**** (4 stars)
“I Kissed a Ghost” is a novel of first love combined with a ghost story. It’s positioned as YA, but it reads more for a younger audience, I’d say 4th-8th grade. Mary and her friends are just discovering that boys aren’t quite as icky as they thought, and that kissing one might be fun. But soon after Mary’s first tentative experience with having a boyfriend, her family moves and she’s afraid she’ll never find another boy like the one she left behind. Or will she?
There’s a ghost living in her family’s new house, and Mary soon finds herself living two lives – partly her modern-day life and partly the life of a girl in the early 20th century. She also struggles to find friends at her new school, and when she does they refuse to come to her house to play because, they say, the house is haunted. They think they’re only teasing her; little do they know!
The style seems a little distant and formal; a lot of the story is told in narrative summary, where showing more of it through action would give it a more immediate feel and livelier pace. Also, although an editor is credited, the book could use a really thorough editing pass to correct misplaced words, incorrect tenses, and a few punctuation problems.
Overall, “I Kissed a Ghost” is a tender and sweet story about a girl beginning to make the emotional adjustment from childhood to adolescence and about her ghost’s surprisingly poignant mystery.