need to take care of,” Markov continued. “A graduation present.”

A door opened and a group of people flooded the room. Charlotte was confused. Everyone’s eyes lit up with the joy of recognition. Pam, speechless, got up and ran into the arms of a kind-looking man.

“Pam?” Charlotte called after her.

“This is Mr. Paroda, my second-grade music teacher. He taught me the piccolo!”

Next, Silent Violet, no longer silent, ran screaming toward an elderly lady.

“Grandma!” Violet exclaimed as she embraced the older, silver-haired woman.

“We need to talk,” the woman said as she led Violet to a corner, where they huddled close and gabbed away.

After everyone filed into the room, a glorious, elegant figure appeared, only this one had a pink fitted aura.

“Darling,” the impeccably dressed woman said.

“Ms. Chanel, this has always been my dream,” CoCo muttered, swooning, as she reached out for her idol. “I’ve always wanted to make something of my life, just like you did.”

“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone,” Coco Chanel said. “That’s one of my favorite quotes.”

“It’s an awesome, brilliant quote,” CoCo said. “Who said it?”

“I did, darling,” Chanel replied in all her timeless fabulousness.

Everyone in the room was paired up with long-deceased relatives, mentors, and even pets. Charlotte was moved by the touching reunions, and looked around, curious to see who was there for her. She wondered about her parents, which was the first time in a long while. Would they traipse through the door, much like they should have fifteen years ago? All she was really told about them was that they had gone out on their anniversary and never made it home.

She was only two when they died, so she probably wouldn’t recognize them even if they were standing right in front of her. She reverted to an old habit and started to examine everyone’s noses to see if any of them resembled hers. She remembered when her classmates’ moms would come to pick them up, the teacher would say, “she has your nose,” so that is what Charlotte always looked for. Her whole life she wanted someone to have her nose. But looking around now, she couldn’t find a match anywhere in the crowd.

“All right, settle down, everybody,” Markov interrupted, pulling out what looked like an architectural rendering of a compound. “This will help you get your bearings.”

It was a simple, circular layout and included a half-moon-shaped block of what looked like attached condos along the perimeter, each one assigned with a name tag to an intern. Charlotte was too distracted to look for her own name in the group of domiciles, but she needn’t have bothered, as she would learn shortly, because it wasn’t there.

A distance away from the rowhouses was the office building they were in and a larger apartment complex directly across from it. Charlotte tried to gauge how far by working out the map scale, the whole “one inch equals x many feet” sort of thing keeping her mind occupied while everyone else was busy smiling. Old habits, and defense mechanisms, die hard.

“Okay, everyone with assigned living quarters can head home for the afternoon,” Markov advised to cheers from the reunited interns.

Charlotte still hadn’t worked the distance out exactly, but there definitely was a long way between the “living” quarters—the description of which Charlotte found somewhat ironic—and the rest of the compound. Oddly, the whole thing looked to Charlotte like one huge happy face, the condos forming a big smile and the apartment tower and office building the vacant, dilated, nondescript eyes—like hers.

“The rest of you will find a room at the dormitory across the courtyard,” Markov said plainly.

What rest of you, Charlotte thought? There was no one else left. He meant her.

“Enjoy your time together catching up,” Markov said pleasantly as he dismissed the interns. “And… have a nice day.”

“Nice, indeed,” Charlotte groaned at Markov’s closing line, feeling her happy face observation had been confirmed. “And the laugh’s on me.”

Everyone filed out with their significant others. Long lost souls, connected once again. The only thing Charlotte seemed to be reunited with was the old feeling of being alone. Unclaimed. It was like death by a thousand paper cuts as each coupling made their way past her. She wasn’t even sure whom she wanted to meet again on the other side. Still, she always took it for granted that there would be someone.

“We’re all alone in death… and some of us after,” she sighed, feeling sorry for herself. As the crowd departed and the office door closed, Charlotte looked up and saw someone she hadn’t noticed before, another girl sitting across the room looking at her.

The girl was definitely put together from head to toe. Her dark frizzy mane pulled up high, with not a strand out of place, accented her sharp features and full lips. Her long geometric-print frock was studiously worn and faded to make it look like she didn’t care, but Charlotte knew better. There was nothing casual at all about the outfit, or the girl, at first or even second glance. She seemed to be all business, except for the flirty smile she flashed in Charlotte’s direction.

