Summary: Sixteen year-old Cass sees dead people. In fact, after she becomes a social outcast, she begins to prefer ghosts to the breathers who were formerly her friends. Being friends with ghosts has its advantages though, as they are willing to spy on the living and report back to her the deep, dark secrets of her classmates. As a result Cass becomes feared in the halls of her high school, as her approach usually means the revelation of something no one wants to talk about. When a classmate named Tim figures out Cass is getting her information from ghosts, he seeks her help in finding her dead mother, and she accepts, but only on a quid pro quo arrangement. Soon though, Cass’ defenses come down and she finds herself making friends with a breather again. And as he descends into grief, Cass might just be the only one who can help him.
Number of Pages: 241
Age Range: 13-14
Review: Cass is a paranormal version of Veronica Mars. The scorned teenager ejected from the popular crowd when her best friend gets jealous of her, and Cass uses the secrets given to her by her ghost friends to exact her revenge. No one can figure out how she’s finding and airing all of her classmates’ dirty laundry, and doing so just reinforces her outsider and loser status.
It was soon after Cass initially loses all of her friends that her older sister, Paige, drowns. Except while Cass thinks Paige has returned home from her high school prom and sees her crying in her room, Cass’ parents tell her there has been an accident and Paige is dead. Even though Cass and Paige aren’t particularly close at the time of Paige’s death, Paige’s spirit stays with Cass and Cass begins to see other spirits as well.
When Tim’s mother seems to ascend to the next plane of existence once she knows her son is going to be taken care of by Cass, I wanted to know more. Cass doesn’t know why the ghosts she sees and talks to are stuck on Earth, but when it came to her sister Paige, I think her unfinished business was Cass. In the face of being an outcast, Cass needed her sister more than ever, and on some level, Paige knew it. I wonder if Paige will ascend when Cass no longer relies on ghosts for friendship, or whether there actually was something else keeping her there.
Either way, Cass’ relationship with Paige was my favourite part of Give Up the Ghost. Cass’ reaction to her older sister’s death is eased by the fact that she still sees and talks to her everyday. In a way, Cass never lost her, but instead got back the sister of her youth who was devoted to her. I’m not sure how Cass will react when it ends, but I hope by that time Cass will be able to let Paige go.
Crewe’s book details Cass’ journey back to human connection again after being hurt and the death of her sister. Although it deals with death and grief, it’s a book for younger teen readers with a relatively happy ending.
“Remembering that, I felt a jab of annoyance at Tim. Why should he get handed to him what everyone else had to do without? Death was supposed to be difficult. Life was supposed to be difficult. It’d figured if even death bent over for this guy.” – Cass from Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe, page 65
“I hate it, I almost said. I hate that you can’t all just own up to what you’ve done. I hate that if I don’t do something about it, no one will. At that moment, I even hated the pain on her face. I hated that Paul had thought it better to fool around on her instead of just breaking up. I hated that I had been the one to tell her. It was all a sickening lurch in my stomach and a hollow ache in my chest.” – Cass from Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe, page 134