Lilah Bloom is just a normal 12-year-old, hanging out with her best friend Alex while watching her mom get remarried. As it starts to rain on an otherwise nice May afternoon, the last thing Lilah remembers is feeling tingles go through her body. She wakes up in the hospital to find that she had been struck by lightening and not only has she survived but she can now also hear the dead speaking to her. Her deceased grandmother constantly speaks to her and insists that she must help her father meet someone. Between dealing with her new ability to playing matchmaker to catching the attention from her crush, Lilah’s got her hands quite full.
I don’t normally review Middle Grade fiction but this one was too delightful to pass up. I enjoy ghost stories and this one was absolutely entertaining to read. Levy has captured the voice of a 12 year old as how I remember preteens at that age to be like. The inclusion of problems that kids at that age (and, I suppose, any age really) would be going through was subtle and well-woven into the story. Lilah has to deal with the remarraige of one of her parents, which unfortunately is quite the norm nowadays. She achingly pines for her crush, Andrew, and many of us might remember at that young age to be so completely obsessed about a crush and over analyzing every encounter with them. Most importantly, Levy writes about Lilah’s experience with a school bully. Now, more than ever, the issue of bullying is so timely and the whole story around this is dealt with well, and without sounding preachy.
While I found some of the ghostly interactions a little campy and silly, I had to remind myself that this was a book for younger readers. I also found it a bit odd how almost everyone Lilah approached with her new talent was so quick to accept it and not find it overly strange. If TV has taught me anything with all those shows, I guess that’s how it is with mediums… if you have proof, it’s hard to dispute that! The ending left me a bit confused as to the outcome of a few of the characters and how it worked out for them but the story definitely leaves it up for a sequel, and I hope there is one!
Levy’s narrative is filled with humour and candor, with many cringe-worthy and laugh-out-loud moments. The younger readers will love this and the older readers will chuckle with the memories of their own experiences in some of these awkward situations.