“Hey,” the girl called out enthusiastically, before Charlotte could actually get out the words to ask what she was doing there. “I’m Matilda. You can call me Maddy.”

“Nice to meet you… Maddy,” Charlotte said, both appreciative and a touch disconcerted by Maddy’s warmth. They were total strangers after all.

“I guess we’re roomies,” Maddy chirped cheerfully.

“Oh, ah, I’m not sure… I’ve got to talk to Pam and Prue before…”

“I just assumed…” Maddy’s voice trailed off. “Since we were the only ones left…”

Charlotte knew that look on her face. How it felt to reach out and be, well, rejected.

“Did any of your ‘friends’ offer to take you along to meet their loved ones?”

“No… but…” Charlotte started in an attempt to make excuses for her friends, but stopped herself. It was obvious she was, at least for the moment, forgotten. “You know, we’re all here because of me,” Charlotte said, unable to resist the urge to puff herself up in front of a new girl. “All except for you, I mean.”

“That’s really impressive,” Maddy said offhandedly. “How soon they forget, huh?”

“Yeah,” Charlotte said quietly.

“Not much point in sticking around here, then. Want to go home?”

Charlotte balked for a minute, still a little dazed and slightly demoralized by it all, but then came around.

“Sounds tempting. Let’s go.”

Maddy smiled back invitingly as they left the office and started across the courtyard toward the enormous, circular, sky-scraping apartment tower that would serve as their dorm for, well, however long they were stuck there.

“This is… home?” Charlotte asked Maddy unconvincingly as she eyed the building.

It was impressive in height but impersonal, just like the phone bank. Part obelisk, part Space Needle, perfectly suited to the strange military-type compound. Timeless and Spartan. She and Maddy walked in, stopped at the front desk, and said hello to the doorman. He looked back at them impassively, handed them keys to an apartment on the seventeenth floor, and pointed them in the direction of the elevators. Small talk, apparently, was not part of his job description.

“Seventeen?” Charlotte muttered aloud. “That’s random.”

“You better get used to it.” Maddy shrugged matter-of-factly as they walked.

There was a crowd at the elevator, so Charlotte stopped talking. They pressed “up” and waited along with a bunch of unruly kids and a really sweet young couple—high school sweethearts, maybe—for the elevator to descend. The bell sounded, doors opened, and they all got on. The elevator started “up,” slowly.

“Why should I get used to it?”

“Think about it,” Maddy said. “How old are you?”

“Seventeen,” Charlotte answered, still a little oblivious.

“Me too. We’re seventeen and… always will be.”

Just as it began to sink in for Charlotte, the elevator stopped at the sixth floor and a few of the kids got off. Then at the seventh and eighth, a few more exited at each level. Her heart sank as the elevator rose.

Charlotte tried to see a positive side, but couldn’t. She always looked forward to getting older as the payoff for a childhood of insecurity and loneliness. Now, there was nowhere for her future self to live, no need for a future self to exist at all, in fact, even in her mind. And that girl, that future incarnation of herself, more than anyone else, was the hardest person to say goodbye to. Charlotte watched the last of the children exit on the twelfth floor, and felt a little less sorry for herself. But only a little.

The elevator doors opened to a circular hallway carpeted with a musty gray indoor/outdoor carpet. Charlotte imagined the smell of mildew, and even though she was dead, the thought of it made her itch a little. The girls made their way to their room and Maddy slowly opened the door and flicked on the light.

“What is this?” Charlotte snorted, surveying the dank accommodations.

The room was bare, industrial looking, and “issued” with cement floors and large windows, unfurnished except for a table, two folding chairs, and two beds, if you could call them that. They were bunks, actually, stainless steel bunks that were built into the wall. The plush bedding, stained-glass windows, and carved bedposts of Hawthorne Manor were just a fond memory now.

“As if anyone would ever want to steal these,” Charlotte said, tugging on the immobile bunk frames with all her might. Touching them made the circumstances much more real to her, and much more unpleasant.

“I don’t know,” Maddy said, a hint of optimism in her voice. “I kind of like it here. It’s… cool.”

“It’s cool, all right. Like ice.”

“Hey, at least we’ve got each other, right?” Maddy said, trying to get Charlotte to smile.

Charlotte could come to only one conclusion: whatever this was, it was not a stairway to heaven.



Continues...

