The Barnes & Noble Review
Bestselling author Meg Cabot (also known as Jenny Carroll) continues her Mediator series with this fifth compelling book -- a fabulous stand-alone novel, too -- about a girl who can speak to the dead.
Suze Simon is a popular high school girl with plenty of boy troubles. The thing is, Suze's beyond ordinary, and her boy troubles are supernaturally strange: The guy she likes happens to be dead, another boy at school has previously tried to kill her and himself, and she has a new homicidal spirit to contend with! Needless to say, Suze's life is confusing and chaotic, especially now, when the dangerous (and hot) Paul Slater is trying to convince her that her mediator's skills are greater than she knows. With the studly Jesse (a ghost) always there to keep her head on straight and her heart fluttering, Suze has no trouble steering clear of Paul, but when the heartthrob turns the charm up to romantic levels, she begins to wonder if he's really the monster she thought he was.
Blending otherworldly elements into a lively romance style all her own, Cabot serves up another Mediator entry that will leave fans swooning. The tension between Suze and Paul is thick enough to cut with a knife, while plenty of unexpected surprises will keep you glued to the page from one chapter to the next. The author has proven herself to be a master girl-meets-boy storyteller, and with Haunted keeping up the Mediator's dive into the other side, Cabot's popularity is sure to remain alive and kicking. Shana Taylor
What happens when a death comes leaving a life incomplete? Leaving tasks unfinished, relationships unfulfilled, questions unanswered? Who will-who can-help the soul out of Limbo to the final place waiting for it? Why, a Mediator, of course. A Mediator can be of any age, sex, or race. No one applies for the job, and no one who has it knows why he or she was chosen for it. What is worse, at least for the Mediators, is that no one knows they exist. Even they themselves are surprised to have been chosen. There are no instruction books, and they sort of learn the ropes "on the job." One of the oddest things they need to get accustomed to is how to distinguish the dead from the living; no one else can see the dead, but quite often even the dead aren't aware of their altered state. That makes difficulties when a dead man finds his Mediator very attractive. Once the reader accepts the total weirdness of the story, the book is fast moving with interesting people, living and dead, and a fascinating premise. 2003, HarperCollins, Ages 12 up.
Suze Simon has a very different kind of boy trouble. Most teens lament that the object of their affection is not aware that they are alive, but Suze has a crush on Jesse, who has been dead for more than a century. Suze is a Mediator, a liaison between the living and dead who helps ghosts resolve their fates in the afterlife. She has fallen in love with the ghost of a young cowboy killed in her room long ago. Jesse seems confused about his feelings for Suze, which are further complicated by the unexpected return of another Mediator, Paul Slater. Paul's motives are unclear, and Suze finds herself both attracted to and terrified by him. A love-hate triangle soon develops, which endangers Suze and all of those around her. The fifth book in the Mediator series follows Shadowland (Pocket Books, 2000/VOYA December 2000), Ninth Key (2001), Reunion (2001), and Darkest Hour (2001), all written by Cabot under the pseudonym Jenny Carroll. This book has strong appeal for teen girls because of its mix of the romantic and supernatural. The plot is engaging, and readers do not need to have read the previous books to enjoy this one. Fans of the series, however, will revel in learning more about Suze, Jesse, and the other Mediators. Disney recently purchased the film rights to the series, with future projects likely to increase interest. This book is highly recommended as a popular choice for public as well as school libraries serving grade six and up. PLB
Sherrie Williams <%ISBN%>006029471X
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Suze Simon, a mediator who can see and communicate with the dead, begins her junior year of high school in Carmel, CA. On her first day, she runs into Paul Slater, another mediator who is the drop-dead-gorgeous new guy at school, and the subject of Suze's nightmares due to the fact that he tried to kill her over the summer. The protagonist has other things to contend with as well: her boyfriend happens to be a ghost who lives in her room because that was the site of his murder 150 years ago. He has been standoffish lately and Suze can't understand why. Also, her stepbrother brings a new friend home from college, and the friend's dead brother tags along. Suze has to help him to come to terms with being dead. This fifth installment in the series (the first four of which were published under the name Jenny Carroll, Cabot's pseudonym) is full of high school concerns (student elections, friends, cliques, homework) and family issues (stepsiblings, getting grounded) while also dealing with the supernatural and Suze's powers. Cabot successfully melds these strands into an interesting story with enough romance and suspense to keep readers turning the pages-and leaves enough unanswered questions for the next book. Fans of the series or of Cabot's other work will enjoy this title.-Kimberly L. Paone, Elizabeth Public Library, NJ Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Heroine Suze Simon copes with a homicidal ghost and juggles two love interests in the fifth installment of Cabot’s Mediator series, written under the name Jenny Carroll. Suze found out that she could see ghosts when she was six after her recently deceased father "came back for a little post-funeral chat." In fact, 16-year-old Suze is a mediator, a person who helps spirits trapped on Earth move along to the next phase of awareness. In this story, Craig, an angry ghost who was an incredible swimmer and sailor, is earthbound because he’s convinced that his sickly brother, who was with him when a storm capsized their catamaran, should have been the one to drown, not him. In fact, Craig is so angry that he’s now trying to kill his brother, a situation that Suze is desperately trying to prevent while figuring out how to get him into the great beyond. Concurrently, Suze has to contend with two potential romantic partners: Jesse, a morally upright hottie who was murdered 150 years ago, and Paul, a high-school student who is handsome, twisted, and very much alive. Despite the fact that Suze has severe reservations about Paul, she is tempted, especially since Jesse has all but ignored her since they kissed some weeks ago. Although Cabot’s heroine speaks in a voice that is funny, flippant, and pure teen, Suze’s repetitious obsessing gives the material a padded feel, and the perfunctory plot barely hangs together. (Fiction. 12+)
Read an Excerpt
The Mediator #5: Haunted
By Meg Cabot
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2006 Meg Cabot
All right reserved.
