Cass has spent much more time in the last few years in the company of ghosts than she has in the company of living beings. After a horrible encounter with her supposed best friend that left her ostracized by the entire school and then the untimely death of her older sister, Cass has had a lot to deal with. When her sister shows up as a ghost, Cass is the only one who sees her and now Cass still has her big sister around for help and advice, even if she isn’t technically alive. Cass has also made good friends with a few ghosts that hang around her high school. For Cass, ghosts are the ideal friends because they can’t hurt her the way people have, and that makes them extremely appealing. Cass’ world is about to change again when Tim, student council VP and card carrying member of the popular crowd, asks for her help. Tim lost his mother just months before and wants Cass to help him contact his mom’s ghost. Cass is skeptical and reluctant to trust a living person, but when she realizes that Tim needs her for much more than just talking to his mom, how can she refuse?
Reaction: This one surprised me, in a good way. I really thought it was just going to be a cutesy ghost story with a fluffy romance and some “issues” thrown in but not developed, and I was ok with that because I do enjoy that kind of book, but Give Up the Ghost was much more than that. Cass has some serious issues with trust. Not only did her friends completely betray her but ever since her sister died, her mother has thrown herself into her career as a travel writer and is barely if ever home and when she is home she seems to criticize Cass to no end. I didn’t always like Cass necessarily, though I understood where she was coming from. I didn’t agree with the choices she was making when it came to learning other students’ secrets and then using the secrets against them. I know in her head she was doing a service, trying to stop the high school evils from happening, but her actions often didn’t make her any better than those she was trying to school.
Then there is Tim, who is a complete wreck. Just when I thought Cass was the one who really needed help, along comes Tim. Tim, who seemingly has it all, at least to Cass, is hurting and no one has noticed. The death of his mother and the betrayal of his father when Tim needed him the most has left Tim a shell of his former self. His friends don’t know how to talk to him so they don’t and he has practically no support system except for an aunt who lives in another town. Tim is left to wallow in his grief with no clear way out. I was proud of Cass for trying with Tim. She didn’t make it easy on him and she certainly didn’t make all the write choices but she could have continued to shut him out but she was able to see beyond her own problems and issues to help Tim in the best way she knew how.
Give Up the Ghost is a great book for people who are dealing with grief, for people who have dealt with bullying, and for anyone who’s felt like they are on the outside. Both Cass and Tim show that no matter how bad things get they aren’t always going to be that way. I think Cass especially really matured and grew to learn that shutting people out is no way live.