Excerpted from ghostgirl: Homecoming by Hurley, Tonya Copyright © 2010 by Hurley, Tonya. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 235 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Breanna F. for TeensReadToo.com

    "Now I lay me down to sleep, <BR/>I pray the Lord my soul to keep. <BR/>And if I should die before I awake, <BR/>I pray the popular attend my wake." <BR/><BR/>This is the year for Charlotte Usher. The year that she's finally going to be noticed. She's finally going to have what she's always wanted: to be a popular girl and fit in with the head cheerleader in the school, Petula Kensington. She feels that the first day of school will be the start of her new life. She'll finally have the attention of the most popular guy in school, Damen. Who is, of course, Petula's boyfriend. <BR/><BR/>In a way she does start a new life. Although it's actually her afterlife. Poor Charlotte chokes on a red gummy bear just before she leaves her first period physics class and dies. Her hopes of starting over fresh and finally being noticed for once are all crushed in an instant. Especially when she finds out that she still has to graduate even though she's dead! There's a whole class of students from her school who have died and are still attending classes there. <BR/><BR/>Charlotte isn't giving up, though. She's still determined to win over Damen. And with the help of Scarlet Kensington (Petula's younger sister) she's sure she'll be able to do it. Scarlet can actually see Charlotte and Charlotte isn't about to let that fact go to waste. She figures she can hang out in Scarlet's body and get through to Damen that way. But her new dead classmates aren't liking Charlotte's plans too much and are making it incredibly hard for her to get anything done. Plus, the more time Scarlet spends time with Damen (when Charlotte isn't in her body, that is) the more Scarlet is starting to like Damen herself. <BR/><BR/>Charlotte is determined to be noticed. She thinks that if she can just get noticed and be popular that she'll finally move on. But is popularity really what Charlotte needs? Or is it just finally realizing that you don't have to be the center of attention to matter? <BR/><BR/>This book was great. I couldn't really guess what would happen throughout the book, which I always like. Poor Charlotte has such a rough time! Especially in the beginning of her afterlife. But she pulls through and even learns a valuable lesson along the way. I loved Scarlet's character. The way she acts towards her sister is hilarious. They are total opposites in every way. I loved all the nicknames the other dead students have, too. And I thought the ending was cute. It might not have been totally realistic, but then again this book wasn't really all that realistic in the first place. So I thought the ending fit pretty perfectly. I highly suggest checking this book out.

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    overall good read

    At first it bored me.
    It was interesting yes.
    But at the end it became phenomenal and unforgetable.
    I loved the pieces before every chapter.

    Worth reading=)

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2009

    THIS BOOK ROCKS!

    My librarian recommended this book to me a couple of weeks ago and I read it non stop! I identified as I think most teens do, with the characters and the desperation they all feel at times. I just ordered my own copy! This season's MUST have!!!!!!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    BEST BOOK EVER

    definitely gotta be smart to pick up on ironies in this book. i love that she chokes on a gummy bear, but the reason why she does is profound. this author is awesome and obviously very intelligent. i agree she's like gorey for girls. this book is smart,heart-warming with some pee-in-your-pants moments and lines. READ THIS BOOK.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2009

    Homecoming stands on its own!

    I was at NYCC last week and got a copy of the ARC for this book, Ghostgirl - Homecoming. I hadn't realized it was the second in a series but I read it anyway (now I have to go back and read the first one!)...it was FANTASTIC.

    I won't say anything here as to not spoil the book for people but I was really blown away. I just finished reading it (in tears) about 2 minutes ago and knew I just had to write a quick post to say that it was amazing.

    It was a pleasure reading this and I can't wait to go back and read the first book!
    Jen from Brooklyn

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A very good book!!

    I purchased this book for my daguther; and she went through it like a hot knife through butter!! Which is a good sign that it was a excellent read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing

    I loved this book.It is very relatable to life in high school, but you learn self love and not to be a follower.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2009

    To the Negative Reviewer(s)...

    Even if you do not like this book, just keep reading. Read anything from instructions on how to change toilet paper, to microwave warranties. Please...read anything in the hopes that you will learn the English language and learn to S-P-E-L-L.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Ghostgirl is the new Twilight!

    I just read the ARC of this book and can't wait until it's out July 1. It just proves that ghostgirl is the new twilight. Let the games begin!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    CANT WAIT!

    I cant wait for this to come out! The first book (ghostgirl) was a really great book, so probobley this is going to be better! Tonya Hurley should make a third one after she finishes this one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2009

    GOREY FOR GIRLS!!!

