Suze Simon is 15, has lived her whole life in New York City, and has an unfortunate knack for getting into trouble: at school, at home, and sometimes even with the police. She’s not a bad kid. It’s not her fault she can see, touch, and communicate with ghosts.
Helping spirits complete their unfinished business is her mission in life. Usually it’s an uncomplicated task. But sometimes it’s a bit more involved. Sometimes, for instance, the deceased wants to be sure a living relative receives an item of great importance. This can involve a little bit of breaking and entering, a practice frowned upon by the local police.
Suze’s mother, a television news reporter, meets a man with his own cable handyman show. They fall in love and get married. The problem? He lives in Carmel, California and he and Suze’s mother are buying a house in order to blend their families and start off fresh. Suze’s mother hopes that Suze will finally fit in with her peers. Did we forget to mention that Suze hasn’t told anyone about her abilities for fear of being institutionalized? This makes for one lonely teenager.
Upon settling into her new room in Carmel, Suze is greeted with a shock: a ghost named Jesse already occupies her bedroom. Jesse has never been able to communicate with anyone in his ghostly form, and is delighted to finally have someone to talk to. Suze, however, isn’t sure what to think about Jesse.
That’s pretty much the set-up for Shadowland, the first book of the Mediator series by Meg Cabot. Throughout all six books in the series Suze will not only help many different people complete their unfinished worldly tasks but she will also try to discover what she can do to help Jesse. Her heart’s at risk, though, because helping Jesse might mean losing him forever…
Carol: I cataloged The Mediator, a book that contained the first and second titles in this series. The plot summary intrigued me enough that I checked it out and took it home to read. Reading it was fun and entertaining, and all I could think about was that I needed to tell Jennifer about the series. I thought she would really enjoy it.
Jennifer: I stopped by Carol’s desk to drop off something and she mentioned a book she was reading, that it had a little bit of everything in it: romance, ghosts, murder. Carol knows my reading habits and I trust her. I put the first book on hold. And couldn’t put it down.
Carol: I know, right? The series grabs you by the ear from the first page and doesn’t let you go until the end of book 6, Twilight. I could really relate to Susannah because a lot of the issues she deals with, making friends at a new school, navigating the high school dating circus–I mean circuit– really took me back to my own experiences. The fact that she had to deal with all those common teenage issues while also helping ghosts (and sometimes whipping them into shape) just shows the strength of her character. And I love reading about strong women.
Jennifer: These books could make a reader wake up and think : Could I possibly get away with calling in sick so I can finish them? And then the pesky adult comes out with a resounding: Get dressed, go to work and finish the book on your lunch hour. I’ve been out of high school for 16 years now, but reading about Susannah going up against the popular girls and standing up for herself made me wince while also shouting out “You go girl!” In high school I was the weird girl who ate her lunch in the library while reading Stephen King. You’re right, Carol. Susannah is a strong female. I wish I’d had her by my side in high school!
Carol: Agreed! You know, I really want to talk about Jesse, but I don’t want to give anything away. Do you think we should just let everyone else read the series and find out for themselves what happens to Jesse?
Jennifer: At one point when I was reading the series I stomped over to your desk demanding to know what happens to Jesse. I’m not giving anything away. Read it!
Stay tuned for Carol and Jennifer discussing their favorite ghost stories in their next post.