"Well, well, well," said a distinctly masculine voice from behind me. "If it isn't Susannah Simon."
Look, I won't lie to you. When a cute guy talks to me -- and you could tell from this guy's voice that he was easy on the eyes; it was in the self-confidence of those well, well, wells, the caressing way he said my name -- I pay attention. I can't help it. I'm a sixteen-year-old girl, after all. My life can't revolve entirely around Lilly Pulitzer's latest tankini print and whatever new innovations Bobbi Brown has made in the world of stay-put lip liner.
So I'll admit that, even though I have a boyfriend -- even if boyfriend is a little optimistic a term for him -- as I turned around to see the hottie who was addressing me, I gave my hair a little bit of a toss. Why shouldn't I? I mean, considering all the product I'd layered into it that morning, in honor of the first day of my junior year -- not to mention the marine fog that regularly turns my head into a frizzy mess -- my coiffure was looking exceptionally fine.
It wasn't until I'd given the old chestnut mane a flip that I turned around and saw that the cutie who'd said my name was not someone I'm too fond of.
In fact, you might say I have reason to be scared to death of him.
I guess he could read the fear in my eyes -- carefully done up that morning with a brand-new combinationof eye shadows called Mocha Mist -- because the grin that broke out across his good-looking face was slightly crooked at one end. "Suze," he said in a chiding tone. Even the fog couldn't dull the glossy highlights in his raffishly curly dark hair. His teeth were dazzlingly white against his tennis tan. "Here I am, nervous about being the new kid at school, and you don't even have a hello for me? What kind of way is that to treat an old pal?"
I continued to stare at him, perfectly incapable of speech. You can't talk, of course, when your mouth has gone as dry as . . . well, as the adobe brick building we were standing in front of.
What was he doing here? What was he doing here?
The thing of it was, I couldn't follow my first impulse and run screaming from him. People tend to talk when they see impeccably garbed girls such as me run screaming from seventeen-year-old studlies. I had managed to keep my unusual talent from my classmates for this long, I wasn't about to blow it now, even if I was -- and believe me, I was -- scared to death.
But if I couldn't run away screaming, I could certainly move huffily past him without a word, hoping he would not recognize the huffiness for what it really was -- sheer terror.
I don't know whether or not he sensed my fear. But he sure didn't like my pulling a prima donna on him. His hand flew out as I attempted to sweep past him, and the next thing I knew, his fingers were wrapped around my upper arm in a viselike grip.
I could, of course, have hauled off and slugged him. I hadn't been named Girl Most Likely to Dismember Someone back at my old school in Brooklyn for nothing, you know.
But I'd wanted to start this year off right -- in Mocha Mist and my new black Club Monaco capris (coupled with a pink silk sweater set I'd snagged for a song at the Benetton outlet up in Pacific Grove) -- not in a fight. And what would my friends and schoolmates think -- and, since they were milling all around us, tossing off the occasional "Hi, Suze," and complimenting me on my ever-so-spiffy ensemble, they were bound to notice -- if I began freakishly to pummel the new guy? And then there was the unavoidable fact that I was pretty convinced that, if I took a whack at him, he might try to whack me back.
Somehow I managed to find my voice. I only hoped he didn't notice how much it was shaking. "Let go of my arm," I said.
"Suze," he said. He was still smiling, but now he looked and sounded slyly knowing. "What's the matter? You don't look very happy to see me."
"Still not letting go of my arm," I reminded him. I could feel the chill from his fingers -- he seemed to be completely cold-blooded in addition to being preternaturally strong -- through my silk sleeve.
He dropped his hand.
"Look," he said, "I really am sorry. About the way things went down the last time you and I met, I mean."
The last time he and I met. Instantly I was transported in my mind's eye back to that long corridor -- the one I had seen so often in my dreams. Lined with doors on either side -- doors that opened into who-knew-what -- it had been like a hallway in a hotel or an office building . . . only this hallway hadn't existed in any hotel or office building known to man. It hadn't even existed in our current dimension.
And Paul had stood there, knowing Jesse and I had no idea how to find our way out of it, and laughed. Just laughed, like it was this big colossal joke that if I didn't return to my own universe soon, I'd die, while Jesse would have been trapped in that hallway forever. I could still hear Paul's laughter ringing in my ears. He had kept on laughing . . . right up until the moment Jesse had slammed a fist into his face.
I could hardly believe any of this was happening. Here it was, a perfectly normal September morning in Carmel, California -- which meant, of course, a thick layer of mist hung over everything but would soon burn off to reveal cloudless blue skies and a golden sun -- and I was standing there in the breezeway of the Junipero Serra Mission Academy, face-to-face with the person who'd been haunting my nightmares for weeks.
Excerpted from The Mediator #5: Haunted by Meg Cabot Copyright © 2006 by Meg Cabot. Excerpted by permission.
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