    GENIUS!!! i loved the first book and I can't wait for this one!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2009

    Best book this year!

    This book was such a pleasant surprise for me. I got it because of new york public library's 100 best list. It was not only the best dark romantic comedy I've read for girls, but it was also a much deeper book than I thought. I can't wait to read Homecoming! I hope this is a movie soon because it would be killer.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2009

    GET THIS BOOK

    this book is killer. i am in college and i love to read. i didn't know what to expect when i picked this book up. i bet a lot of the references and stuff go over some people's heads and the ones who don't get it, don't get it, but it is awesome! i read it all in one sitting and i have it displayed in my dorm room. it's the coolest book i've ever read and i never read a book that made me laugh the way this one did and cry, too. this author really gets it. and for the readers who don't get it, the joke is on you. i am so happy that there are smart books out there for girls instead of fluffy no brain romance trash.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2009

    You won't BELIEVE this BOOK!

    I had no idea what I was getting in to when I picked up this book. The cover is awesome. I read the reviews in all the lit publications online and it got all starred reviews. I thought it might be 'too much' but man, i was wrong. It is heart-warming, cool, and edgy and HYSTERICAL. I loved all the name checks of cool bands and writers. I can Not wait until the next book HOMECOMING. this is the book i've always dreamed of finding. I could not put it down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    wow...

    i think there is only one word that can describe this book........TERRIBLE!! <BR/>This book was a GAINT was of my time, i only read about a third of it and i was forceing my self to stop. which i did. let me just say this: DONT BOTHER READING THIS BOOK ITS POINTLESS, AND BORING AND JUST PLAIN STUPID!!

    2 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    Wonderful

    I thought this book was very close to a teen who had similar feelings. It had moments were you felt sorry for Charlotte and moments were you wanted to slap her. I wish it would tell us more about some of the other ghost teens or let them participate in Charlottes goal for life. The ending I thought was akward and confusing, but it was still great. I recommend this book to anyone with an imagination.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2010

    good ending..until i found out it was a series

    this book was truly...boring and completly ridiculous. the beginning and middle were extremly hard to get through and i am schocked of all the amazing reviews this horriblw book has gotten. the only good part in the book is when Charlotte, the main charecter, goes into the light to pass to the other side leaving the reader unsure about where she went. but then after reading the first one you soon realize that there is a second and third book which leaves the "ok" ending stupid and annoying. DO NOT READ THIS!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Warning: cheesy ending.

    Popularity, the handsome Damen, and a friend is all Charlotte wanted. The new school year would bring all these things closer to Charlotte, she knew it, if only she changed herself a tad bit. But the first day of junior year, things don't go as planned. After a deadly incident involving a gummy bear, Charlotte finds herself on the Other Side of the school. She is able to be on the outside looking in, without the Living Kids seeing her staring with eager eyes: something she always felt but finally came true. It isn't exactly a dream though because now Damen can't fall in love with her! Then Charlotte finds out she is still in high school but having to learn from a dead teacher about Deadiquette, though her hope to become popular is still shining. But when Charlotte discovers that one of the Living Kids can see her, her hope only shines brighter .

    ghostgirl was enjoyable after the first 30 pages. The beginning was dull but when I met the Dead Kids, everything was becoming 'fun'. Though the dialogue was predictable, I couldn't get enough of it! I'm not a fan of the narration (third person but completely descriptive) and the death references took up a lot of space. Things like "dying to be popular" and "he doesn't even know I'm alive" were funny the first time, but they soon became overused.

    Charlotte was selfish and only cared about herself (she even admitted to it) but this is the story of how hard she tried to overcome that. Her logic was interesting and her decisions made the storyline twist and turn with every chapter. The Dead Kids added so much to the story that I can't imagine it without them. They each explained their Life and their Death which was utterly fascinating. Author Tonya Hurley's voice is fun and distinctive but I'd like to see how she would use it in a different book.

    RECOMMENDED

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    ReTaRtEd

    This was a stupid stupid book. Anyone that comes across this book and thinks it looks good because of the cover... well your wrong. This book is retarted. lol

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    WHAT A BOOK!

    I SIMPLY LOVED THIS BOOK THE THRILLING EMOTION AND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CHARACTER AND ONE'S SELF CAN ONLY BE DESCRIBED AS... ASTONISHING. I LOVED IT! I WAS ALMOST LIKE A MINI-VERSION OF THE TWILIGHT SERIES.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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