I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
A few months ago I reread all of the Princess Diaries series in anticipation of the adult installment that was released back in June. I decided to do the same thing with The Mediator series-which I actually prefer to Diaries. The seventh book will be released in February 2016. Between now and then, I’ll be reading one book of the series a month (well, reviewing, there will probably be a point in time where I’ll binge read the rest of the series because that’s just how I do things).
Original Reading Experience:
I actually first read this book after I read the fifth one. Long story short, the publication of this series was a little weird. So I only started picking them up after they were published under Meg Cabot’s name, and I thought Haunted was a standalone. I am glad to say it’s not though-a stand alone. However, when you first read this book after the fifth one things can feel a little disjointed.
It was enjoyable. I’ll admit that this book did feel a bit watered down to some YA books I’ve read. The prose seemed relatively simple to what I’ve been reading lately. And it’s short, not even three hundred pages. But it still worked.
As far as Meg Cabot books go, this one wasn’t terribly dated. Often when I reread her stuff-especially The Princess Diaries series-I cringe when I read some of the outdated pop culture references. Shadowland had a few, but not near as many as other books.
Some of the jokes are way stale though. And I really find Brad, the homophobe, offensive. Grant it, at the time of publication his offensiveness was more common than it is now. And at least Suze tells him off for it, but still Dopey is an ass.
Suze is still fantastic as she was all those years ago. I still want her life. Her boots. And most importantly Jesse. I really enjoy how the romance isn’t in your face in the first installment. It’s amusing how Suze is not head over heals in love with him.
Or the fact that Jesse doesn’t overwhelm the plot. That in itself is refreshing. And I love how Cabot just depicts him altogether. A lot of the time out of time heros come off as being a little stiff at best (at worst borderline offensive), but Jesse just works.
But what I found to be the most interesting thing upon reread is how short books can work. Too often in today’s YA world we’re dealt with omnibus tomes that can just go on and on forever. Doing something short and concise is no easy feat and Cabot does it.
As for the ghost: Oh, Heather. As far as ghosts go she’s one of least memorable ghosts in this series, but she does set a nice introduction to the art of mediation. She is a bit of a cliche though. But I can deal with that since it’s the first book.
Overall, a nice reread and fairly strong start to my favorite YA series.